The Square of the Fallen Fighters is inseparably linked with the events of the Stalingrad Battle and the civil war. It was the main defense position of the surrounded German troops, and it was there that field-marshal Paulus was taken prisoner.
The Square of the Fallen Fighters is the historic center of the city. It had been a market place in front of the fortress of Tsaritsyn for several centuries. In the 19 century the square began to acquire a better look.
In honour of Emperor Alexander II it was called Aleksandrovskaya, and in 1888 there began the construction of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in memory of the saving of the royal family during the crash of the royal train near Kharkov. The big metropolitan cathedral was finished in 1916 but it was blown up in 1936.
In 1905 and 1917 the square was the place of demonstrations and armed actions of the revolutionaries who fought with tsarist power and in remembrance of those events it was given the name «the Square of the Fallen Fighters». In 1919 the white guard buried on the square the officers and civilians who perished from the «red terror», and in the following year the Bolsheviks in their turn buried there the victims of the «white guard terror». After the Great Patriotic War the square was the burial place of the soldiers, who were killed during the defense of Stalingrad.
Today this huge square (274 meters long and 90 meters wide) is divided in two parts. The part, which is closer to the railway station, is paved with stone block and asphalt and is intended for great ceremonies and parades. The other part, giving on the Alley of Heroes, is completely planted with trees and has the form of several boulevards.
Among these alleys are the main monuments of the Square of the Fallen Fighters: the stele on the burial place and the eternal flame, a huge poplar, which survived there even during the fights for Stalingrad, a chapel and some other monuments. The square is surrounded by impressive Stalin Empire buildings, including the famous department store in which basement field-marshal Paulus was taken prisoner on January 31st 1943. Now it houses the museum «Memory» where one can have a look at the exhibits related with those events.