Xiangyang Martyr Tower, located in Yanghu Mountain, is the symbolic architecture of Xiangyang Martyr Cemetery which covers an area of more than 1100 acres with the width of 11 meters and the height of 28 meters. It is built to commemorate the revolutionary martyrs sacrificed in the liberation battle of Xiangfan and the ones sacrificed in the first and second revolutionary civil wars for the liberation of Xiangyang. The 103 revolutionary martyrs’ bones died in the battle of Xiangfan and some revolutionary doyen’s bones in the period of revolution were buried in this Revolution Martyr Cemetery.
More than 50 revolutionary martyr’s ashes were placed in the Martyrs Columbarium in memory of their contribution to the liberation and construction of Xiangyang. In the process of site selection, considering that Yanghu Mountain is named after the famous general Yang Hu who garrisoned Xiangyang in West Jin Dynasty and that it has always been a place of worship in the minds of Xiangyang people, Yanghu Mountain is chosen as the address of Xiangyang Martyr Tower in the southwest suburb area which is quiet and not far from urban areas to facilitate tomb-sweeping.
The base of the initially-built revolutionary martyr monument in 1951 is only a hundred square meters or so, which is a square pyramid sharp at the top but big at the bottom. There was a globe on it with a dove -- a symbol of peace. On the surface of the tower are the leaders’ inscriptions, including Yu Yi’an. The road to the monument on the top of the mountain is 200 meters long and 1.3 meters wide, so the whole memorial site looked very small and crowded.
In November 1975, the martyr tower’s reconstruction project started. Facing the main three big problems at that time, including the lack of investment, no heavy machinery and no water on the mountain top to mix cement mortar etc, more than 80,000 volunteers from schools, institutions, resident districts and so on offered help in order to guarantee the construction schedule. In such difficult conditions, a new martyr monument was finally built with people’s struggle together. The base of the tower is extended, the road to the top is widened to 14 meters, and the long stairs with 598 steps was built with a platform on the half way. How magnificent, solemn and respectful the new Martyr Tower is!
Along with rapid economic development, great changes have taken place in Xiangyang city, so the entire infrastructure constructions of the martyr cemetery match no more with the people’s demand and the surrounding environment. Therefore, in January 1998, approved by the Municipal Party Committee and the Municipal Government, the surrounding environment of the Martyr Tower was improved by building the martyrs cemetery square. Besides, in 2001, the revolutionary martyr memorial hall was built next to the Martyr Tower. In April 2011, the main stairs and the revetment were improved as well. After transformation, the Martyr Tower took on a new look with spacious solemn, primitive simplicity and elegance.
In the past 60 years, Xiangyang people solace the revolutionary martyrs, who gave their precious lives for the socialism and liberation of Xiangyang, by their own practical action. They not only built an eternal monument for martyrs on Yanghu Mountain, but also built a monument carrying forward the spirit of martyrs in their own heart forever!