A stroll down Lenin Street

Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue), Volgograd's main street, is one of the longest streets in Russia at a length of about 15 kilometres (9 miles). The avenue traverses three city districts: Central, Krasonooktyabrsky and Traktorny. The "boulevard" section of Prospekt Lenina, stretching from Predmostnaya Ploschad (Predmostnaya Square) to Lenina Ploschad (Lenina Square), is a nice walk.

Aleksander Zelikov/ТАSS

In a pocket park which divides Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue) in halves down the middle, not far from Predmostnaya Ploschad (Predmostnaya Square) there stands a commemorative monument, erected in 1989 for the city's 400th anniversary. The sculptural composition, created by Volgograd sculptors Yuri Yushin and Alexander Tomarov and architect Oleg Sadovsky, features two majestic statues of Streltsy soldiers, the founders and protectors of Tsaritsyn. The general outline of the commemorative monument resembles a Russian sword. The symbolic location is the old Tsaritsyn fortress, of which the serrated battlement tops behind the soldiers serve as a reminder. The soldiers hold a scroll in their hands with a message to the generations to come, "Our beloved town, centennials pass by, but your epic glory never fades, and will never be erased from people's memory. Our remote antecedents and our contemporaries, all those who have toiled for the benefit of our Fatherland or fought for its liberty, all ye steadfast and courageous, glorified and nameless – we bow to you this 400th year of Volgograd, we love you and remember you!"

Aleksander Zelikov/ТАSS

Another monument on Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue) commemorates the well-known Russian poet Margarita Agashina, who lived in Volgograd for many years and wrote many beautiful verses about it. The monument stands in a pocket park named after her. Many of Agashina's poems, which millions of Russians know by heart, have become song lyrics. One of the most famous ones is Little Birch Growing in Volgograd, set to music by Grigory Ponomarenko and performed by Lyudmila Zykina. A symbolic birch now grows by the monument to Margarita Agashina, which was installed in 2004. The statue was created by sculptor Viktor Fetisov.

Aleksander Zelikov/ТАSS

The Government of Volgograd Oblast headquarters on Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue) is one of the most unusual buildings in Volgograd. What looks like a single building are actually two 19th-century houses merged together. If you stand facing the main entrance, the right-hand part used to be a non-classical secondary school pre-1917, and the left-hand part used to be First Men's Grammar School. The money for the building which would later become the non-classical school was donated by local merchant Mikhail Bozheskov in 1880-1881. The building ended up costing way too much on account of a deep ravine having had to be filled prior to the construction.

The foundation underneath this building is 22 metres (72 feet) deep. A succession of organizations were based here before and after 1917. Before the non-classical school opened in 1907, the premises had been rented by the Tsaritsyn branch of the Azov and Rostov Bank. After 1917, the building was handed over to the trade unions, and became the Palace of Labour.

First Men's Grammar School (which would later move into the left-hand wing of today's Government of Volgograd Oblast building) opened in Tsaritsyn in 1875. It was awarded the name Alexandrovskaya in honour of the 1877 visit to the city by the crown prince with spouse (the future Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna). Alexandrovskaya Grammar School housed some military offices and a mobilization centre at the beginning of the First World War. The Grammar School was shut down in 1918. Baron Peter Wrangel made this building his headquarters in 1919, when the White Guard troops took over the city.

The grammar school part of the building suffered far less damage than the right-hand part during the 1942-1943 Battle of Stalingrad. The historical staircase has survived, among other things. In 1950, an architect by the name of Alexey Kulev was commissioned to design the future headquarters of the regional Communist Party Committee, which it would share with the regional Soviet of People's Deputies. Kulev merged the former Alexandrovskaya Grammar School and former non-classical school so masterfully that it looks like a single building. The empty space between the two buildings was filled with a massive colonnade.

