On my third day, I visited the only remaining part of the city that was not rebuilt after the war. I was surprised to find that there is almost no trace of the war in Volgograd at all. The entire city was rebuilt during the Stalin era. Only one German built factory near the Volga River remains as it did at the end of the war. By the look of the photos, the entire city looked as this building did, if the buildings were standing at all, most were not. Just across the street is the old home of the famous Pavlov house.
Mark Broklin writes:
Pavlov’s House is the site of a famous WWII battle. It fell under ferocious attack from German forces but did not fall. After the war it was restored to the form you saw. There are a number of websites that talk about the house and there was a Call of Duty multiplayer map based on the battle.
Pavlov’s house behind anti-aicraft gun
Near the old factory is a collection of Soviet military hardware. Most of it post-dates World War II. I was a bit disappointed that they did not have a T-34 tank and/or a T-34/85, or any of the Su tanks that won the war against the Nazis. There were some 1960 and 1970’s model Mig 21 and 23 fighter jets.
There was even a more contemporary T-80 tank with it’s add on reactive armor. I examined this tank up close and counted 20 or 30 bullet holes in the reactive armor cases. I wonder if this tank has seen action in Chechnya? Overall, the most to see of the Stalingrad battle sites is in the form of photos and film on display at the museum near the factory.
I took a while to enjoy the view of the Volga River and tried to imagine what this place was like in the middle of World War II. This area that shows the only sign of the greatest battle of World War II is commemorated by a tall white monument. Aside from the museum, the monument, Pavlov’s house, and the destroyed factory, the city shows no signs of the war save for some monuments scattered throughout the city.
Throughout Volgograd there are monuments to particular battles that occurred during the long siege. I came across this memorial that marks the front line between the German and Russian military forces. The monument is in a small parkway sandwiched between two apartment rows. It is about 100 meters from the Lenin train station. I took a moment and looked around and tried to imagine what it must have been like here, block after block of demolished buildings full of young soldiers who were trying to kill each other. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of men and women died within eyesight of where I am now standing…
Later, I met up again with Oksana, my friend from the bus ride. She took me touring around some of the city and helped me along with my Russian language lessons. It was very nice to have a local to act as guide and show me around a bit.
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