Мамаев курган

Yesterday, Nora and I decided we’d go to a shopping center and then to Мамаев курган for a pic-nic. This would have been an excellent plan had it not taken us hours to find the shopping center! Having ventured down the length of Volgograd twice over (it’s a long city) we finally popped up at the right place! We then got an unexpected call from our new Russian friends and they came to pick us up to take us on a little excursion. It astounds me how nice they are considering we (read: I) don’t speak the language and spend 70% of the time grinning like a loon hoping they won’t ask me a follow-up question. Nora actually speaks Russian pretty well, or well enough to be understood at least! After Мамаев курган they took us to a cafe/restaurant where we drank tea and ate pizza. Not a bad day all round, though entirely different to what we had planned! Thus is the nature of Russia.

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A picture of a University building. On it says, “Learn, Learn, Learn. Lenin.”

I’ve noticed a theme in Russia. If in doubt, if you have any spare space on the side of a building or in the middle of a street, make reference to Lenin to fill the space. He is everywhere! We saw this on our first trip down the length of Volgograd in our quest for the shopping center.

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This is where we ended up after asking for directions to the shopping center! We have no idea where it was other than it was as far as you can physically go in Volgograd.

But finally, we found it! Neither of us made any purchases other than food. Shopping in Russia is an absolute rip off! At some point I am going to have to suck it up and buy a coat to see me through autumn but I think I’ll wait for a bit! It’s starting to get chilly here, but for now it’s not so bad!

Finally, we made it to Мамаев курган! This is where possibly the most impressive statue I’ve seen in person is! She’s colossal and has the angriest look on her face. It’s quite a sad place, but so beautiful. Мамаев курган refers to the entire area, and the statue itself is called «Родина-мать зовёт!» which means “The Motherland calls!”

The hill is the site of the Battle of Stalingrad.

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There’s also a breath-taking monument to all the soliders that died during the Battle of Stalingrad. Its absolutely shocking how many names are written on the walls.

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And finally, one of the most poignant parts. Written on a wall is the following:

“An iron wind beat in their faces, and they all went forward, and again a sense of superstitious fear from the enemy: the people attacking them, are they even mortal?”

The iron wind is the bullets raining down on them, but still the soldiers kept coming. 

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