Stone monument in Borodino field, Russia.

© Borodino Field/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Borodino Field


The entire battlefield – more than 100 sq km – is now part of the Borodino Field Museum-Preserve, its vast fields dotted with dozens of memorials to specific divisions and generals. The hilltop monument in front of Borodino Museum is Bagration’s tomb (Могила Багратиона), the grave of Prince Bagration, a heroic Georgian infantry general who was mortally wounded in battle. The front line was roughly along the 4km road from Borodino train station to the museum: you’ll see many monuments close to the road.

Further south, a concentration of monuments around Semyonovskoe marks the battle’s most frenzied fighting. Here, Bagration’s heroic Second Army, opposing far more numerous French forces, was virtually obliterated. Apparently, Russian commander Mikhail Kutuzov deliberately sacrificed Bagration’s army to save his larger First Army, opposing lighter French forces in the northern part of the battlefield. Kutuzov’s headquarters are marked by an obelisk in the village of Gorky. Another obelisk near Shevardino to the southwest, paid for in 1912 with French donations, marks Napoleon’s camp.

The battle scene was recreated during WWII, when the Red Army confronted the Nazis on this very site. Memorials to this battle also dot the fields, and WWII trenches surround the monument to Bagration. Near the train station are two WWII mass graves.

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