Heroes’ Square, Novorossiysk, Russia

In 2013/14, I completed an MA in Military History and Strategic Studies at Maynooth University. My thesis was on the campaign in the Kuban. The thesis can be found here.

Heroes’ Square (Площадь Героев) is situated in the oldest part of Novorossiysk, in the area where the first base was established by the Black Sea fleet in the 1830s. It was at the commercial heart of the city until 1926, when it became part of a new seafront promenade.

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In 1940, a white granite obelisk was erected to mark the 20th anniversary of the defeat of the White army led by Anton Denikin, which had its main power base in the Kuban and Crimea regions. Shortly after the German 17th Army was forced out of Novorossiysk in September 1943, the city council decided to build a memorial on the site. The site includes a number of memorials that were added over several decades.

The first part of the memorial is a mass grave containing the remains of a number of soldiers, sailors and officers who died during the various operations in the area. Separate memorials commemorate two who were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Major Cesar L. Kunikov led the landing party that first established a beachhead in the Malaya Zemlya area. Kunikov was wounded in an explosion on 12 Feb 1943, and died two days later. Lieutenant Nikolai Sipyagin led a patrol boat detachment that participated in several landing operations in the area. He was killed November 1, 1943 during an operation at Kerch.

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In 1960, an eternal flame was lit on the 15th anniversary of the German defeat,  and on May 9, 1975, the memorial wall at the rear of the square was inaugurated. The text on the wall reads “Сынам отечества, чей прах покоится в земле Новороссийска” In English, this means “Sons of the fatherland, whose ashes rest in the ground of Novorossiysk.”

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The memorial is in the heart of Novorossiysk, beside the seafront in the harbour.

Also in Novorossiysk:

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