A RECENTLY renovated military cemetery and memorial to soldiers who died in World War I was opened to the public during a ceremony on May 4 in the Bratislava district of Kopčany, the TASR newswire wrote.
The cemetery was founded in 1916 as part of a military hospital where soldiers, primarily those from the Austro-Hungarian forces, with grave injuries were treated. In all, 331 soldiers of nine identified nationalities are buried in individual graves; one hundred of the dead could not be identified.
Most of the soldiers, 122 of them, were registered as Czechoslovak. Others buried in the cemetery are recorded as Hungarians, Yugoslavs, Romanians, Austrians, Russians, Italians, Poles and Germans. In six cases, nationality could not be determined. Available sources indicate that the cemetery was closed in 1922 and was administered by the Bratislava Garrison Headquarters. Bratislava Mayor Andrej Ďurkovský said during the ceremony that the soldiers buried in the cemetery might have fought against each other.
The cemetery covers 4,552 square metres and lies in the south-eastern part of the Bratislava district of Petržalka, along the border zone with Austria. It was in a very poor condition and required a complete reconstruction which began in 2005 and cost €615,000.
“Because it was in the border zone, no maintenance or reconstruction had been made earlier,” Jozef Hrabina, head of Paming, the city’s agency for reconstruction of historical sites, told the SITA newswire.
Paming began its first reconstruction activities with research of the flora, then logging and planting of replacement trees and elaborating further projects.
Later, the grave sites were completely renewed as well as the foundation of a morgue, and new paths and a new fence were constructed.
The military cemetery will be open to the public seasonally, probably from the beginning of April to All Souls’ Day, from 14:00 to 21:00 on workdays and from 10:00 to 21:00 on weekends and public holidays, Hrabina said.