So here are the top attractions to see when visiting Volgograd.
Dedicated to World War II heroes, this is the biggest memorial complex in Russia. The Battle of Stalingrad, the bloodiest battle in the human history hard-fought here, lasting 200 days and nights, turned the hill into the collective grave for more than 35 thousand people (hence the name in Russian kurgan meaning “tumulus”). The final victory in this battle, won by the Soviet troops, became a turning point in the course of the Second World War. The architects of this monument wanted to show the significance of the Battle of Stalingrad and developed a truly grand composition. The memorial complex is crowned by a captivating statue named “The Motherland Calls” and also includes an exhibition hall, the military memorial cemetery, All Saints Cathedral, Heroes’ Square, the Hall of Military Fame, the Square of Grief, and the arboretum.
Stalingrad Battle Museum Panorama
The Stalingrad Battle Museum Panorama, with 4500 square meters of exhibition area, has eight halls displaying different artefacts: war documents, awards, weapons, personal belongings of soldiers and prominent military commanders, uniforms, parts of crashed planes, military operations maps and much more. The second floor is dedicated to a circular panorama called “The Rout of the German-Nazi Troops near Stalingrad”. On the outdoor territory of the museum, visitors can examine and climb real tanks, planes and other real machinery.
Square of the Fallen Fighters and Heroes Alley
Another cluster of significant local monuments includes the Volgograd Department Store, where Friedrich Paulus, the renowned German Field Marshall General was captured, the Common Soldiers’ Grave, an Eternal Flame, a monument to Alexander Nevsky, and much more. An interesting natural artefact here is the poplar tree that stands in the Volgograd Heroes Alley, for it’s a living witness to the terrifying days of the Stalingrad Battle that managed to survive the war, although, damaged by many bullets.
The Central Station
One of the largest and most magnificent railway stations in Russia, it serves long-distance trains and suburban trains, and is the hub for routes to five main destinations in the country. It was built in the 1950s and generously decorated: the interior walls are mostly made from marble with various paintings, frescos, and bas-reliefs, while the ceiling is ornamented with stucco and displays of the battles that took place in the city. In 1997, it was declared an architectural landmark of the Volgograd region.
This is a residential building in downtown Volgograd, facing the Battle of Stalingrad Museum, with a red brick wall that seems to have grown on top of the building’s original walls. In September 1942, defended by Sergeant Yakov Pavlov and his men, the German troops failed to take over this building for two months, even when firing guns at night, so that the Russian soldiers couldn’t sleep.
After a 60-day-siege, the much needed Red Army reinforcements finally arrived and pushed the German troops back. It is believed that on German maps this building was referred to as “fortress”, for it was impossible to seize. Pavlov’s House was rebuilt after the battle and is still used as a residential building today. The red-brick wall attached to the building is a memorial constructed from bricks picked up on the East side facing the Volga after the battle.
The Central embankment of Volgograd
The official name of the waterfront is The 62nd Army Embankment — after the military unit that defended the city during the Battle of Stalingrad, and stopped the enemy from reaching Volga’s bank. The lovely Volga river bank is a popular place among residents and tourists, it features several famous landmarks of Volgograd — the river port, central staircase and Heroes Alley can all be found on the 3.5 kilometer walk along the river bank. The central embankment is divided into two levels: the upper terrace with Park Pobedy (Victory Park), the Mayak restaurant, the Battle of Stalingrad Museum Panorama, and the lower terrace with quays, a river port, clubs, cafes and the Central Concert Hall.
The heart of the Central embankment of Volgograd is given to the Friendship fountain — a popular place often used as a meeting point by locals and young couples for a romantic rendezvous. The fountain itself is a pedestal with three graceful figures of girls performing a folk dance.
Volgograd Municipal Musical Theatre “Muzkomediya”
Originally constructed in 1903, the building was destroyed during the Battle of Stalingrad, restored in 1946 and again reconstructed in 1960. Currently, it houses the Volgograd Municipal Musical Theatre — a key player in the city’s culture scene.
