I World War cemeteries of Eastern Front
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl
I World War cemeteries of Eastern Front

collection

I World War cemeteries of Eastern Front

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I World War cemeteries of Eastern Front

The collection includes an ensemble of graveyards – military cemeteries where soldiers of many nationalities, fallen during the bloody fights in Western Galicia in the years 1914–1915, are buried. The cemeteries are a characteristic element of the cultural landscape of Podkarpackie and Małopolskie voivodeships. From the area of the Podkarpackie voivodeship, a few out of a couple dozen structures located on the designated route were selected.

In the first year of the Great War, the front moved across the former Western Galicia from east to west and in the other direction many times. During the first siege (18.09-9.10.1914), the Fortress of Przemyśl was successfully defended and halted fierce Russian assaults. The second Russian offensive, called “Steam Roller” was stopped near Wolbrom, Cracow, and Limanowa. Throughout the winter of 1914/15 and in the autumn of 1915, battles were fought on the line of the Carpathians. The Austro-Hungarian army unsuccessfully tried to break through the front and liberate the Fortress of Przemyśl, which defended until 23 March 1915. It was only the great offensive of Austro-Hungarian and German army, started on 2 May 1916 with the battle of Gorlice, that liberated Galicia and made it possible to reclaim the Fortress of Przemyśl. As a result of the fights, hundreds of thousands of soldiers involved in the war of nationalities died in the battlefields. In November, the 9th Department of War Graves was established to the Austrian Ministry of War. Also in Cracow, a Section of War Graves was established, and inspectorates in Przemyśl and Lwów. A couple dozen talented architects, sculptors, painters, gardeners, and representatives of other crafts were employed. In the Cracow section, 10 Graveyard Regions were created, administered by Artistic Managers. The burial places were entered to records and war cemeteries were built, where bodies of the fallen were transferred from temporary burial sites. On the same cemeteries, graves of soldiers of both fighting sides were located. Each graveyard received an individual spatial composition and architectural setting, as well as a serial number. A dozen or so designs of grave crucifixes were used, part of them with name plates. The main artistic accents in the cemeteries were provided to monuments, obelisks, chapels, towers, columns, and crucifixes. Architects often used local construction traditions and composed the graveyards into the surrounding environment. Most of the cemeteries have been recently renovated. They are a large tourist attraction.

Sites from that collection