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Memorials of the WWII in Russia

The memorials of the Great Patriotic War (east front of WWII) are located at the sites of the main battles of the Soviet Army with German troops. This war lasted from June 22, 1941 to May 9, 1945. The fighting took place in huge areas from St. Petersburg to the Black Sea.

War memorials and museums in Russia:

1.    Mamaev Kurgan in Volgograd
2.    Museum of the Battle of Stalingrad
3.    Prokhorov field near Belgorod
4.    Memorial to 28 Panfilovs near Moscow
5.    Piskarevskoye cemetery in St. Petersburg
6.    Rzhev Memorial
7.    Victory Museum in Moscow
8.    Bogoroditsky field near Smolensk
9.    Park Patriot in Moscow
10.    Grave of Unknown Soldier in Moscow
11.    Ajimushkai quarries in Kerch
12.    Small land memorial in Novorossiysk

Follow the hyperlinks to read in detail about each memorial and see a large number of photos

Mamaev Kurgan in Volgograd

Nearly all sights in the center of Volgograd (former Stalingrad) are related to the defense of the city in 1942, but Mamayev Kurgan (the mound of Mamay) is a special place for all Russian people, being a symbol of the Russian spirit, which made it possible to win the Germans during the World War II.

Mamayev Kurgan overlooks the center of Volgograd. If you control this height and can put artillery batteries there, you will actually control the whole city. It was for this reason that the most fierce clashes of the Battle of Stalingrad took place around this district.

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Museum of the Battle of Stalingrad

After the liberation of Stalingrad there remained no intact building in the city, however, the restoration began almost immediately. And only Gergardt`s Mill was left unchanged, as a remembrance of that battle, and it was there that the State Museum of the Battle of Stalingrad was created. Every guest of the city should visit this museum.

The museum, with the panorama of the battle and street exhibits, is very big, but the first thing to see is the ruins of Gergardt`s Mill. The Mill, which is close to the Volga embankment, and Pavlov`s House located 500 meters away, became the most important centers of Stalingrad defense. Of greater strategic value was only Mamayev Kurgan. 

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Prokhorovskoe field near Belgorod

On July 12, 1943 the greatest in history tank battle took place on the Prokhorovskoye Field. Totally, over 1000 tanks took part in the battle. By July 16 the Battle of Prokhorovka ended in the retreat of the German troops to the starting positions.

In January 1943, after the victory in the Battle of Stalingrad, the Soviet forces launched a large offensive, which resulted in the liberation of Kursk in February 1943. However, the German troops remained in Oryol (to the north from Kursk) and in Belgorod (to the south from Kursk), so by the summer of 1943 there was formed the so-called «Kursk salient».

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Memorial to the Panfilov’s Heroes near Moscow

The War Memorial to the Panfilov’s Heroes is located near the Dubosekovo railway station in the area of Volokolamsk (120 km from Moscow). It is dedicated to one of the episodes of the Battle of Moscow, which was one of the largest and fiercest battles of the WWII. In many villages west of Moscow, there are memorials or mass graves, but the Memorial to the Panfilov’s Heroes is one of the largest in the Moscow region. 

The Battle for Moscow lasted from October 1941 to April 1942. In total, more than 7 million soldiers from both sides participated in it. The Germans threw more than half of the entire numerical strength of their army on the Eastern Front to capture Moscow. The conquest of the capital of the Soviet Union was the main goal of the German campaign in Russia. 

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Piskarevskoye Cemetery in St. Petersburg

Piskarevskoye Cemetery in St. Petersburg is the largest memorial necropolis in the world. More than 0.5 million people are buried here. It is the same monument of the WWII, although there were no large-scale battles, like the Battle of Stalingrad or the Battle on the Prokhorovskoye field. However, the Siege of Leningrad was as important a battle as the others were. 

The siege of Leningrad with daily shelling is the battle waged by the residents of the city in the absence of food and other resources. At the moment when the German troops closed the blockade ring in Leningrad there were more than 500 thousand soldiers (4 armies), as well as more than 2.5 million civilians. There was no possibility for such a large number of people to be supplied with food on the ground: only by planes or by ships across Lake Ladoga. Considering that Leningrad was defended by large forces of the Soviet Army, the Germans decided not to storm the city, fearing heavy losses on their part. They decided to wait for the defenders` forces to weaken due to hunger. The siege of Leningrad lasted 872 days, from September 8, 1941, to January 18, 1943.

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Rzhev War Memorial

The Rzhev War Memorial is located 220 kilometers west of Moscow, on the southern outskirts of the city of Rzhev. In 1942-43, one of the fiercest and longest battles of the WWII took place here. The Rzhev War Memorial to the Soviet soldier is located on the M9 highway, which connects Moscow with Pskov. 

Other major battles of the WWII were fought by maneuvering large military formations, but the Battle of Rzhev is called the "Soviet Verdun", since the battles here were positional. The terrain in the vicinity of Rzhev is swampy, which made it impossible to maneuver with tank divisions. The battles near Rzhev can be described as artillery duels, and in some periods in the Battle of Rzhev, almost half of the shells that were produced at Soviet factories were spent here.

