The Victory Memorial at Poklonnaya Mountain

The memory of the “Great Patriotic War”, the Second World War from the Russian perspective, is sacred. One can especially feel this perspective when visiting the Memorial that opened at Poklonnaya Mountain in Moscow. This memorial is perfect for those wanting to get aquainted with the Eastern Front of WWII, a front that saw what was arguably the greatest turning point of the war. The sheer scale of the war in this part of the globe is evident, from the vast distances to the millions of soldiers thrown into the frontlines.

Poklonnaya Mountain is a shallow hill in the west of Moscow located between two rivers, Setun and Filka.
At some point Poklonnaya Mountain was situated far beyond Moscow’s borders and the hill commanded a fine panorama of the city. Travelers used to stop here in order to take a look at Moscow and give a bow to it, that’s where the name “Poklonnaya” (Russian word for the place people bow to) came from.

The first mention оf the Victory Memorial’s project at Poklonnaya Mountain goes as far back as 1942 when Hitler’s forces were defeated near Moscow. But it was only on the 23rd of February 1958 when the memorial sign was mounted at Poklonnaya Mountain which said “This is the place where the monument dedicated to the Victory of the Soviet People in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 is to be erected”. And in the spring of the same year the Victory Park was founded around the memorial sign.

The design and construction of the Memorial Complex at Poklonnaya Mountain dragged on for a number of years. Eventually, the idea to create a people’s monument dedicated to the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, which had been expressed for decades, was brought to life only in the late 1990s. The opening ceremony, timed to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the Victory over Nazism, took place on 9 May 1995. The monument’s name was very simple – The Victory Memorial at Poklonnaya Mountain.

There is an obelisk in the center of the Victors’ Square, an honor roll in the shape of a bayonet. It is made of strong steel and weighs a thousand tons. The height of the bayonet is 141.8 meters symbolizing 1418 days and nights of the Great Patriotic War that is nine centimeters per each day of the war.

There is bronze bras-relief on the bayonet, 25-ton bronze figure of the Goddess of Victory, Nike. It rises 122 meters above ground level. At the bottom of the obelisk, there is a statue of St. George the Victorious (Moscow’s patron saint) defeating the serpent, which means the evil, with his spear.

The Memorial Complex expands over 135 hectares comprising of the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War, the Monument of Victory and three churches belonging to three confessions which were built in order to commemorate those who gave their lives during the war.

Over fifty thousand exhibits related to the history of the war are stored in the museum. 358 volumes of the Books of Condolence are placed inside special cases. An astonishing 26 million names of people killed during the war are written down on the books. There is also a permanent military equipment exhibition near the museum. On the 30th of April 2010, on the eve of 65th Victory Anniversary, the Eternal Flame was lit at Poklonnaya Mountain. Moscow tours