Tuesday, 18 March 2014


H and I had the chance to re-visit the site in the north of the City of Leipzig, dedicated to the memory of the fallen German and Russian troops who withstood Napoleon's advance on this front and ultimately precipitated his surrender and defeat, after managing to realign and re-distribute much of Europe in a manner that survived his rampage.
Partnerships of convenience, long-lasting alliances and a much poorer Church emerged from the turmoil. Das Vรถlkerschlachtdenkmal (the monument for the Battle of the Nations) was completed in its unique and defining neo-classical, betraying influences from the Meso-Americans and the Ancient Egyptians and previsioning the Art Dรฉco (Jugendstil) movement, in 1913 for the one-hundredth anniversary of the decisive campaign and underwent extensive restoration of its interior crypt during the past few years for its centennial, honouring the anniversary of the battle this past October.
We were able to see the halls and galleries, a clime of some five-hundred steps (with a lift too but some chambers, like the ancient ziggurats it borrows from, could only be reached through a labyrinth of stairwells that sometimes had one ascending through the colossal statues.
The monument was misused at times as a symbol of German mysticism and exceptionalism, like the Barbarossa monument commissioned by the self-same German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm, that sought to strengthen ties among a disparate assemblage of former petty kingdoms as the German Empire, and its East German caretakers proposed at one time to tear it down. I am glad that they didn't and consistently appreciate the charge of a curator.
An inverted bee-hive spiraled high above. No doubt that the crypt is sacred ground and one cannot forget, even when awing at the scale as a tourists, but it was a strange feeling how the experience was reminiscent of Scooby-Doo forensics or the archetype for the staging of an installment of Star-Gate, Riddick and any given action-adventure experience—without being too sacrilegious.