Mamaev Kurgan is a mound in the center of the city of Volgograd. This place is famous for its role as a strategically important high point during World War II, and thus a scene of many fierce military action. In the 1960s the highest point of the mount was converted into a memorial commemorating the warriors who heroically protected Stalingrad.
The title «Mamaev» was given to the mound («Kurgan») in the ancient times of the Golden Horde. The Tatar Khan Mamay settled on what is now the modern city of Volgograd city, making the ancient settlement his residency, which he called «Sarai-Berke». The Khan ordered the construction of an outpost on the highest spot in the area. The surrounding countryside was clearly visible from this mound for tens of kilometers. Every night, the Khan's best warriors were sent to the outpost with the task of alerting the army in case of an enemy attack. But in the time of the Golden Horde, nothing of historical significance happened on the mound or in its vicinity.
Mamaev Kurgan made history much later, during World War II. The top of the mound gives a clear view of the whole of Volgograd (Stalingrad, as it was called in the years of the war), the Volga river, and the area between branches of the river. For this reason the mound had great tactical importance. The ownership of that high spot might well have been the pivoting point of the whole battle. In the course of the Stalingrad battle, the mound changed hands several times. Many a Russian soldier died defending the foot of the Mamaev Kurgan.
Russian military leaders called Mamaeev Kurgan «Height 102», because the top of the mound is exactly 102 meters above sea level. This name can still be found in historical documents.
The defense of Stalingrad and its main strategic site was entrusted to the 62nd Army under the command of General Chuikov. The records in war diaries confirm that a ferocious fight for the control over Height 102 lasted exactly 135 days. During that time, the Kurgan was taken over by the Germans more than once, only to be recovered by the Russians later. In the end, the Russian troops took definitive control over the mound in January 1943.
Immediately after the end of the Battle of Stalingrad, a decision was made to erect a monument in the memory of all the fallen warriors and defenders of Stalingrad.
The official inauguration of the memorial took place on October 15, 1967, in the presence of Leonid Brezhnev. The central part of the monument dedicated to the heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad is «The Motherland Calls», a figure of a woman clenching a sword in her upraised fist, summoning all Russian people to battle against the enemy. The figure is composed of concrete blocks with a mass of approximately 7,900 tonnes. The 14-ton sword is made of stainless steel. The height of the woman's figure is 52 meters, or 85 meters with the sword. It is one of the tallest monuments in the world.
At the foot of the Mamaev Kurgan lies Ploschad Skorbi (the Square of Sorrow), which is connected with the monument itself by a winding ramp of 200 steps, one for each day of the Battle of Stalingrad. On both sides of the path, remains of fallen soldiers were buried. The total number of those buried at the memorial is currently 34,540.
Official Tourism Portal of Volgograd Oblast / welcomevolgograd.com
|Address:||Volgograd, Centralnyi rayon, Mamaev Kurgan|