If You're going to see one Soviet War Memorial...
Trip Start Aug 31, 2007
90Trip End Apr 19, 2008
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Next on my agenda is locating my track
My first impression of Brest, and on that didn't change much while I was there, is that it is a dump. Fortunately, I didn't come to Brest for the city but rather for the fortress. Brest Fortress was constructed in the 19th century but gain notoriety during World War II when two regiments defended it for an astounding month against the invading Nazis. For this feat, Stalin honoured Brest and turned the fortress into the war memorial to end all war memorials.
In true Soviet grandeur style, the entrance to the fort is approached down a long boulevard and then across a large square. A huge slab of rock hovers over you at the entrance, the shape of the Soviet star carved out of it. Inside the fort are more broad walkways and old tanks and cannons. There is a statue of a thirsty soldier, straining to reach for water, and the Soviet version of Mount Rushmore: a soldier's head carved out of a large piece of rock
To the right of Valour (aka Mt. Rushmore) stands an obelisk. Now maybe it's because I'm not a guy, but I just don't get obelisks. Look at me! I am a man! I can build a big, tall, pointy thing?...And how do you decide how high to build your monument of manhood? If I were Josef (Stalin) I'd probably just say, build it as high as you can Dmitri. And then Dmitri would go and do that, only he'd screw up a calculation and the whole thing would fall over, break the Valour statue in half, and be a huge embarassment. Besides, the obelisk screws up your pictures because you don't want to chop the top off.
But of course, pictures aren't everything, and on the whole, I found the fortress quite impressive. A beautiful piece of Soviet architecture and definitely worth visiting. I only regret that I wasn't able to hear the music or see the marching.