Völkerschlachtdenkmal – The monument to the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig

The monument was completed in 1913 for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig. The monument commemorates the defeat of Napoleon’s French army at Leipzig, a crucial step towards the end of hostilities in the War of the Sixth Coalition (Napoleonic Wars).

Völkerschlachtdenkmal, designed from the architect Bruno Schmitz with local architect Clemens Thieme / Image: memolands.com

The Battle was fought from 16 to 19 October 1813. The Coalition armies of Austria, Prussia, Sweden, and Russia, led by Tsar Alexander I and Karl von Schwarzenberg, decisively defeated the Grande Armée of French Emperor Napoleon I. Napoleon’s army also contained Polish and Italian troops, as well as Germans from the Confederation of the Rhine. The battle was the culmination of the German Campaign of 1813, making it the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I.

Foundations of the Monument to the Battle of the Nations in 1902 / Image source
The monument under construction in 1912 

The 91 meters tall monument is said to stand on the spot of some of the bloodiest fighting, from where Napoleon ordered the retreat of his army. The structure makes extensive use of concrete, and the facings are of granite. It contains over 500 steps to a viewing platform at the top, from which there are views across the city and environs. It is widely regarded as one of the best examples of Wilhelmine architecture.

Saint Michael the Archangel at the entrance to the monument / Image: memolands.com
Map of the monument to the Battle of the Nations, the biggest monument in Europe / Image: memolands.com

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