Avala is a mountainin the south-eastern corner of the city, overlooking Belgrade and it is providing a great panoramic view, escpecialy from Avala tower. When you travel to Belgrade we recommend if the time allows, a day trip to Avala, which entered a circle of protected green areas of Belgrade and it is a traditional picnic resort for its residents. The entire area of the mountain belongs to the Belgrade City area and has good traffic connections, so if you start at the center of the city, you will need about 45 minutes to get there by car. There are also many memorials on the site that you should visit on your Belgrade Tour.
The most magnificent monument that will catch your attention is the Monument to the Unknown Hero, dedicated to the unknown Serbian soldier from World War I. It was sculptured by Ivan Mestrović in the form ofwith 8 caryatids and it was completed in 1938.
Almost a hundred years have passed since the unknown hero was killed, a soldier who became a synonym for all the victims of Serbia in the World War I. After the terrible European conflicts in the second decade of the twentieth century, which killed more than ten million people, many European capitals have introduced monuments to unknown heroes, who were a symbol of all casualties during military destruction.
Our hero was killed by Austrian howitzer missiles in 1915, at the top of Avala, where he was originally buried. Several years after the war, only the old wooden cross marked his grave, and the invaders left writing on it, in the German language “Unknown Serbian soldier rests here”.
Official national exhumation commission was formed in November 1923 determined to find the identity of Unknown Soldier. The Commission meticulously searched every part of the grave, but were unable to establish his identity. He was small in stature and in his hands he held ammunition with which Serbian army was supplied in 1908.The irony was that he literally left his heart on the battlefield, because his heart was missing along with the left side of the lungs that were blown up by the grenade.
They‘ve found the belt, straps and boots that belong to the Serbian military in those times. Heavy boots that Serbian armies use to wear at that time were very uncomfortable and would leave wounds on their feet. Sometimes they were tied, as in the case of the Unknown hero with a telegraph wire. This was just the improvisation, because in the poverty of war, real shoelaces were a luxury. Therefore, when the commission found the boots, there was no doubt that the soldier was Serbian.
They also found a wallet that contained three Serbian silver coins with the image of King Petar. In the wallet, there was also a piece of paper that caused much speculation, because it was believed to be a letter to his close relatives. But after long examination it was determined that paper is too damaged and it is impossible to tell what was written on it.
Remains of the Unknown Soldier were moved to Avala in 1938. The monument is in the form of asarcophagus made of black granite. The sarcophagus in surrounded bycaryatids representing all the people of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The top of the sarcophagus is marked with an inscription reading "Alexander I King of Yugoslavia to the Unknown Hero". The tomb with the remains of the unknown hero is located in the crypt (underground room) in the base of the monument.
The surrounding area around the monument was landscaped in 2006.