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Mamayev Kurgan Memorial Complex "To the Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad"

Date of Submission: 10/09/2014
Criteria: (i)(iv)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Permanent Delegation of the Russian Federation to UNESCO
Coordinates: N48 44 32 E44 32 13
Ref.: 5936

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Mamayev Kurgan Memorial complex "To the heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad" in Volgograd is a symbol of heroism and patriotism of the Soviet nation and a tribute to the memory of those who died in the great battle of the Volga river, the most significant land battle in the human history which became a turning point in the World War II.

Due to its convenient location in the very centre of the city, Mamayev Kurgan held the key position in the defence of Stalingrad, and it is here where the construction of an enormous memorial complex started in the May of 1959, it being first presented on 15th October, 1967.

The Memorial complex "To the heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad" represents a unique formation with a total height of 820 meters from its foot to the top.

There is a flight of steps, ramps and squares with sculptural compositions leading to the top of the ensemble which tell us about the Battle of Stalingrad, ending with the Military Honour Hall, the Square of Sorrow and the war cemetery dedicated to the fallen.

The key element of the ensemble is a world famous sculpture "The Motherland Calls!", one of the most recognizable and artistic war monuments.

The main elements and components of the memorial complex:

Entry Square with an introductory composition "Memory of Generations"
The composition represents a huge high relief (17 m x 3 m x 0,75 m) consisting of 11 figures. A funeral procession goes towards Mamyev Kurgan to pay tribute to those who died.

Avenue of Lombardy Poplars
"Fight to the bitter!” Square with "Fight to the bitter!" Sculpture - the sculptural image of a soldier as if growing together with the land out of the great Russian river Volga personifying heroic defenders of the Volgian strength.

Symbolic Walls - the ruins of Stalingrad
The ruins of a huge building destroyed by long term shooting attacks, endless bombings, direct hits and bursts of fire.

Square of Heroes which comprises the wall as a spread banner saying: "With an iron wind blowing straight into their faces, they were still marching forward, and fear seized the enemy: were they people who were attacking? were they mortal at all?!'' and six sculptural groups as if answering this question: The all of us were ordinary mortals". The first of the groups is inscribed: "We’ve stood out and defeated death!" The second one is dedicated to nurses. The third group is devoted to sea soldiers. The fourth of the groups commemorates the commanders of the Battle of Stalingrad. The fifth tells the story of saving the banner. The sixth group represents the victory at Stalingrad and the end of the great battle.

Monumental Relief exhibiting main episodes of the great battle: the attack of Soviet troops at Stalingrad, blockading of the fascists and their destruction, the victorious movement of Russian forces to the west, the selfless labour of workers of the fronts. Big Breast Wall which bears the monumental relief

Military Honour Hall

Square of Sorrow with the composition "Mother's sorrow".

Other stones are symbolic.
The first of the memorial stones whis founded to the honour of an Unknown soldier with the inscription on it: "Your name is unknown. Your deed is immortal. Eternal glory".

The key monument "The Motherland Calls!"
The central element of the complex " The Motherland Calls!" is an allegorical statue of Motherland. It is the heart of the whole memorial.

Little collective grave
Those who had died defending, the main height of Russia - Mamayev Kurgan - are buried here.

Tank Turret on the plinth defines the place of the most violent fights during the Battle of Stalingrad.

Church of alt the Saints

Military Memorial Cemetery of the Soviet soldiers fallen during the Battle of Stalingrad between 1942 and 1943 (west slope of Mamayev Kurgan). It consists of the Memorial Walls bearing 6480 surnames of warriors died in the Battle of Stalingrad.

Individual Reburials - here the gravestones are set bearing full names, dates of birth and death. Collective Graves - here unknown soldiers have been reburied.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

Criterion (i): Mamayev Kurgan Memorial complex "To the heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad” represents a unique composition, a harmonious and well-laid-out work of art, a symbol of World War II made of stone.

As a separate piece of work each sculptural group of the Ensemble (designed by Yevgeny Vuchetich) is thoroughly planned, deeply felt and has a constructed ideological and artistic concept, all together telling a vivid and exciting story about the glory of the victorious nation.
The monumental memorial is crowned by a colossal allegorical statue named "The Motherland Calls!”. She rushed forward fiercely with her full might and power, a punishing sward above her head ready to collapse the enemy.

Designed by Ye. V. Vuchetich and constructed by N. V. Nikitin “The Motherland Calls!” is the highest statue in Europe and one of the highest in the world Thanks to the balanced proportions and constructive technique of the statue, Mamyev Kurgan seems to be a sculpture itself, with a statue floating above the city making deep impression as a masterpiece of creative genius of the Soviet architects.

