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cemetery: Powązki, Warszawa
photography: Jacek Michiej

Cmentarz wojenny nr 123 Łużna-Pustki

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War Cemetery No. 123 - Łuşna-Pustki - a soldier's burial place from the First World War, located in Łuşna on the Pustki hill. One of over 400 Western-Galician war cemeteries built by the Cemetery Graves Division of the C. and K. Military Commanders in Krakow. In the 4th district of Łuşna, there are 27 cemeteries . [source: Wikipedia, 2060499]
type of the cemeterywar
state of the cemeteryclosed
[source: Wikipedia, 2060499]
the area where services are available
area where services are not available
The cemetery was erected at the site of the fighting, which took place in May 1915. It was a battle for the allied Austro-Hungarian and German armies at Gorlice, which resulted in a breakthrough of the front and Russian troops had to retreat far to the east. There were Russian trenches on Pustki. After 4 hours of artillery fire, the first line of trenches was completely demolished. However, the artillery fire survived those hidden in the forest at the top of the hill and allowed the Russian army to resist. The Austro-Hungarian and German armies conquered the hill but suffered large losses in people Based on information boards installed in the cemetery. . After the end of the hostilities, it was recognized that Wzgórze Pustki is a very good place to create a necropolis. The prisoners of war carried out their work. The cemetery was designed by the artistic director of the IV district, Jan Szczepkowski Jerzy Drogomir: They fell in Western Galicia 1914-1915 (1918). Lists of those who died, died and buried in 400 military cemeteries in Western Galicia. Tarnów: District Museum in Tarnów vol. I, 1999. . In February 2016, the European Commission added War Cemetery No. 123 Łuşna Pustki to historical objects on the list of European heritage characters. Granting the European Heritage Label took place in April 2016 in Brussels. The war cemetery in Pustki is the fourth place in Poland honored with this sign. The necropolis was distinguished because it is a place of remembrance reflecting the ideas of ecumenism and brotherhood, ensuring equal treatment of all those who died, regardless of their religious or ethnic affiliation and the fact on which side they fought. [source: Wikipedia, 2060499]
the fallen
The cemetery is buried : * 912 soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian army (almost half of them are Poles), * 65 soldiers of the German army, * 227 soldiers of the Russian army. 154 Russian soldiers who died on the Pustki hill were buried in the No. 122 military cemetery below. [source: Wikipedia, 2060499]
Description of the cemetery
The cemetery occupies 29 152 m and is similar in shape to an irregular trapezium. From the front, it is surrounded by a fence made of stone posts and wooden railings. Entry through the gate between two large poles, each crowned with a stylized helmet. In front of the entrance there is a monument in the shape of a sarcophagus There are 46 group graves and 829 individuals in the cemetery . The soldiers are buried in the quarters according to nationality and regimentation. There is a monument next to each group of graves. Teams of graves connect paths in steep places that go down the stone steps. Gravestones with a stone frame, wooden crosses on them. There is also a separate accommodation for the fallen, whose membership was not recognized . [source: Wikipedia, 2060499]
The original design of the cemetery assumed that a stone monument was to stand on the top of the hill, but when the designer of the cemetery Jan Szczepkowski was dismissed, the task of completing the necropolis was taken over by Slovak architect Dušan Jurkovič. Gontyna became his crowned work. During its construction, Jurkovič gave his style to the fullest, being an attempt to synthesize the Carpathian folk architecture and the Old Slavonic style. The nearly 25-meter, monumental wooden chapel was designed in 1917 and soon after that it was made. The original plan of the building is in the National Museum of Slovakia in Bratislava. It can be assumed that Jurkovič, with full consciousness, built a gonnien in the pattern and likeness of pagan gonnasts, and numerous crosses and crosses are only a clever camouflage of pagan building tendencies. Looking at the gontynie, it is easy to see that the chapel's foundations form the shape of a cross, on the shingle-covered walls there were great, brighter crosses, the top is a cross, the cross is also roughly 1/3 of the height, hundreds of crosses form a wall ornament. For this, Christ is falling under the cross. And all at the highest point of the cemetery with a thousand crosses. The chapel's construction structure was based on the combination of various wooden construction systems with the masonry part of the basement. The stone came from a quarry a few hundred meters away. There was a chapel in the basement, and two more stories above the chapel. The tower was intended for viewing from outside. At the north façade, the basement was a winding, right-angled staircase leading to the first floor, from which the ladder was used to climb the second. The entrance to the chapel was from the south, and the north wall was an altar. A polychrome wall sculpture representing Christ carrying the cross stood by it. . The builder treated the interior of the chapel with particular care. The bas-reliefs and richly carved, partly polychrome, wooden casing covered the ceiling and walls. In June 1985, the original gontyna burnt down. After almost 30 years, in 2014, gontyna was rebuilt according to the original documentation exactly in the place where it was originally located. The rebuilt gontyna again dominates over the revitalized cemetery. According to the technical documentation: the gonniene building area is 50 m, the gantry area is 14 m, the gontyne space is 850 m, the gonty height is from the terrace level to the ridge (without cross) 24.30 m, terrace area: 245 m, cubic stone terrace: 310 m . There is no sculpture or altar in the rebuilt gontyń. Due to lack of equipment, it does not currently have liturgical functions. When there was still an old, original gontyna (until 1985), the tradition was traditionally cultivated, according to which on the last day of October a rosary was celebrated there for the fallen soldiers. [source: Wikipedia, 2060499]
The fate of the cemetery
The cemetery is generally well preserved. With time, however, it was subject to natural destruction as a result of climatic factors and growing trees. Gontyna has been neglected. It came down the broken stairs. Many beams were rotten or lacking, and there were many gaps. In unclear circumstances, on June 29, 1985, around 22:30, the original gontyna burnt. After the fire, only a stone foundation was left. Through the efforts of the priest of the Lusatian priest Józef Zabrzeńskiego, a field altar was built, which was at the entrance to the cemetery, in 2014 it was demolished during the renovation works of the metropolis. In the past, on May 3, a mass was celebrated at the cemetery (in the event of rain the mass was celebrated in the parish church in Łużna) and anniversaries were held. On 6 July 2014, the renovation of the cemetery with the reconstruction of the gonniene, worth PLN 1.3 million, began. It takes stages. In 2018, all the elements of the cemetery were renewed, and the trees causing its destruction with roots and leaves were cut down. On the exposed slope the cemetery looks very good. The cemetery and gontyna are entered in the register of monuments 18-07-1985. [source: Wikipedia, 2060499]
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