The City Where Outcome of the Second World War Was Decided
Volgograd is located on the west banks of the Volga River. Its name literally means "Volga City," and was aptly named in 1961. During the Soviet Era, Volgograd was known as Stalingrad and earned the title Hero City due to the defeat of the Germans in the infamous Battle of Stalingrad. This link to world history is the most fascinating reason to experience Volgograd.The Battle of Stalingrad
During World War II, Hitler and Mussolini targeted Volgograd because of its industrial power, oil fields, and important transportation routes. The battle that resulted became a turning point in World War II, being one of the biggest victories over Axis troops on land and the first German defeat publicly announced on German radios. Nearly two million casualties came during this intense land battle, earning it the title of World War II's bloodiest battle and arguably the deadliest in history.
With the help of the fierce Russian winter - which caused freezing and starvation as supplies dwindled - the Nazi troops were overpowered by the Soviets. The general in charge, Friedrich Paulus, surrendered to save his troops despite Hitler's orders to fight until death. Paulus became the highest ranking German officer ever to be captured and eventually defected to Moscow.
The Memorial Complex of Mamayev Kurgan and The Motherland Calls
The entire city of Volgograd is a historical sight and a war memorial, but one of the most popular attractions is the Mamayev Kurgan, a hill overlooking Volgograd. This hill experienced some of the most intense parts of the battle due to its strategic ability to have control over the city. Atop Mamayev Kurgan you will find a beautiful war memorial with an eternal flame and ruined walls from the actual battle.
Though there are many museums and monuments in Volgograd, one can't-miss site is the majestic allegorical statue of Mother Russia. 82 meters and 279 feet tall, it stands atop the Mamayev Kurgan. In 1967, when The Motherland Calls was built, it was the tallest sculpture in the world. Two hundred steps leading to the foot of the monument symbolize the 200 days of the Battle of Stalingrad.