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Lviv has decided on the design of the Memorial Complex of War Graves of Heroes of Ukraine

The architectural competition for the memorial complex of military graves of the Heroes of Ukraine on I. Mechnikov Street in Lviv, which lasted three months, has ended.

In addition to the burial area, there will be a memorial park, a museum, a monument to an unknown soldier, a chapel and a columbarium, a place to bury urns with ashes. The winners of the competition were a team of architects from Khmelnytskyi, Viktor Holubev and Dmytro Reifschneider. Their project is a concept that will be finalized with the members of the advisory board, which includes the military, families of the victims, and representatives of the clergy, and with whom the architects met the day before.

According to the project, the cemetery’s tombstones are proposed to be made of white architectural concrete with natural stone interspersed (terrazzo). The tombstone will have a place for a photo and a name with the years of the deceased’s life. Along with the tombstone, there will be a place to place flowers and lamps. Also, small seats with a unified design will be arranged on the side of the graves.

An important part of the burial area will be a columbarium, a place for burying urns with ashes, which can be accessed by stairs or a ramp.

“At the front of the complex, near Mechnikova Street, we propose to arrange a square with a monument to an unknown soldier. The concept of the new square is to change the axis of the city to the historical axis. This axis is directed to the Northeast and East to the average point that combines the coordinates of the battles for Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Avdiivka, Debaltseve, Ilovaysk, Kherson and the main line of defense of Ukraine. This axis shift should draw attention to the geographical unity of Ukraine and contrast with the structure of the city by cutting into it,” says the author of the project, Dmytro Reifschneider.

The cross-section of the faces of the Monument to the Unknown Warrior will resemble a shield. The monument can have many symbolic readings, but the main one is the green paths that eventually lead to the sky. And the greenery on the shield will symbolize the color of the nation that went to defend the state.

The square will also feature a plate depicting the graphic symbols of brigades and units whose heroes fought for Ukraine. There will also be a place to lay flowers.

At the end of the “Field of Mars” will be a cross in honor of the Ukrainian Galician Army, which completes the central axis of the entire complex. A prayer building will be placed near the cross.

The winners were selected by a professional jury from among 27 entries submitted. The jury consisted of 9 people from different backgrounds: memorializers, representatives of local governments, the regional administration, unions of architects, practicing architects, and professors. There were many discussions in the process, but the jury approved the results of the competition unanimously.

“We chose a project with the Heroes’ graves in the center – this is the main element that nothing can overshadow. From the point of view of the graves themselves, the tombstones, everything is quite correct. There is a Cossack cross, there is an alternative version of this burial for non-Christians, and there is an opportunity to get to any burial site in a wheelchair. Perhaps, from the point of view of the burial area itself, this is the most correct of all the proposals.

We understand the responsibility and sensitivity of the topic. At the same time, we are not talking about a selected project that will be implemented one-to-one. The jury has chosen the architects we will work with. We will take into account many of the ideas voiced at meetings with the advisory board, families, and organizations. We have to come up with the best result that will suit everyone,” said Anton Kolomeitsev, chief architect of Lviv.

Earlier, the authors of the idea presented their project to an advisory board, which includes representatives of the Ministry of Defense and various brigades of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, families of fallen heroes, members of the public and clergy.

“Ukrainian military memorialization is something that we have to create from scratch today, because it does not exist, and what did exist was not applicable. That is why Lviv is a pioneer in this regard, and it is important to build this project correctly from both a functional and aesthetic point of view, so that it is worthy of the price paid by all the dead who are buried there. Today we have seen a good project, but it still needs to be completed, and we are ready to join in as much as possible,” said Taras Ishchyk, a soldier with the 103rd separate territorial defense brigade.

Representatives of the families of the fallen responded positively to the project presented, but only asked that the names of the missing defenders be added to the memorial so that their families could also honor their loved ones.

“Most of the families and I have been waiting for this project since 2014-2015, but when the full-scale war began and a new field was opened, we all realized that it would be the heart of our Lviv. Today’s impressions: the city heard us, the city took us into account, and the architects took into account all our wishes to the smallest detail. It’s very gratifying, because in fact, the project is right in the heart,” said Helena Bilyk, a representative of the NGO Families of the Fallen Heroes of Lviv Region.

“The first impression is extremely positive. Of course, I understand that this is a general arch, there will be a lot of refinement and the team has a lot of work to do. But if I had to imagine a field of honorary burials, what I saw today is very close to my vision,” added Veronika Karachevska, sister of the fallen defender Mykola Zabavchuk.
Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi also joined the discussion of the project with family representatives.

“I visit the cemetery almost every day with various international delegations. And we don’t just lay flowers in front, we walk along the alley through all the graves. During this time, everything inside people turns upside down and they begin to realize this reality in a completely different way. This experience allows foreigners to see the graves and photos of our heroes up close and realize the sacrifice of Ukrainians in this struggle. Therefore, this is a sacred place for every Lviv citizen and every Ukrainian,” said Andriy Sadovyi.

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