Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Visiting Volgograd (Stalingrad), Russia

Volgograd is a Russian city, which was known as Stalingrad between 1925 and 1961. The famous " Battle of Stalingrad ", was the most cruel and bloody battle of the World War II . It took from August 1942 to February 1943 . It is estimated that almost 3 million soldiers and civilians died.

After a destructive bombing of the city by the German army, the fight began on both sides for the control of the ruins. Despite the difficulties of the German army, Hitler refused to give up because he knew that the city was the port of entry to the oil-rich Caucasus and the checkpoint of Volga River. After a winter chill and being encircled by the Russians, Göring proposed a plan of aerial delivery that resulted impossible. Dying of cold and hunger, Hitler forced them to stand within the city but contradicting his wishes General Friedrich Paulus ended up giving in to the Soviet army. 
The outcome of this battle changed the course of events of the war.


GETTING TO VOLGOGRAD?

  • From Moscow: Almost 1000 km separate the two cities so there will be a long trip, unless you go by plane. Airlines like S7, Aeroflot or Utair have daily flights from 200 dollars one way/return. The flight is direct and its duration is 1h 40min. A cheaper option is the train (not much more if you take the express) and it will take about 19 ​​hours (even 24 hours depending on how many stops does it make). You can spend the night on the train to save time. The official website of the Russian trains where you can consult timetables: http://eng.rzd.ru/schedulee/public/rzdeng?STRUCTURE_ID=46 .

MOVING AROUND VOLGOGRAD

Besides the regular tram there is what they call the express tram (CT). In http://www.gortransvolga.ru you can consult timetables and routes.  The basic fare is 2 rubles (0.07$). Here you have a plane with the stops. The blue lines correspond to the tram and the red ones to the tram Express:


WHAT TO SEE IN VOLGOGRAD

  •  Mamayev Kurgan memorial
Location here .
Official website (in Russian): http://www.stalingrad-battle.ru/

After the great battle, the land of Mamayev Kurgan hill remained dry and black, metal filled with the rests of the fighting. It was in 1959 when they began to build a memorial. The 105-meter sculpture of Motherland crowns its summit. At the foot of the statue are buried some prominent characters of the battle as Marshal Vasily Chuikov, Vasily Zaytsev the sniper (known for being responsible for the fall of more than 200 Germans at Stalingrad) and Ruben Ruiz Ibarruri, the son of Pasionaria who perished in the battle. Memorial is accessible through a row of steps. The memorial complex is divided in several parts:

Motherland, Hall of the Warrior Glory and All Saints Church .
 
- "Memory of Generations"
- "Avenue of Poplars Pirameidales"
- "Square of those who fought to Death
- "Walls of ruins"
- "Square of the Heroes"
- "Monumenal Relief"
- "Hall of the Warrior Glory "
- "Square of regret"
- "Mother Earth Calls"
- "Church of All Saints" is one of the largest memorials complex world that are dedicated to World War II.

 Hall of glory of warrior.
 Square for those who fought to Death
 Hall and the Heroes Square
Sculpture nurse at the Heroes Square.
  • Panorama museum
Location here.
Official website (in Russian): http://www.stalingrad-battle.ru/
Hours: 10:00-17:00 (winter) and 10:00-18:00 (summer) the ticket office closes 30 min. before closing. Admission: 100 rubles ($3) . If we want to take pictures you will pay a fee of 100 rubles ($3) and videos 200 rubles ($6).
Directions: tram CT, 8, 8a and 12. Bus 30, 30a, 77, 33, 55bis and 93 to the stop Площадь Ленина ( Lenin Square).


It is located in front of the Volga River. It was opened in 1985 . It contains about 4000 samples that shows us the battle. Among them, we can find letters, weapons, personal belongings of the soldiers, decorations ... As main attraction it contains an overview of the battle from the hill.  It also shows the rifle of Vasily Zaytsev .
Next to the museum, stand the ruins of the mill that served as an important point guarded by the Red Army during the battle.

Around the museum, there is also a small outdoor exhibition of war vehicles.


  • Pavlov's House

Location here .  
Tram stop: Площадь Ленина (Lenin Square, CT line)

This is an apartment building defended by the Red Army under the command of Yakov Pavlov during battle. It is a symbol of Soviet resistance. The Germana failed to conquer it although there used to be little more than ten soldiers defending it. He even said that more Germans died in this building than in the liberation of Paris.


Today, you can read the inscription on the wall "In this building fused together heroic feats of warfare and of labor. We will defend / rebuild you, dear Stalingrad"


  • Heroes Alley
Location here

Tram stop: Комсомольская (Komsomol'skaya, online CT)


Foto: Redboston

On both sides of this avenue you can find sculptures raised with the names of  Soviet heroes during the Battle of Stalingrad.

  • Fallen Soldiers Square
Location here .
Tram stop: Комсомольская (Kosomol'skaya line CT)

Located on the site of the old Alexander Square, where it ends the Avenue of Heroes. It contains the tomb of over 100 Red Army soldiers, under a plaque that states "Here lie the soldiers of the Army 62nd and 64th buried heroic defenders of the city who died heroically in the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942-1943"

Photo: xVodolazx


  • Defense committe bunker of Stalingrad bunker
Location here .
Tram stop: Детский центр (lanes 1,2,4,10)

Photo: Redboston
  

  • Tractor Factory Memorial
Location here .
Tram stop: Улица 39-ой Гвардейской Дивизии (Ulitsa 39-oy Guardeyskoy Divizii line CT)

This factory was responsible for producing T34 tanks and military equipment during the battle. In October 1942 the 24th Panzer Division and the 389th Infantry assault and managed to stop production.

 Photo: Redboston


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