WWII history buffs will certainly want to visit Volgograd, site of one of the best-known and important battles of the war. It was here in February 1943, when the city was known as Stalingrad, that the relentless German advance was first halted and eventually turned back for good. The Soviets transformed the city, literally and figuratively, into a symbol of their successful effort, and in the process graced Volgograd with broad boulevards and public buildings that show off an unmistakable Stalinesque grandeur, and an enormous victory monument you won’t soon forget.
Volgograd was founded in 1589 as Tsaritsyn and for centuries stood as an important trading and military post near the southern border. Aside from the WWII sights, including an impressive war cemetery at Rossoshka, 30km northwest of the centre, there’s a pretty waterfront and the first locks of the impressive Volga-Don Canal.