Shutterstock / Olga_Ibragimova

Mamaev Kurgan

Top choice in Volgograd

Known as Hill 102 during the Battle of Stalingrad, Mamaev Kurgan was the site of four months of fierce fighting and is now a memorial to Soviet fighters who died in this bloody-but-victorious fight. The complex’s centrepiece is an extraordinarily evocative 72m-high statue of Mother Russia wielding a sword that extends another 11m above her head. To get here take the high-speed tram to the Mamaev Kurgan stop, 3.5km north of the centre, and walk up the hill.

In addition to the towering victory monument, the kurgan (mound) is an entire complex of statues, reflecting pools, a war cemetery, a church and a pantheon with an eternal flame and a stirring 'changing of the guard' ceremony on the hour. The pantheon is inscribed with the names of 7200 soldiers – over one million Russian soldiers died here in battle in WWII.

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