The memorial commemorates both a tragedy - the forced deportation of the Karachai people under Stalin's regime - and a triumph, their return to their native lands. At its centre is a 12-metre-high octagon symbolising the 'inner strength' of the people. Inside the octagon is a large cube of red granite representing the fire in the home hearth. Running through the hearth is a line of black granite representing the black days of deportation: one side bears an inscription (of the 69'267 people who were deported, 43'247 perished); the other side is carved with the Karachai symbol for the universe.
Memorial to the Karachai Victims of Deportation Presentation Panels. Courtesy of Architect. Geneva: Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 2007.
In the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, projects enrolled in the nomination process are documented by the architect(s). In addition to submitting images and drawings, architects are asked to complete a detailed questionnaire pertaining to use, cost, environmental and climatic factors, construction materials, building schedule, and, more importantly, design concepts and each project's significance within its own context and to present the project in two A3 panels.