Volgograd

First called Tsaritsyn, then renamed Stalingrad and eventually Volgograd, the city has a unique geographic location on the crossroads of land and waterways which link together Europe and Asia.

It was established in the 16th century to defend the strategic point where the Volga and Don rivers meet. Volgograd acquired its sinister notoriety during World War II at the time of the Battle of Stalingrad (winter of 1942) which was the turning point for the Russian resistance to Hitler, and for the war as a whole. Mamayev Нill, the site of the battle's fiercest fighting is now a memorial dominated by a 70-m (239-ft) statue of Russia the Motherland wielding a sword. The names of the soldiers who fell in combat are inscribed the walls, while Schumann's Traumerei plays over and over again. Soldiers stand as guards of honour in front of the eternal flame. You'll be moved when you visit the memorial and see the diorama depicting the ferocious battle.

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