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Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow

On Poklonnaya Gora (Hill) in the Victory Park the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 is located, which is also known as the Victory Museum. There you can see an extensive exposition devoted to all periods of the war, the Hall of Fame and six dioramas.

This museum was created in 1995. The Hall of Fame is under the huge dome in the center of the museum. The statue of the Warrior of Victory is in the center of the hall. And on its walls, on marble slabs, there were carved the names of 11 800 Heroes of the Soviet Union who received this title for military deeds.

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Bogoroditskoye field near Smolensk

The Bogoroditskoye Field is 24 kilometers to the north from Vyazma towards Khmelita, the estate of Griboyedov family. The most tragic events of the Great Patriotic War took place there in October 1941. The military formations of the Western Front and the Reserve Front were completely surrounded near Vyazma by German troops. It was the so-called Vyazma pocket.

But the Soviet General Staff misjudged not only the directions of the main strikes but also the might of the tank armies. As a result, on October 2-7 to the north of Vyazma there were surrounded the main forces of the Western and Reserve fronts (parts of 19, 20, 24, 32 armies and the group of Boldin). The main parts of the encircled troops were near the Bogoroditskoye Field. They made attempts to break away from the Vyazma pocket but the encirclement was tight.

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Park Patriot in Moscow

Patriot Park is the largest museum complex in Russia dedicated to military equipment and weapons. It was established in 2014 and has gone the way of development from the museum of military equipment to the spiritual center of the Armed Forces of Russia, where emphasis is placed on military-patriotic education of young people. Patriot Park is located 50 kilometers southwest of Moscow. 

If you are going to Patriot Park for sightseeing purposes, then first visit the Church of the Resurrection of Christ. It is located in the center of a large square, which is surrounded by the Memorial Road Museum building. The Victory Field is located next to the museum. This is the field of historical reconstruction of the battle of the Soviet and German armies in the autumn of 1941. Here you can see trenches and dugouts, German and Soviet military equipment

The Memorial Road Museum in Patriot Park is dedicated to the events of the WWII. It encircles the square around the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, the main temple of the Armed Forces of Russia. People, moving from one hall to another, take 1,418 steps. The Great Patriotic War lasted for so many days from June 22, 1941 to May 9, 1945. 

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow

The memorial complex known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is at the foot of the corner Arsenalnaya tower at the Alexander Garden. In that place the change of guard took place, the ceremony always attended by many tourists.

The idea of this complex was suggested by the head of Moscow Gorkom (city party committee), Nikolai Yegorychev, in 1965. It was decided to bury there the remains of one Russian soldier found in the Podmoskovye. But his grave was turned into a memorial dedicated to all Soviet soldiers, including the unknown ones, who were killed during World War II, but weren’t found and buried. 

It was very symbolic, so the memorial was generally approved. In 1967 the Eternal Flame was lighted in front of the tomb of the unknown soldier. In 1997 the post of the ceremonial guard was moved from the doors of the Lenin’s Mausoleum to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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Ajimushkai quarries in Kerch

The Ajimushkai quarries are one of the most famous memorials of the WWII in Russia. It is dedicated to the events of the defense of Crimea in 1942. The memorial is located in the labyrinths of underground quarries, where limestone has been mined for several centuries.  

The siege of the Ajimushkai quarries lasted 170 days. The Germans blew up the ceilings with aerial bombs, poisoned all the wells in the area, made gas attacks. As a result, out of 13 thousand people who took refuge in the quarries initially, the Germans captured only 48 emaciated people. None of them surrendered voluntarily. Visiting the soot-blackened quarries is difficult for many people to withstand psychologically. 

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Small Land Memorial in Novorossiysk

The Small Land Memorial is located in the South-Western part of the Tsemes Bay near the Sudzhuk spit. It was erected in memory of the events of the defense of Novorossiysk, when German troops tried to break into the Caucasus to capture the Baku oil fields.
In order to break through the German defense line and launch an offensive on Rostov-on-Don, the Soviet command developed an amphibious operation on the South-Western shore of the Tsemes Bay. It provided for the landing of a large amphibious group on the Black Sea coast a few kilometers from Novorossiysk and distracting the landing group directly to the German positions in Novorossiysk itself. The landing party was landed on February 4, 1943. The main landing group was defeated, and a small "distracting" group under the leadership of Caesar Kunnikov, planted in the very place where the Memorial now stands, won a small piece of land with an area of 28 km2 south of Novorossiysk.

The Germans made constant attempts to dislodge the Russians from this small area. Artillery fire was conducted around the clock, however, Russian soldiers continued to hold the beachhead called Small Land for 225 days. On September 9, 1943, Soviet troops made a second assault on Novorossiysk. As a result the city was completely cleared of German troops, who were forced to evacuate to the Crimea.

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