Treptower Parks covers an area of 88 hectares (~220 acres) beside the River Spree in the Treptow-Köpenick district to the south-east of Berlin’s centre. At the end of the war, it was chosen as the location for the main Soviet memorial in East Berlin. The architect Yakov Belopolovskiy and the sculptor Evgeniy Vuchetich were chosen as the main authors of the complex, which was opened on May 8, 1949.
The complex can be entered through either of two ceremonial arches from Puschkinallee, on the eastern side of the park, or Am Treptower Park, on the west. The paths from the two gates converge at a statue of a mourning woman, which represents the Motherland grieving for her fallen sons. A tree-lined path leads to a the entrance to the main part of the memorial and cemetery, formed from a pair of stylized Soviet flags, built of red granite and with a statue of a kneeling Red Army soldier in front of each.
The central area of the memorial has five grass squares, each with a wreath representing a different arm of the Soviet military. These are flanked by 16 marble sarcophagi, each one representing one of the Soviet republics (of which there were 16 until 1956). Each is engraved with a quote by Stalin, in both Russian and German. Mass graves behind the sarcophagi hold the remains of some 5,000 of the 80,000 Soviet soldiers who were killed in the battle for Berlin.
The heart of the memorial is a 12-metre-tall statue of a Soviet infantryman holding a young girl and resting a sword on a broken swastika. The statue represents Nikolai Masalov, a sergeant in the 220th Guards Rifle Regiment, who is said to have rescued a 3-year-old girl, while under heavy fire, as the battle reached its peak. The statue was removed for extensive restoration in 2003, with the restored monument being officially opened on May 4, 2004.
Also in and around Berlin: