Island of courage and grief
In the bend of the river Svisloch a little humpbacked bridge leads to the "Island of courage and sorrow" which the citizens of Minsk call "Island of Tears." Here, on August 3, 1996 a monument to "Sons of the Motherland, who died beyond its borders" was opened (the authors of the monument: Y. Pavlov, N. Korolev, T.Koroleva-Pavlova, V. Laptsevich, G. Pavlov, O. Pavlov, D. Khomyakov ).
In front of the monument there is a boulder with a bronze icon of the Mother of God and the text on it: "This Temple and Memorial was erected to the Sons who died in Afghanistan on the instruction of Belarusian mothers who want no evil to reign in their native land or in any other land”. As a foundation stone, this boulder was installed at the future site of the memorial in 1991. The monument is made in the form of a temple. Each element of the monument has deep historical and philosophical meaning. Conceived as a memorial to soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan, it has rightly become a monument to the sons and daughters of Belarus, who died in the battles of all times.
About 30 thousand Belarusians and natives of the republic fought in Afghanistan, 771 of them died. In the center of the monument there are figures of mourning women. They symbolize the Belarusian mothers morning over their sons who did not return from the war. Some of them are holding icons, others - portraits of their sons. The mothers, standing in front, are holding lamps that symbolize the warmth and light of the family hearth. They still hope that their sons will come back home. And those, standing behind, got petrified with grief ...
The basis of the outlines of the monument is but the initial appearance of the temple Euphrosyne of Polotsk in the city of Polotsk, the way it was in the XII century. Inside the memorial there are four altars carved with the names of 771 dead soldiers who perished in Afghanistan. In each of the four altars there are bronze icons. The inner painting of the monument is encaustic technique (wax painting). This technique is known since ancient Egypt. The inner surface of the walls of the monument and its dome are painted with biblical scenes. In the center of the cross towering over the temple there is a ruby. In the center of the temple there is a holy place. Here, in the Belarusian land they laid Afghan soil that was washed in the blood of Belarusian sons, and soil that was brought by their mothers from the graves of their sons. Here is also a capsule with a list of those killed and an appeal to posterity. The bells of Memory toll in the holy place. Taught strings that are made of bimetal and covered with copper are stretched from the holy place to the dome. The buzz when the wind blows.
The next element of the memorial complex is the figure of a guardian angel. This is a unique monument to "Afghans", who died from physical and emotional wounds after returning to his homeland. Angel is crying because he was unable to fulfill its sacred mission - to protect the soldiers from their death. Other elements of the complex are boulders with the names of Afghan provinces, where Soviet troops were stationed and fought.
And finally there is "Table of Memory", at which on commemorative days family members, relatives, friends of the victims of Afghanistan can gather together.