Douaumont Ossuary

Douaumont, France

The Douaumont ossuary is a memorial containing the remains of soldiers who died on the battlefield during the Battle of Verdun in World War I. During the 300 days of the Battle of Verdun (1916) approximately 230,000 men died out here. The battle became known in German as Die Hölle von Verdun (The Hell of Verdun), or in French as L'Enfer de Verdun, and was conducted on a battlefield covering less than 20 square kilometers.

The ossuary is a memorial containing the remains of both French and German soldiers who died on the Verdun battlefield. Through small outside windows, the skeletal remains of at least 130,000 unidentified combatants of both nations can be seen filling up alcoves at the lower edge of the building. On the inside of the ossuary building, the ceiling and walls are partly covered by plaques bearing names of French soldiers who fell during the Battle of Verdun. A few of the names are from fighting that took place in the area during World War II, as well as for veterans of the Indochina and Algerian Wars. The families of the soldiers that are recognized here by name contributed for those individual plaques. In front of the monument, and sloping downhill, lies the largest single French military cemetery of the First World War with 16,142 graves. It was inaugurated in 1923 by Verdun veteran André Maginot, who would later design the Maginot Line.

The tower is 46 meters high and has a panoramic view of the battlefields. The tower contains a bronze death-bell, weighing over 2 metric tons called Bourdon de la Victoire, which is sounded at official ceremonies. At the top of the tower is a rotating red and white 'lantern of the dead', which shines on the battlefields at night. The cloister is 137 meters long and contains 42 interior alcoves.

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Address

D913, Douaumont, France
See all sites in Douaumont

Details

Founded: 1916
Category: Cemeteries, mausoleums and burial places in France

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

ryan gladu (19 months ago)
One of the most visually stunning memorials I have ever seen. Make sure you go hike around the area, so you can see just how large this conflict was.
Dan C (20 months ago)
Beautiful memorial, should be experienced firsthand.
Julie Grove Montanez (21 months ago)
Incredibly moving but solemn experience. Worth seeing
bls txi (2 years ago)
This is an incredibly humbling place to visit. The ossuary is filled with the thousands and thousands a bones of soldiers lost during the Great War. The tributes to those fall in the areas they're from the country singer from and the wars that happened around the site is fascinating to learn about
Simon Ashworth (2 years ago)
Visiting the Ossuary today was so moving. The film that you can see underneath the tower, is very informative too but overall I would just describe the experience as deeply moving.
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