A vivid dream of the legendary sculpture of the Motherland came to me when I was just 7 years old. As I recalled later, on looking through family photos, I found one old picture of my aunt standing on the grand stairway there, before the huge sculpture of a woman, sword in hand, and visible to the horizon. For many years this image inspired me, but only recently was I able to play out this dream.
Looking back now, I remember when I finally asked my father about the statue in the photograph, and about the sword she held in her hand, he told me in detail about the battle of Stalingrad, about this mound, about the heroism of the people during the war years. I recollect now how I closed my eyes and visualized my own visit to the Mamayev Kurgan, and of laying my own flowers to honor the memory of the fallen defenders of my Motherland during the Great Patriotic War. By the way, it may interest the reader to know, my ancestors fought and even received military awards during this fight too. So, you see, a visit to the Mamayev Kurgan for me was a matter of honor and duty as well. For those readers who may not know, maybe I should dip into the history of the monument.
The Sculpture Motherland is the central figure of the monument-ensemble "Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad". This is one of the tallest statues in the world, one actually entered in the Guinness Book of Records at a height of 85 meters. The construction of the monument designed by sculptor E. Vuchetich and N. Nikitin began in 1959, and lasted 8 years. As for the central figure, the woman walking with a raised sword in her hand represents the image of our motherland, one who calls her sons and daughters to protect their native land.
The allegorical image of the Mother was used by the sculptor to reflect the full depth of our people's senses, and the urgency that the Soviet people rose to fight to the end in defense of their land, their families, their Motherland. The Motherland sculpture is made of 5,500 tons of concrete and 2,400 tons of metal. The concrete foundations (pedestal) on which the monument stands reach a dept of 16 meters beneath the ground. Interestingly, the sculpture is not fixed to the base plate, but stand independent, supported only by its massive weight. Inside, are half-empty cells, like rooms in a residential building. The rigidity of the frame is supported by 119 metal cables, which are always stay in tension. The wall thickness is 25-30 centimeters, and there are stairs and an elevator inside the sculpture for maintenance personnel to keep up the monument.
Initially, the sword that according to legend was forged in the Urals (the monument "The rear to the forefront" in Magnitogorsk) and raised here in Stalingrad (Volgograd), is 33 meters length. The massive sword is made of stainless steel and sheathed with titanium sheets. As strong winds tended to cause the sword to virbate and rotate the statue, a new sword design replaced the old one. Now there are holes drilled in this special sword so that the wind has less effect. Interestingly, the complex calculations as to stability were made by design engineer N. N. Nikitin, who also did the project of calculations of stability for the Ostankino television tower.
Each year, Mamayev Kurgan is visited by many tens of thousands of people. Most (like me) come to lay flowers at the eternal Flame and to honor the memory of ancestors. All who visit get the feel of history, and learn a lot more about the Great Patriotic War fought desperately here. For those of you who want to understand and feel the course of history, to see with your own eyes a great battle place and feel the power of this spot, then you should definitely climb the Mamayev Kurgan!
P.S. In the summer of 2015 my dream to go on Mamayev Kurgan and lay flowers at the feet of the Mother Motherland came true. A dream, that for so long it seemed would be unrealizable, accomplished!
"... Each step I was getting closer and closer to the top of the mound. The sculpture of Motherland was ever present more and more. She seemed to grow and grow before my eyes. It seemed to me that the wind actually was driving her figure and fanning her clothes and hair. From her open mouth a thunderous sound it fetched away like from the depths of the bowels of the earth. All her figure is a movement, I thought. Then I realized this cry, her call, and her challenge! This is the voice of the Mother, who appeals to her sons and daughters! Our Motherland is calling us, calling all to defend our native land, our homeland, our roots. Today she calls her children to do the great feats needed to enjoy a bright future!" --- Natalia Polyakova - August 2015