Eternal fire at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow.

©Kira Tverskaya/Lonely Planet

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier


The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier contains the remains of one soldier who died in December 1941 at Km41 of Leningradskoe sh – the nearest the Nazis came to Moscow. This is a kind of national pilgrimage spot, where newlyweds bring flowers and have their pictures taken. The inscription reads: ‘Your name is unknown, your deeds immortal.’ Every hour on the hour, the guards perform a perfectly synchronised ceremony to change the guards on duty.

There’s an eternal flame, and other inscriptions listing the Soviet 'hero cities' of WWII – those that withstood the heaviest fighting – and honouring ‘those who fell for the motherland’ between 1941 and 1945. South of the tomb, a row of red urns contains earth from the hero cities.

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