A park with a tree for each of the 60 people killed including 37 children in a Russian shopping centre fire and created by an American landscape designer has been opened on the site of the tragedy.
The fire that tore through the top floor of the “Winter Cherry” shopping and entertainment centre resulted in 15 people being arrested and facing criminal charges. So many children died because the area where the blaze occurred included a cinema and several children’s play areas.
More than half of the dead were children, with many of the victims seen jumping from windows to escape the fire. There has also been widespread suggestions that the number of dead at the complex in the industrial city of Kemerovo in March last year was actually more than the 60 claimed.
The “Park of Angels” was built according to a design by an American landscape designer, John Weidman, who said he wanted to build a modern and comfortable space that was also a tribute to those who died across the 1.8-hectare site.
He was selected after a public vote and his creation includes a wall from which a waterfall springs that divides the park. There are also lawns and paths decorated with natural stone.
But because so many children died, he has also included a playground, a fountain for children and an amphitheatre to provide something for younger visitors.
Another feature is an observation deck that allows a view of the entire park, and a chapel in a secluded corner of the project in which the names of all those who died during the fire are engraved.
The Governor of the Kemerovo Oblast region, which is also known as Kuzbass, Sergey Tsivilev, said during the unveiling that they wanted to make it not a place of sorrow, but rather a “place of memory and a place of power.”
Tsivelev added: “Everything was created here on a small site: our mountains, hills, plains and all the vegetation that exists in our Kuzbass. We made an old tower, which partially reflects the beginning of the whole Kuzbass – from the Kuznetsk fortress.”
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Story By: Elena Kalioglo, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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