Mamaev Kurgan
The Mamai Hill is a sacred place for the Volgograders and all the Russians. It is the highest point in Volgograd. During the Great Patriotic War the hill was called “Height 102”. The whole city can be seen from the top of the hill. That`s why terrible fights were waged here for its possession. Stalingrad Battle lasted for 200 days and 135 days the Soviet troops fought for the “Height 102”. All the Mamai Hill was dug with bombs, projectiles and mines. Every 1 sq. Meter of the Mamai Hill was covered with 500 – 1300 bullets and shells. The burnt ground soaked with soldier`s blood after bombing was quite lifeless. Even grass didn`t grow there. After Stalingrad Battle the Mamai Hill became the brother`s grave for 34,5 thousand people fallen down defending the city and its population. Making a project of the memorial complex took a lot of time. The building of it started only in May, 1959. The memorial complex “To the heroes of Stalingrad Battle” was opened in October 1967. It is considered to be one of the 7 wonders of Russia.
There is an introduction composition “Memory of generations” at the pedestal of the Mamai Hill. One can see a crowd of people who are going to honour the memory of the fallen fighters with wreaths and descended banners. A man and a small girl with a bunch of flowers are at the head of the column. He represents an old generation and she – the young one.
There are memory tombs with some ground from hero – cities: Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Odessa, Sevastopol, Novorossijsk, Kertch, Tula, Brest Fortress, Murmansk, Smolensk.
The central granite staircase is 10 m higher and leads to the Alley of Poplar-trees.
On the left hand from the central staircase there is a memorial wall with an inscription: ”Years and decades will pass by. New generations of people will appear. But grandsons and grand-grandsons of the heroes will come to the majestic memorial monument of Great Victory. They`ll come with their children and bring flowers. Here, thinking of the past and dreaming of the future people will remind all those who fell down defending the eternal flame of life.
The Alley of Pyramid Poplar trees looks like soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder. It`s length – 223 m. The alley leads to the square “Standing to death”.
In the centre of the square there is a pond with the figure of a soldier by the rock in the middle of it. He`s got an automatic gun in one hand and a grenade in the other one. You can read the inscriptions on the rock: “stand to death”, “There is no room for us on the other bank of the Volga”, “No step backwards”, “Every house is a fortress”, “Don`t bring shame upon sacred memory”.
The staircase leads us to the Square of Heroes. Two walls on both sides of it symbolize ruins of Stalingrad after bombing. One can see figure compositions, slogans and appeals on the walls. All the inscriptions on the walls show soul condition of the people. Songs of the war period, information about battle events are heard here.
In the centre of the Heroes square there is a pond (26,6/86 m) which symbolizes the Volga. To the left you can see a wall which looks like a banner. There is an inscription on it: “ Iron wind blew in their faces, but they were walking straightwards and the feeling of superstitions horror captured the enemy. Are the people walking? Are they mortal?” There are six sculptor – figures to the right. The height of each is 6 m. They tell about the heroic deeds of the Soviet people during Stalingrad Battle.
1) A soldier is heavily wounded but he holds a grenade in his hand. He relies on the shoulder of his friend. Both of them will struggle to the end.
2) A young girl, a nurse, is carrying away a wounded soldier from the battlefield.
3) A navy soldier with a knot of grenades is moving to the fascist tank, his wounded friend is near – by on the ground.
4) A soldier helps his commander to stand on his legs who continues to conduct the fight.
5) A soldier takes a standard from the hands of a falling standard – bearer and holds it forward.
6) Two soldiers are killing a snake and a swastika that symbolize fascism and then throw them into the Volga.
At the end of the square one can see a wall where gladness of the winners is shown. The length of it is 125 m, the height – 10 m. The invasion of the Soviet troops can be seen on the left side of the wall. The happy figures of the soldiers are in the middle of the wall. They are embracing each other and greeting with the Great Victory.
On the right side of the wall the prisoned Germans are portrayed with the inscription: ”The fascist fighters wanted to see the Volga and the Red Army gave them such a possibility”.
On the 9-th of May, 1970 a capsule with a letter to the descendants was put in the wall. This capsule must be opened on the 100-th anniversary of the Great Victory on May, 9, 2045. There is a memorial plate on the place where the capsule was put in one can read: “Here, on 9.05.1970, on day of 25-th anniversary of the Great Victory, a capsule with a letter to the descendants from the workers of the city – hero Volgograd and veterans of the Great Patriotic War is put in. Open it on 9.05.2045 on the 100-th anniversary over the fascist Germany”.
Here in the wall there is an entrance to the Hall of War Glory. The hall is a cylinder in from, the diameter of it is 42 m. and the height – 13,5 m. There are 34 pictures of the standards on the round wall with the names 7200 fallen fighters, defenders of Stalingrad. A whit marble hand with a torch and eternal flame in it is in the middle of the Hall. A guard of honour is standing at the exit out of the Hall. The change of the guard takes place every hour since 9.00 till 19.00. There is a white marble footwear leading to the Square of Sorrow.
Here one can see a figure of a sorrowful mother. Her figure is bent over her dead son fallen in the fight. This sculpture symbolizes all the mothers who lost sons, husbands, brothers, fathers in the war.There is a pond at mother`s feet. It is a lake of her tears. The height of this sculpture is 11 m.
The grave of Marshal of the Soviet Union Chuikov V.I. a twice-hero of the Soviet Union is situated on the Square of Sorrow. He died in 1982 and was buried here. There are usually many flowers from Thankful descendants on the grave.
From the Square of Sorrow a footway leads to the top of the hill 34505 soldiers are buried along it. The footway consists of 200 stairs because Stalingrad Battle lasted for this period of time. One can find here 35 granite tombs of heroes of the Soviet Union, defenders of Stalingrad.
The height of the hill is 14 m. The main monument “Motherland calls” is situated on the top of it. This woman with a sword in a hand calls her sons to defend their Motherland. The height of this sculpture is 85 m. (52 m. is the height of Motherland, the length of the hand – 20 m, of the sword – 29 m). The weight of the sculpture is 8 thousand tons.
In May, 2005 Temple of all the Saints was opened on the Mamai Hill for the sake of the fallen fighters. A white stone temple with five domes is situated near the Brother`s grave of Stalingrad defenders.
There is a tank tower on the granite pedestal near-by. It marks the famous “Height 102”. One can read an inscription on the desk: “Here, on the Mamai Hill, during the Great Patriotic War in the battle for Stalingrad the most bloody and persistent fights for the possession of the dominating height took place. Here there is a brother`s grave of the soldiers who defended “height 102”. About 1500 people are buried here.
The grave is surrounded by the granite plates and green fir-trees. There is an inscription on the plate: “The fighters of the 62-nd Army are buried here. They defended the Mamai Hill in Stalingrad in 1942-1943. One can see a sculpture of a woman – soldier who wants to lay a wreath on the grave as a sign of gratitude and memory.
There are many places on the Mamai Hill that are of historic value but only a few people know about them. Not far from the central Alley, in a small ravine there is a spring of life. During the war it was the only source of water for the Soviet and German soldiers. Today the spring is in a bad condition but the city authority plans to make it a memorial monument.
A memorial park was planted at the foot of the Mamai Hill. It started with the only tree planted by a women, a worker of the Tractor Plant in memory of her fallen husband who defended Stalingrad. A lot of people who lost their relatives during the Great Patriotic War followed her example. Nowadays there are 20 thousand trees in the park. Some trees are marked with the names of the fighters. At the entrance to the park there is a memorial stone with an inscription: “This memorial park was founded in autumn, 1965 to honor the memory of the soldiers – defenders of Stalingrad”.

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