The Brothers' Cemetery or Cemetery of the Brethren (in Latvian "Bralu Kapi") also sometimes referred to in English as the Common Graves or simply as the Military Cemetery, is a military cemetery and national monument in Riga, capital of Latvia.
The cemetery is a memorial to and burial ground for thousands of Latvian soldiers who were killed between 1915 and 1920 in World War I and the Latvian War of Independence.
It was built as an integrated combination of sculpture and landscaping between 1924 and 1936, to designs by the sculptor Karlis Zale, many of whose sculptures feature prominently, by the architects P. Feders, A. Birzenieks, P. Kundzins, the landscape gardener Andrejs Zeidaks, the sculptors J. Cirulis and F. Valdmanis and others.
The cemetery takes up 9 hectares in Northeastern Riga 5 kilometers from city center, it borders First forest cemetery and Rainis cemetery. The memorial expresses national gratitude to falen heroes trough cultural references to Latvian nation. The main gate of the cemtery is 10 meters high and 32 meters wide. The enterance is sided by two sculptural groups of dying horsemen - placed on 2 meters high platforms, the 3.3 meters high sculptures depict two pairs of ancient Latvian horsemen. The riders and horses in the right sculptural group have stright stances, one of the horses has throwed back its head upward movement dominates in the sculptural group, it is contrasted by the left sculptural group dominated by downward movemented expressed trough bowed heads of the riders and horses, the riders have lowered their shields and flags they are carrying. Above the enterence dates 1915 (in which first burials in the cemetery were made) and 1920 (the last year of the Latvian War of Independence), inbetween the dates the gate is decorated with Coat of arms of Latvia. From the main enterence the 205 meters long Road of thoughts leads trough alley of linden trees to Terrace of heroes encircled by oak grove planted in 1923. The terrace, paved with plates of tufa, is about 73 meters wide and 78 meters long, the 1 meter high altar of enternal fire is placed in its center. As the Terrace of heroes rises above the Road of thoughts it hides the central burial ground, which is on lower level than the Road of thoughts, from the sight until one has crossed the terrace, thus the terrace provides overview of the burial field and forms a barrier between the world of living and world of the dead.
The cemetery contains more than 2,000 burials mostly of soldiers who were killed between 1915 and 1920 in World War I and the Latvian War of Independence. It also contains, as reburials, a number of graves of Latvians killed during World War II and of holders of the Lacplesis War Order (Latvian: Lacplesa Kara ordenis), awarded for extraodinary merit during the Latvian War of Independence.
Cemetery is opened: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri - 9.00-17.00. Sat, Sun - 9.00-23.00