Volgograd, formerly known as Tsaritsyn and subsequently as Stalingrad, is an important industrial city and the administrative centre of Volgograd Oblast, southeast Russia. As Tsaritsyn, the city came into being in 1589 as a fortress on the western bank of the Volga. Over the centuries, several battles were fought for control of Tsaritsyn, but the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II was one of the largest and bloodiest battles in the history of warfare.
Over six months, the city was completely destroyed and more than two million Russian and German soldiers slaughtered. Here in February 1943 the relentless German advance was first halted and eventually turned back for good.
Known as the hero city locally, the rebuilt city of Volgograd is home to The Motherland Calls, an 85-metre statue dedicated to the heroes of the battle, part of the hilltop Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex on Mamai Hill or ‘Height 102’ as it became known to the combattants. After the war, Soviet Russia 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.
You can find a detailed English-language guide to the Mamaev Kurgan complex here.
Volgograd’s other visitor attractions are largely related to the Great Patriotic War (World War II) and these include the city centre Square of the Fallen Fighters and the Central Embankment, which are linked by a tree-lined pedestrian walkway named Heroes’ Alley, and a considerable number of individual statues and monuments throughout the city. Further points of interest include the Lenin, Chekists and Reconciliation Squares; Komsomol Park; Lisaya Gora hill; the Historical Museum; the central station; the Don Kazak Theatre; the 1897 fire tower and an historic synagogue. Several historic churches have survived to the present day.