Criterion (iv):
 The memorial complex ”To the heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad” is an outstanding example of monumental art dedicated to the war events and to the memory of the fallen in the devastating wars of the 20th century.

Criterion (vi):
 Mamayev Kurgan entered a bright page in the history of the Battle of Stalingrad which lasted from July 17th, 1942 to February 2nd, 1943. It spread over on a huge area of about 100 thousand Sq. km, with participation of more than 2 million people on its different stages. The battle, giant in scale and significant by its impact on the further course of the war, became a kind of prologue of the Great Victory. On Volga banks the fascist Germany and its satellite states suffered the most powerfully attack which they could not withstand. The international importance and the results of the Battle of Stalingrad determined the post-war balance of military and political power in the world.

Mamayev Kurgan Memorial Complex ”To the heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad” is the source of pride and patriotism for generations of Russian people visiting this place in order to cherish the memory of the victims who struggled for freedom and independence of their country.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The memorial has not suffered any significant changes from the moment of its foundation; some partial reconstruction and renovation activities have been held. The little collective grave has been rebuilt: the first monument (obelisk) has been replaced by the sculpture "Warrior Girl”. In 2005 the Church of all the Saints was opened on Mamayev Kurgan, and in 1995 the first line of Military Memorial Cemetery (5042 Sq.hn) was opened. The above mentioned changes have no impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.

Comparison with other similar properties

The question of comparison of Mamayev Kurgan with other sites of similar theme, historic period or symbolic meaning can be treated in different aspects.

War memorials associated with sites of battles (criterion iv)
Under this notion the component 540-036 of World Heritage Property "Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments" known as "The Memorial to Defense of the City of 1941 - 1944 "The Green Belt of Glory of Leningrad", included into the World Heritage List, should be mentioned. It is a complex of memorial constructions located at the borders of the defense of Leningrad, which commemorates strength and heroism of warriors and citizens of the city.

The memorial complex consists of a number of ensembles situated on the territory of Snt. Petersburg and Leningrad region, comprising defensive works and collective graves. Elements of the landscape and green planting (memorial avenues, parks and squares) play an active part.
"The Green Belt of Glory of Leningrad”, as well as the Memorial Complex "To the heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad" is a memorial to the defenders of the Motherland, however, representing a number of typical monuments separated on the significant territory, unlike the Volga one being a single unit.

Symbolic memorials associated with World War II (criterion vi)
There are quite a lot of sites included on the World Heritage List upon criterion vi, characterizing outstanding spiritual, symbolic value of the artifact to the world community.

Among the properties associated with World War II Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) in Japan should be mentioned. It is an exhibition center of Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is the only structure left standing in the area of the first atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.

This World Heritage Site demonstrates the achievement of a half century peace after crushing down the most destructive power, ever created by mankind.
Like Stalingrad memorial complex, Hiroshima Peace Memorial is the place of sorrow and memory which is attended by millions of people who come here to remember the tragedy and its victims.

Another property included on the World Heritage List upon criterion vi is Auschwitz Birkenau, German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp, the largest one in the Third Reich, where 1,5 million people were tortured and killed, it is the testimony to genocide of the Nazis. This site represents not only the evidence of the terrible crime of Nazism against humanity but it is also a monument to the strength of human character which reminds the next generations of inadmissibility of denial of human dignity and propaganda of racial superiority.

Together with the above sites, the Memorial Complex "To the Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad" is the monument to tragic events of war time, symbolizing, however, Love for Motherland and Victory in the Great Patriotic War.

Statues, representing a masterpiece of human creative genius (criterion i)
Statue of Liberty in the USA, for instance, can serve as a good example of a sculpture included on the World Heritage List upon criterion i. This outstanding work of sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel is considered to be a masterpiece of art and engineering that characterizes a completely new approach to monumental sculpture. Comparing the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World) with the focal point of Mamayev Kurgan memorial - "The Motherland Calls!" - it is worth mentioning that the Statue is the symbol of freedom - education, outlook behavioral motives and self-expression for the Americans. That is why the Statue stands with its face turning towards the arriving ships and with a torch in one hand lighting the way - for many thousands of immigrants it became a sign of liberation from oppression and suffering endured by them in the Old World, a symbol of liberation and freedom.

Such national symbol for Russian people is the monument at Mamayev Kurgan. A huge figure of a woman, symbolizing the Motherland, strongly raises her sons against the enemy. The punishing sward is above her head up in the sky. The woman is drawing into the fight. Her face looks severe and passionate, her movements are energetic, expressive and plastic.

"The Motherland Calls!" is a true patriotic symbol of the country, an expression of the national idea - love of the Motherland, solidarity and a strong will to defend the country, self-sacrifice for the love of Victory.