Motherland Calls

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The Motherland Calls is a compositional center of a large monument and museum complex that is located in the city of Volgograd, the industrial and administrative center of the Volgograd Oblast within the southern part of the Russian Federation.

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Being one of the tallest statues of a woman that wields the tallest sword in the world, the statue is located on the Mamayev Kurgan Hill that overlooks the enormous city, and it is dedicated to the people who fought in WWII during the Battle of Stalingrad.

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The entire compositional piece is sometimes referred to as “Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad”, where Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union in one of the bloodiest battles in human history for the control of the then called Stalingrad.

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Serving nowadays as one of the greatest memorials in the world, this historic place will never cease to impress and awe everyone that comes to see it in person, as it is one perfect epitome of monument ensemble.

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Designed by the prominent Soviet sculptor and artist, Yevgeny Vuchetich, and structural designer and construction engineer that is known for his monumental structures in the Soviet Union, Nikolai Nikitin, The Motherland Calls started being built in May 1959, and it was finally completed in October 1967.

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Standing at a height of about 85 meters (279 feet), the woman stepping forward with a raised sword is an allegorical image of the Motherland that quietly calls upon the sons and daughters to repulse the fierce enemy, to never surrender and return to the attack until all enemies are defeated.

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Considered to be one of the most difficult projects that were built at that time, the posture of the woman is a very complicated one because pre-stressed concrete and wire ropes were used to achieve the dramatic pose and to help balance the statue with its outstretched arms.

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The exterior walls of the brave woman were made from concrete that is some 25-30 cm (10-12 in) thick, while the interior I shallow and it was made from a series of separate chambers.

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There are several versions of who the woman looks like, where some are saying that the wife of Vuchetich Vera was the one, others saying that Valentina Izotova or Ekaterina Grebneva, even though the author himself did not say who exactly it is.

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Still, weighing over 8,000 tons, the statue contains some 5,500 tons of concrete and 2,400 tons of metal, in addition to the sword that weighs some 14 tons.

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The ensemble begins with 200 steps from the bottom of the hill which symbolize the 200 days of the Battle of Stalingrad, and all around the grandiose statue are located some other important memorials, as well as the last resting place for Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov, Marshal of the Soviet Union and participant in the Battle of Stalingrad, and the famous Soviet sniper Vasily Zaytsev, who killed 225 soldiers and officers of the German army and their allies in the same battle.

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Nonetheless, the large statue was faced with an issue that is connected to the rising groundwater levels. As a matter of fact, the statue itself is not connected to its foundations, but rather relies on its weight to be put in place, and it was discovered in 2009 that the memorial subsides a little bit and there was a great chance that it would collapse. Thanks to the fast response by the officials, restorative work was carried out and nowadays, fortunately, The Motherland Calls still stands proudly above the great city of Volgograd.

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The official restoration work was completed in April 2020, where the ropes inside were replaced to ensure its stability, the interior and all formed cracks were repaired, and some 6,000 sq m (65,000 sq ft) of concrete surfaces were restored, giving the glory and representative look the statue deserves.

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All in all, a magnificent Soviet project that silently screams about one of the greatest battles there were in human history, which will awe every visitor and will bring emotional reaction as visitors are learning the details that the history books might have forgotten to include.

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