Hall of Military Glory, Volgograd, Russia

The Hall of Military Glory is the final element of the Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex through which visitors pass before the final ascent to the Motherland Calls statue at the top of the hill. During the early stages of planning of the complex, one proposal was for the hall to hold the panorama museum that is now located overlooking the Volga near the city centre.

The hall is 42 metres in diameter and the highest point of the ceiling is 13.5 metres. It is dominated by a sculpture of a hand holding a torch in which an eternal flame burns. An honour guard is provided by soldiers of the 46th Infantry Company of the Volgograd Garrison from 9:00 am to 7:00 or 8:00 pm, with an hourly changing of the guard ceremony. Thirty-four symbolic red banners line the wall of the hall, listing the names of about 7,200 of the defenders of Stalingrad.

An inscription around the upper part of the wall reads “Да, мы были простыми смертными, и мало кто уцелел из нас, но все мы выполнили свой патриотический долг перед священной матерью-Родиной!” This translates to English as “Yes, we were mere mortals, and only a few of us survived, but we all fulfilled our patriotic duty to the sacred Motherland.” The orange and black stripes on which the text is overlaid are the colours of the ribbon of the Order of St. George, the highest purely military decoration of the Soviet Union and, subsequently, the Russian Federation. A recording of Robert Schumann’s “Träumerei” (“Daydream”) is played on a continual loop.

The entrance to the hall is through a wall decorated with bas-reliefs depicting the Red Army’s final victory at Stalingrad. The inscription over the entrance reads “Навсегда сохранит наш народ память о величайшем в истории войн сражении у стен Сталинграда” — “Our people will remember forever the greatest battle in history,which was fought by the walls of Stalingrad.” To the right of the entrance, an image of a group of German prisoners is accompanied by the text “фашистские вояки хотели увидеть Волгу: Красная Армия дала им эту …возможность…” — “The fascist warriors wanted to see the Volga. The Red Army gave them this …opportunity…”

A ramp that curves around the wall brings visitors to the exit at the upper level of the hall. The grave of Vasily Chuikov, whose command of the 62nd Army was so vital in the Battle of Stalingrad, is beside this exit.

A virtual reality tour of the whole Mamayev Kurgan complex can be viewed here.

Also in Volgograd:

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