Walking through GușterLand - The Memorial Tower


Address

Dealul Gusteritei, Strada Bradului, Sibiu, Romania

Everybody has passed by the German Soldiers’ Monument on Gușterița Hill at least once. We enjoy a good walk and admiring the landscape in the area, and before showing you the spectacular photos that will surely wake your appetite for wandering, we thought we should start with a short history lesson.
 
Also visible from the city, the Memorial Tower is a brick structure erected on a rectangular earth platform, consolidated by concrete slabs; it was built on top of the hill, offering a panoramic view on the Sibiu Depression and the peaks of the Făgăraș Mountains.

This memorial was built to remind of the Battle of Sibiu (26-29 September 1916), between Romanian and German forces. The Landwirtschaftliche Blätter (no. 41/13.10.1918) mentions the placing of a memorial stone on the Gușterița Hill (Grigoriberg) before the end of the War, in the memory of the “Battle of Sibiu”. The building works of the tower (officially called “Denkmalsturm” – Landwirtschaftliche Blätter, no. 41, 13.10.1918) started in the spring of 1918 and ended in September the same year. The works were led by lieutenant major Plattner of the German army, based on the plans drawn by architect Karl Ulrich.

The population of the Sibiu County sponsored the building through personal contributions (1917-1918) (Siebenburgisch Deutsches Tageblatt). Priest Hermann Klöss held a service here on 29 September 1918.
 
After the inauguration of the monument (two months before the Small Union of 1918), as the political and social scene changed, in February 1919, there was an attempt to bring down the tower, as it was dynamited on all four corners. Bullet holes are also visible on the structure.
 
Going back to the architecture of the tower, the four sides of the receding upper storey include openings shaped as arches at the top, three of which have been covered. Observation holes were created next to these, most probably by passive defence forces, during the Second World Wall. 
On the Southern side, the hill was consolidated through a cement wall including entryways in steps on the edges. 

In the autumn of 1918, on three sides around the Memorial Tower, the German army cemetery was created, including about 130 graves. The decision to move the soldiers from the place where they had initially been buried, probably the cemeteries of the localities in which they had died in battle, was made in 1918, and was implemented by the local authorities. The tombstones were grouped on the sides of the Tower, and one row of graves was placed on the side facing the city of Sibiu.
 

In 1942-1943, the Sibiu-based Saxon Society that cared for Transylvanian war graves (S.K.G.F.) managed the disbanding of small cemeteries and the setting up of bigger ones, with a higher number of graves. Their reason was that it was not possible to care for the graves in village cemeteries.
 

In August 1942, the marble stones comprising the soldier’s military rank, name, regiment, year of birth and of death, were moved inside the Romanesque Church in Cisnădioara. The remains of the soldiers were also moved, with the support of young German ethnics in the locality.

In October 2019, both the inside, and the outside of the Memorial Tower was renovated by the managing company, SC URBANA SA.
 
 *Text Source www.urbanasibiu.ro
* Foto credit (c)
Gabriela Cuzepan
Check out our article: Dealurile Gușteriței, obiectiv de agrement și sport pentru sibieni RO EN Click here to see a panoramic view of Sibiu

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