Volgograd, Russia: The Past And The Present, Part One

“What the fuck am I doing here?!” was my first thought as I was arriving at the Gumrak Airport in Volgograd (the former Stalingrad), on the 13th of October. The flight from Munich to Moscow and then to VOG was delayed and the cold, windy and dreary weather did the rest to my lonesome journey into the past. The one and only reason to get here  was the death of one of my uncles, Martin Priller, during one of the most fiercest battles of WW II, the fight for the city of Stalingrad. While booking my flight a couple of weeks ago, I did not realize then, that my intended travel time from the 12th-19th of October coincided with the 70th anniversary of the death of my uncle – the 16th Oct. 1942! Just five days before I had left home, I have found a website of a local travel agency, and after making contact via Facebook, I had a very reliable, english speaking tour guide – thanks again Mike (Mikhail Shuvarikov). While touring with him, there is no car rental in VOG, I got around places I could not even have dreamed about before. Like having a “scout” who knew all the former cemeteries of the German soldiers and doing some digging there, getting in touch with a patriarch of a once bombed orthodox church or an old lady who were talking about the bombings of Stalingrad of the German Army when she was a child. So many doors opened up, again and again, and time went by like there would be no time at all. Even the weather was cooperating and I had a fantastic last night, spending it at the Mamajey Kurgan Memorial Complex. To be continued.

If anyone is interested in doing a photo tour to VOG, please let me know; I could arrange something like that. Going out to the battlefields and do some digging, visiting the German and Soviet Soldier Cemetery at Rossoschka, doing a city sight-seeing-tour and spend an evening/night at the Mamajev Kurgan Complex. Enjoy!

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The battlefields of Stalingrad, out in the steppe; the supposed area where my uncle has died/was shot; the positions and emplacements are still there, also you can still find – without digging – relics like bones, bullets, shrapnel, buttons of cloth and tents….

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Bones, buttons and shrapnel…everything is still there…

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One of the very few buildings left before WW II; some 95 % of former Volgograd was destroyed (bombed)…

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The Orthodox Church at the Mamajev Kurgan Complex during twilight; the stars belong to the constellation of Sagittarius…

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The crescent Moon, Mars and Antares over the city of Volgograd; Mars is about 1.7° separated of the setting Moon…

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The Mamajev Kurgan Memorial Complex at night; the statue “Mother Russia is calling”, standing 85 m tall, is the main attraction, while “The Lake of Tears” smooth surface is reflecting the lights…

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“You must be the change you wish to see in the world!”

(Mahatma Gandhi)
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