Mamaev Kurgan

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mamaev Kurgan


(Mamai Hill), an elevation in the central part of Volgograd (north of the Central Railroad Terminal).

Mamaev Kurgan dominates the city, and it was in this area that desperate fighting took place during the battle of Stalingrad of 1942-43. On Sept. 13, 1942, troops of the fascist German Sixth Army, having begun an assault on Stalingrad, struck in the direction of Mamaev Kurgan and the Central Terminal. After bitter fighting the enemy took both sites on September 14, but on September 16 units of the 13th Guards Infantry Division, commanded by Major General A. I. Rodimtsev, drove the enemy out of the center of the city and took Mamaev Kurgan by storm. Intense fighting continued about Mamaev Kurgan until September 27, when the enemy was able to occupy half of the hill.

During the mop-up of the surrounded fascist German forces in Stalingrad in January 1943, fighting for Mamaev Kurgan developed again, and control of the summit changed hands numerous times. On January 25, Mamaev Kurgan was taken by troops of the Sixty-second Army. On January 26 near Mamaev Kurgan troops of the Sixty-second Army (the 284th Infantry Division) advancing from the east met troops of the Twenty-first Army (52nd Guards Infantry Division) advancing from the northwest, thus splitting the surrounded enemy force into two parts, southern and northern.

A memorial ensemble in commemoration of the victory at Stalingrad was built from 1963 to 1967 on Mamaev Kurgan (the collective that created the memorial was directed by sculptor E. V. Vuchetich and architect Ia. B. BelopoPskii; Lenin Prize in 1970). In the center of the ensemble is the Motherland monument (52 m high). At the foot of the hill is the Stand to the Death monument, and beneath it are the ruins of two walls with relief compositions that develop the theme of heroic struggle. Behind the wall ruins are the Square of Heroes, with six sculptural groups that symbolize the courage and heroism of the defenders of the city, and the Square of Grief, with a sculptured depiction of a mother. Alongside is a hall of military glory.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.