Russian Holiday

Volgograd is an amazing Russian Holiday destination. It is etched in modern history as the battle ground where the tide of the World War II shifted as the Allies tasted their first major victory against Hitler’s Army. For the heroism shown during the battle, it was awarded the title Hero City in 1945, and King George VI of the United Kingdom awarded its citizens a jeweled sword. Beyond giving a historical perspective, this region greets visitors with an amazing landscape. Blessed with pristine nature, exotic vegetation and teeming wildlife, this culturally rich region of southern Russia is hauntingly beautiful. Enjoy this Russian Holiday by staying with a traditional Russian family in a Cossack village! 

Mamayev Hill

Cossack Experience

The ideal way to plan this Russian Holiday is to stay with a traditional Russian family in one of the Cossack villages like Alekseyevskaya. Cossacks were great military men and used to serve as cavalry border guards for the Russian Empire. They’ve managed to preserve most of their traditions to this day. Their horse-riding and sword play skills are legendary. During this Russian Holiday go for the traditional Cossack cuisine. Some of the highlights would be “Shashlyki” the delicious Russian barbecue and “Gorilka”, the famous home-brewed alcohol. The Cossacks also have a fine tradition of folk music and dance. You will be impressed with their character portrayals, musical movements and exquisite costumes. Round up your Cossack experience with a “Banya”, the traditional Russian sauna!

Cossack Farm 

Nature Trails in Volgograd

The Volgo-Akhtubinskaya Valley is nature's paradise and worth a visit during your Russian holiday. It is scenically located hidden between the Volga River and its confluent the Akhtuba River. It has myriads of lakes with absolutely pure water, foliage forests along small rivers and estuaries, water meadows with innumerable rare plants and flowers. On the Lower Volga, fishery is traditionally well developed. About 70 species of fish, including six species of sturgeon, are found. An interesting place to visit here would be the Federal State Unitary Enterprise "Volgograd sturgeon fish factory. You will get to know about the nature of this very interesting fish as well as the conservation efforts being taken to preserve them for future.

Landscape 

A trip to Lake Elon is another suggestion during this Russian Holiday. It reflects the marine conditions that existed in the Caspian Depression in the remote past. The brine and the mud have phenomenal medicinal properties. For those seeking a thrill, you can collect some ancient mollusks called ammonites by climbing the mount Big Ulagan, 83 m high above the lake. While at the Nature Park, don’t miss to taste the cool salty water of the Smorogdinskiy mineral spring. The most memorable moment of your Russian holiday would be the sunset when the Lake turns pink with the reflections of the setting star.

World War Connection 

The best place to get updated on the World War-II connection of Volgograd would be at the State Panoramic Museum. The most impressive canvas is that of “The Defeat of Fascists Armies at Stalingrad”. This masterpiece depicts the battle of 26th of January1943. It’s an impressive capture of the topography, battlegrounds, infantry, tanks and artillery.

The Museum “Stalingrad Battle” is spread over 8 exhibition halls and features more than 3500 exhibits, four dioramas and a unique portrait gallery of Soviet military leaders and commanders. Some of the more famous exhibits are the sword presented by King George VI to the citizens of Stalingrad, the overcoat of General V.A. Glazkov with 168 bullet and fragmental holes, the tunic of Marshall of Soviet Union G. Zhukov and the table from the headquarters of the General M. Shumilov, where the General Field-Marshal F. Paulus, captured in Stalingrad in 1943, was interrogated for the first time.

Pavlov's House 

Pavlov’s House is another notable site to be visited in this Russian Holiday. It is a fortified apartment building and had a piece of action during the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942–1943. It gained its popular name from Sergeant Yakov Pavlov, who commanded the platoon that seized the building and defended it during the long battle. The German armies had previously conquered cities and entire countries within weeks, and yet they were unable to capture this single half-ruined house. It was defended most of the time by just over a dozen soldiers and they held on for nearly two months. Pavlov's House had become a glorious symbol of the stubborn resistance of the Soviet Union.

Mamayev Hill at Dusk 

Monuments on the Mamayev Hills are a major landmark of Volgograd and worth including in this Russian Holiday. These commemorate the victory of Soviet army over Hitler's army on the eastern front during World War II. The deadly battle was on for 5 months and had more than a million casualties. The monumental memorial was constructed between 1959 and 1967 and is crowned by a huge allegorical statue of the Motherland on the top of the hill. The monument, designed by Yevgeny Vuchetich, has the full name "The Motherland Calls". It consists of a concrete sculpture, 52 meters tall, and 82 meters from the feet to the tip of the 27 meter sword, dominating the skyline of the city. At the time of its installation in 1967 the statue formed the largest free-standing sculpture in the world. 

Planning your Russian Holiday

Volgograd region is a heady mix of history, culture and nature at its most beautiful. The best way to experience this Russian Holiday is by living with a traditional family and getting a local perspective!

For more of my travelogues across the world, visit Great Vacations. 

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