Monument to the Battle of Stalingrad Civilian Casualties
A symbol of sorrow and memory of those who became the victims of the most horrible war in the human history, it’s a sculpture of a 500-kilogram aviation bomb hanging over children and women who are standing in fire. The monument is dedicated to the events of August 23, 1942, when German troops started a massive bomb attack on the city. During that time, more than 12,000 bombs were dropped on Stalingrad. Over 40,000 civilians were killed and more than 50,000 people were injured. More than 80 % of homes were destroyed. The civilian population remained in the city the entire time, as crossing the Volga was not possible due to shelling from fascist aircrafts.
This high-speed tram is somewhat of a hybrid of subway and tram (hence the name “Metrotram”). First introduced in the mid-1960s, the city Metrotram was a new type of electric city transport system, where a regular tram would dive underground and function as a subway for several stops. Forbes magazine ranked the Volgograd metrotram fourth in its list of the most interesting tram routes in the world. Taking a ride on this tram is a fascinating experience for anyone visiting Volgograd.
Children’s Khorovod Fountain
Officially named the Children’s Khorovod (literally “Children’s Round Dance”) the fountain, initially installed in 1930, was one of the city symbols. The statue of six children dancing around a crocodile became famous worldwide when a Soviet photographer took some photos after the German army’s devastating bombings. The black-and-white snapshots showed children playing happily with a ruined city in the background. Amid the massive destruction, the fountain survived and stood only partly damaged by shell fragments. Since then, the fountain became a symbol of a devastated, but undefeated city. Restored right after the military operations were retrieved, the fountain was dismantled in the 1950s when authorities began construction of the new railway station. In August of 2013 a copy of the pre-war sculpture called “Children’s Khorovod” was installed at the Privokzalnaya Ploschad near the Central Station, not far from its the historical location.
Church of Saint Sergius of Radonezh
The Church of Sergius of Radonezh, one of the most revered saints in Russia, was built in stone in 1908 with the money donated by known philanthropists Aleksander Repnikov and Konstantin Voronin. In 1932 the church was closed down, but in 1993 Patriarch Alexius II sanctified a location for a new church. Built entirely on private donations, it stands in a scenic location — on a hill where the entire city centre is in plain view. The church impresses with its beauty: splendid large green stained-glass windows illuminated at night, and fine timber and semiprecious stones from the Ural Mountains used in the interior décor.
Sights outside Volgograd
The Volga-Don Canal
The canal located south of Volgograd in the Krasnoarmeykiy District is 110 km long. This is a massive engineering project connecting the Volga River and Don River to enable the ships to pass from one river to another through 13 gates. This usually takes 10 to 12 hours. The first and the last gates are decorated with triumphant archways. Alongside the lake and locks towards the Volga stretches a beautiful parkland that leads towards a big Lenin statue overlooking his watery domain. The canal is open to the public.
Old Sarepta Reserve
A historic and architectural landmark, the Old Sarepta Reserve is a former German colony founded by missionary immigrants, the descendants of the Moravian (Czech Republic) brothers who fled the prosecution of the Catholic Church. The European square looks a bit out of place in the mash of Soviet-style buildings and urban apartment blocks, striking a contrast with its narrow streets and small gardens, vineyards, a church, a historical pharmacy, and a school — all once being a part of thriving community. All the sights have been renovated recently.
Situated on the territory of Eltonsky Natural Park, it’s the most beautiful and curious natural object in the region, often called “the pearl of the Volga steppe”. It’s the largest salt lake in Europe with an area of 152 square kilometres amid flat steppe terrain. However, what makes it stand out is the fact that it’s hard to find a place that equals Elton in its beauty and the diversity of landscapes – shallow waters, beaches, salt marshes, picturesque estuaries of tributaries, gullies, ravines, and valleys. The name Elton came from Kazakh “Altyn-Nur” which means “a golden lake” due to the purple-red color of its waters glittering like gold, usually in the afternoon, when the sun is moving to the west.