Central Front HQ Museum, Svoboda, Kursk Region, Russia

During the Battle of Kursk, the Central Front, under Konstantin Rokossovsky, was responsible for the defence of the northern sector of the salient, facing Walter Model’s 9th Army. Rokossovsky based his staff at Svoboda (Свобода – it means freedom), about 20 miles north of Kursk. From the outset on July 5, 1943, the 9th Army’s attack made little progress, and it had effectively been halted by July 10, having achieved a maximum advance of only about 10 miles.

231The museum was opened on May 9, 1975. It focuses heavily on Rokossovsky, with quite a number of personal items included among the exhibits.

232The main feature of the museum is a reconstruction of Rokossovsky’s underground bunker, which was built using the original plans. The bunker comprises a communications room and a bedroom in addition to the work room.

235234The museum grounds host a number of exhibits, including a bust of Rokossovsky, stone tablets listing the constituent armies and divisions that made up the Central Front and the obligatory T-34.

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The museum is beside the Korennaya Monastery, one of the holiest sites in the Russian Orthodox Church. The monastery was closed for 70 years under communism and was badly damaged during the war but has been undergoing extensive restoration for several years. The museum opens from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm every day except Mondays and the last Thursday of every month. Buses from Kursk’s Northern Station take about an hour to reach Svoboda.

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