The huge memorial statue of the Motherland, known as “The Motherland Calls!” was the largest free-standing sculpture in the world when it was built on top of Mamayev Kurgan, in 1967.
Mamayev Kurgan is a place of great significance for the Russian people. This dominant hill, overlooking the city of Volgograd (former Stalingrad) saw some of the fiercest combat of all World War II, as it had immense strategic importance. It changed hands several times during the Stalingrad offensive, but the soviets held their positions heroically on the hill slopes until the German forces were finally surrounded and annihilated.
After the battle ended the hill was plowed and mixed with metal fragments, between 500 and 1,250 fragments per square meter. The hill remained black during the conflict because the snow melted constantly due to bombing and it remained this way in the spring after the battle, because nothing would grow. Even today it’s possible to dig up metal and bone fragments buried on the hill!