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A place of strength and peace. The Heavenly Hundred Heroes Memorial

Sofiia Dmytryshyn

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"How to get to the City Hall Tower?" — ask tourists again and again at the Tourist Information Center. The City Hall is an important strategic point, but we can offer many more options to admire Lviv from a height.

One of them is The Memorial to the Heavenly Hundred Heroes. Despite its official name and, without any doubt, its significant meaning, it is not just a standard memorial with dedicatory plaques. This is the first and so far the only monument in Ukraine dedicated to the Maidan events. About the structure of the complex we will talk a bit later.

As in other cities, planning, designing and eventually implementing a project was not an easy task. The initiators held architectural competitions (on the first attempt to choose a decent enough work failed), planned the location, talked to the families of the dead people. A team of architects won the competition: Andriy Lesiuk, Maria Yastrubchak, Khrystyna Pundak. And the team coped well with its task — creatively, symbolically, not literally. According to one of the architects, Andriy Lesiuk, the unusual shape of the stele symbolizes the burning barricade from Maidan in 2014.

On August 23, 2019, the memorial was festively presented to the relatives of the heroes from different regions of Ukraine, participants and volunteers of the Revolution of Dignity, military of the anti-terrorist operation and Lviv residents. And the fact that the monument was liked and appreciated is evidenced by the award. The implemented project of the Memorial became the winner of the First National Prize in Landscape Architecture in the nomination "Best Realized Object of Public Space" in the category "Squares, Boulevards".

This space is a complex structure, a linear area at different levels. It can be divided into two parts: a stele with portraits and an area with three observation decks. One of them protrudes from the square by 6 meters! At the beginning of the construction, critics did not believe that this idea could be implemented.

To reach the most popular area of the space, you will walk along the stele. 107 plaques with portraits of the killed heroes were engraved here. You can read their names, dates of birth and death. There is a special hole next to each portrait — if you wish, you can insert a flower here.

And that's not all. The complex is planned to be completed in no less unusual way. A pedestrian bridge will be built from the Memorial to the Governor's Walls, across Kryvonosa Street. He would already be there, but this issue has been under consideration by UNESCO for a long time. But we will wait. And what will we see?

It is planned to insert 5 plates on the bridge — symbols of the five days during which the largest number of people died in the Revolution of Dignity. The bridge will be covered with special steel. The names of the heroes will be engraved on the roof: "eternal tears" will flow down them in the rain in memory of the dead, in sunny weather they will shine from natural light. The symbolic component is really very strong.

It is important that the Memorial is not like the others. He speaks to us in a completely different language - not a simple column or wall with "imaginary" characters. Not like those that we inherited from Soviet times. Therefore, there are and will be enough disputes in this regard. What exactly is this place — a place of remembrance, a public space or a tourist location with all the consequences?

This way of honoring our heroes fits well into the context of Europe, where there are a lot of such locations. For example, Berlin. When you are there, take a walk to the Holocaust Memorial and see how children run happily along it, how couples met on dates and tourists who take new photos. Be that as it may, the place of the Lviv memorial is alive, with its soul and with the parts of souls o people in the portraits.

It can be considered a spiritual place with almost sacred significance: the memory of heroes who gave their lives for what they believed in. And when you go up to one of the observation decks, a 6-meter ledge, you will see more than one or two roofs of churches in Lviv. It is said that you can see 11 of them from here! Yes, the place is touristy, but find your place and time on the deck and you will also find a part of this "sacredness".

Also read: Observation Decks in Lviv

The memorial is located on Maxyma Kryvonosa Street. Let`s walk there from the Tourist Information Center on Rynok Square. Don't worry, this journey will take us no more than 15 minutes.

Our first mini-goal is to get to Drukarska Street. To do this, go to the diagonally opposite side of the square. Here we are on Drukarska Street. Then we walk along this street until we see a monument in front of us in a small garden. This is Yuriy Kulchytskyi, thanks to whom the residents of Lviv and Vienna love coffee so much. Have you already met Mr. Yuriy? Great, turn right. The next building in front of us is The State Emergency Service of Ukraine. There are a few steps left. We go around this red building on the left side and already see the Memorial.

Here we are. We are standing on one of the observation decks, we have already taken some memorable photos and we can see old Lviv from above. Do you see? Here you can see the City Hall, and right under our noses there is a view of the Fire Department, which we passed earlier. How many temples! The "Smiling" Latin Cathedral, the Dominican Cathedral and the Church of the Transfiguration with its dungeons, the Church of the Assumption with its tower... We recommend going to at least one of them, almost every church in the center of Lviv is a masterpiece.

When you go back down, visit the St. Mary of the Snows Church. Or continue your journey to the highest point of Lviv — the High Castle.

November 21 is the Day of Dignity and Freedom. And that's why we have a good reason to visit the Memorial.

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