Halk Hakydasy Memorial Complex: greatness of memory


There is a day among the national holidays and memorable dates of Turkmenistan, which is marked with deep sorrow. It is October 6 – Day of Remembrance, when the Turkmen people commemorate the national heroes who were killed in the battles of all wars and the victims of the disastrous Ashgabat earthquake, which struck on October 6, 1948.

In previous years, three days of remembrance were marked in Turkmenistan. These dates included the days of remembrance of the heroes of the 1881 Battle of Gokdepe – January 12, of those who were killed in World War II – May 8, and of the numerous victims of the Ashgabat earthquake, which turned the city into ruins in few seconds – October 6.

Separate memorials were dedicated to each of these events in the Turkmen capital. In October 2014, the Halk Hakydasy (‘People's Memory’) Memorial Complex was opened in the south-west of the city, where the memorials and monuments were transferred.

Located on a hill towering over the city, the Memorial Complex covers an area of 650 000 metres2. It includes the monument dedicated to World War II, the monuments to the heroes of World War II and the Battle of Gokdepe, and to the victims of the 1948 Ashgabat earthquake. The Complex has a museum and a building for sadaqa on Day of Remembrance.

The majestic stairs with rest areas leads to the monuments. The hill, on which the complex is located, has been turned into a magnificent park (431 000 m2) with blue spruces, cypress trees, lawns, flower beds, fountains and gazebos. There are alleys with original lamps and benches in the park, where people spend a lot of time admiring the beauty of this place, the panorama of a modern city or the natural landscapes of the Kopetdag Mountains.

The State Flag of Turkmenistan inspired the architects who created the Memorial Complex. Thus, the building of the Watan Mukaddesligi (‘the holiness of the Fatherland’) Museum symbolizes the crescent on the flag, the memorial square in front of the museum reminds the stars, and the patterns on the path across the museum building represent the carpet patterns of five regions of the country. The monuments of the Complex are placed on a platform that surrounds the museum in the form of an eight-pointed star. The Ruhy Tagzym monument is dedicated to those who died during the 1948 earthquake. The monument represents a mighty bull with a broken globe on its horns and back. The Milletin Ogullary monument and the Baky Shohrat monument with an eternal fire burning in the centre were constructed to honour the Turkmen soldiers and war heroes who fell on the field of the battles for the freedom of the beloved Motherland.

The facade of the impressive museum (a total area of 6,500 m2) is decorated with the magnificent three-dimensional bas-relief that conveys the spirit of the Battle of Gokdepe. The majestic and rich interiors are created by marble and granite used in the decoration, precious types of mahogany, gilding, crystal chandeliers, lamps, and ornamental samples of traditional national decor.

The museum of the Memorial Complex was the country’s first museum to use digital technology for guided tours. Visitors are offered personal electronic guides in Turkmen, Russian and English in the museum.

The halls dedicated to the defenders of the Gokdepe fortress, their courage, sense of duty and selfless devotion to the Motherland open the museum exposition. The portraits of the battle heroes are hung on the walls; and a model of the Gokdepe fortress is installed in the centre of a hall.

People can observe the ethnographic exposition, consisting of the findings discovered during the exploration of the fortress. The national costumes, jewellery, carpets, kitchen utensils, and tools are among the exhibits. Visitors to the museum are attracted by the unique collection of cold arms and firearms, clothing and military equipment of the participants in the battle, archival documents and photographs. Many exhibits are family antiquities donated by the residents of Gokdepe to the museum.

Visitors to the museum are able to feel themselves as participants in these events in a special hall. The diorama of the Battle of Gokdepe reproduces a moment of the event, and special lighting, sound and smoke effects create an atmosphere of the battle.

Thousands of the Turkmen people went to the front during World War II. Over 70 000 of them were awarded orders and medals, 104 people were awarded the title of Hero, 15 soldiers received the Order of Glory. The names of the national heroes are immortalized in the memorable editions Hatyra (‘remembrance’) and Shohrat (‘glory’). Those who served on the home front and performed a daily feat of labour – 130 000 people were awarded the medal ‘For Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945’. The Turkmen women donated their family jewellery – about 7392 kilogrammes of silver and gold to the defence fund. The works by the Turkmen artists, sculptors and ceramics in one of the museum halls are dedicated to the heroism, honour and patriotism of the Turkmen people.

Visitors to the museum experience special feelings in the hall with the reconstructed picture of the natural disaster, which became one of the world’s most destructive earthquakes in the 20th century and killed 176 000 people. In the night on October 6, 1948, the powerful elements turned into ruins the city with a 198 000 population and over 40 villages within 50 kilometres from the capital. The clock showing the time – 1:12 a.m. – became a mournful symbol of that terrible night. The models of destroyed buildings, sad music, light flashes, different visual, audio and tactile special effects immerse people in the atmosphere of the disaster that happened.

The museum’s photos and documentary chronicles describe the first hours and days after the tragedy, the courage of people who rescued those who found themselves under the ruins. The historical facts of the nationwide assistance, which made it possible to rebuild Ashgabat, amazing with its beauty and modernity nowadays, are presented in the museum.

One of the inviolable traditions of the Turkmen people is to honour the heroes and pay tribute to the people of blessed memory. The Memorial Complex, embodying the ideals of courage, unbending will, and selfless love for the Motherland, has become a centre of patriotic education of the young generation in Turkmenistan.

Ruhy Tagzym monument
Ruhy Tagzym monument