Definitely the most signature landmark and sight in Volgograd – it’s not just a architectural complex, but a significant memorial and a renowned pilgrimage destination for both Russian and international tourists.
The name of the place is thought to be related to the days of the Golden Horde and its khan Mamai. Throughout history, this dominant hill overseeing a large area of the Volga River and its surroundings has been the location of numerous military conflicts. The Battle of Stalingrad, the bloodiest battle in the human history, was hard-fought here lasting 200 days and nights, and turning the hill into a collective grave for over 35 thousand people (hence the name in Russian kurgan meaning “tumulus”). The final victory in the battle, won by the Soviet troops, was marked by taking over the hill and became a turning point in the course of WWII.
After the war, this place, charred and riddled with bullets and shells, served as a constant reminder of heroic events and all those who died for the Motherland. It was but natural to erect a monumental memorial here, which was done in 1967.
The total area of the memorial, which is an architectural and structural complex comprising several monuments, sculptures, and objects united by a common concept, exceeds 26 hectares and has a 1.5-km path, so a visit here will take several hours. Each sculptural group is an individual monument, but also a part of the whole picture reflecting heroic and tragic events of 1942-43. The complex is crowned by a grand allegorical statue of the Motherland on the top of the hill, named “Motherland Is Calling”. Dominating the city skyline, it is the largest free-standing sculpture and the tallest sculpture of a woman in the world.