Mausoleum of Yugoslav Soldiers in Olomouc
The Mausoleum of Yugoslav Soldiers is a neoclassical chapel with an ossuary containing remains of Yugoslav soldiers killed in the First World War. It was built in 1926 in the Bezruč's Park in Olomouc, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) by the Czechoslovak-Yugoslav League. The designer of the chapel was architect Hubert Aust. The mausoleum was owned by Yugoslavia until its breakup. Today it is damaged but renovation has been prevented because of unclear property rights.
The chapel is 11 metres high, topped with a dome. A two-branch staircase leads to the chapel entrance behind 12 Doric columns standing in three rows. An epigraph on the chapel reads: VĚRNOST ZA VĚRNOST – LJUBAV ZA LJUBAV (the first part is in the Czech language and means loyalty for loyalty, the second part is in the Serbo-Croatian language and means love for love). The building stands on an artificial mound, inside of which is the ossuary. The entrance to the ossuary is a portal with a sandstone relief of a mourning woman and national emblems of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. It contains the remains of more than 1,100 Yugoslav soldiers who died in Olomouc military hospitals.
Condition and plans of renovation
The mausoleum is in a bad condition due to both natural effects and vandalism, and therefore it is not open to the public. The stairs and electrical wiring are in the greatest disrepair. Frescoes of saints painted in the Byzantine style are also partly damaged.
The entrance to the ossuary used to be closed with a grill and a wooden door, which were destroyed by vandals who also destroyed several wooden coffins and stole some skulls and other bones. As a result the portal was walled up in 1990. Thanks to this, the ossuary was saved from the flood which struck Olomouc in 1997. The entrance was reopened in 1998 to assess the range of necessary repairs and to stop the spread of mould, and was then walled up again.
The first attempt at renovation was begun with negotiations with its official owner, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in the beginning of the 1990s, but in 1992 Yugoslavia disintegrated and the negotiations were stopped.
In 2006 an agreement was made with the embassy of Slovenia as one of the successor states. It was expected that repairs would cost 12.5 million Czech crowns, with the money coming from the city of Olomouc, European Structural Funds and the Czech Ministry of Culture. However, the project was suspended by the end of the year because the problems with property rights made the request for the European funding impossible.
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