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The Douaumont Ossuary, near Verdun, France

October 13th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

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. It is located in Douaumont, France, near Verdun.

During the 300 days of the Battle of Verdun (21 February 1916–19 December 1916) approximately 230,000 men died out of a total of 700,000 casualties (dead, wounded and captured). The battle was known as the 'Verdun meat grinder' and was in fact conducted on a battlefield less than twenty square kilometers.

The ossuary is a memorial containing the remains of soldiers who died on the battlefield. Through small windows, the remains of 130,000 unidentified French and German soldiers can actually be seen filling small, windowed alcoves around the edge of the building. Inside, the ceiling and walls are covered by some of the names of soldiers who fell in the battle of Verdun. Some of the names are from the fighting in the area in WWII. The families of the individual soldiers recognized here paid for their plaques. In front of the monument lies the largest cemetery of France outside Paris with 25,000 graves. The ossuary was officially inaugurated on 7 August 1932 by French President Albert Lebrun.

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