Aleksander Zelikov/ТАSS

At the spot where Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue) meets Alleya Geroyev (Heroes Alley), there stands the bronze bust of Vasily Yefremov, a war pilot who was twice awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. This monument was erected in 1948, when Vasily "Stalingrad Falcon" Yefremov, an honorary citizen of the hero city Volgograd, was still alive. It was created by sculptor Anatoly Grigoriev. A native of Tsaritsyn, Yefremov was born into a working class family in 1915, and fell in love with the skies as a child. He worked hard to make his dream a reality. Yefremov flew a bomber during the Great Patriotic War, and some of his sorties were in the skies above his hometown. He flew 198 sorties during the Battle of Stalingrad, destroying five Nazi convoys, 15 vehicles, 11 warplanes, and lots of other Nazi equipment. Vasily Yefremov was honoured with the privilege to light up the Eternal Flame in the Pantheon of Glory on Mamayev Kurgan. He is buried on Russia's most important hill, Mamayev Kurgan. His grave is next to the grave of the Hero of the Soviet Union, the great sniper Vasily Zaytsev.

Aleksander Zelikov/ТАSS

Predmostnaya Ploschad (Predmostnaya Square) on the grounds of the Tsaritsyn Fortress took its present shape in the years right after World War II, when the new Astrakhansky Bridge was built. Before the early 1940s the main road took a left towards the Volga, where Ulitsa Astrakhansky Vzvoz (Astrakhansky Vzvoz Street) was.

Aleksander Zelikov/ТАSS

There are three fountains in the boulevard part of Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue). They all are in the same style with minor differences in the architecture of their granite bowls. These fountains were built more than 50 years ago. The first one is at the cross-section of Prospekt Lenina and Komsomolskaya Ulitsa (Komsomolskaya Street). The second one is at Prospekt Lenina and Ulitsa Simbirtseva (Simbirtseva Street). The third fountain is in mid-street between two institutions of higher education: Volgograd State Technical University and Volgograd State University of Social Science and Pedagogy. Despite its rather basic architecture, it is this third fountain that seems to be favoured by Volgograd townsfolk. Located where young people love to congregate in the middle between the pedagogical and technical universities, it is no surprise that this fountain is the preferred spot for romantic trysts.

Nikolai Galkin/ТАSS

The monument in honour of the members of the Young Communist League Organization (Komsomol) who fought at Stalingrad stands at the cross-section of Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue) and Komsomolskaya Ulitsa (Komsomolskaya Street). It was mounted to mark the 30th anniversary of Soviet victory in the Battle of Stalingrad. The composition, created using a copper raising process, consists of three statues of young people. The two young men and a young woman are shown grieving over the death of a friend. The inscription on the black marble-faced pedestal reads, "Dedicated to the Komsomol defenders of Stalingrad. Your heroism is immortal! Architect: Valentin Kalinichenko. Sculptor: Alexey Krivolapov. 1973."

Aleksander Zelikov/ТАSS

The first-ever stone synagogue to be built in Tsaritsyn, now an architectural landmark, is located a little off of Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue), on Ulitsa Port-Saida (Port-Saida Street), so named after a sister city of Volgograd – the city of Port Said, Egypt. The population of Tsaritsyn grew at a high pace in the late 19th century. Tsaritsyn was a huge multiethnic melting pot, where people of different cultural and religious backgrounds lived together in harmony. There were some 15 Orthodox churches in Tsaritsyn shortly before the 1917 Revolution, and there were also a Catholic church, a Protestant church, an Old Rite Orthodox church, two mosques and two synagogues. The two-story choral synagogue beyond the suburb of Preobrazhenskoye was completed in 1911. Designed in the Mauritanian style, the synagogue had five domes.

Back then, the entire second floor of the synagogue was one huge n-shaped balcony, probably reserved for the female congregation. According to the rules, men and women are supposed to pray separately in a synagogue. The balcony has since been remodelled into another floor. One of the original staircases has survived in the building.

The synagogue was closed down in 1929, and the building was converted to a polyclinic. Although this part of town was the locus of particularly fierce fighting during the Battle of Stalingrad, the synagogue building miraculously survived. It acquired its present-day look after some restoration work in the 1940s. The building houses a physiotherapy clinic to this day.

Aleksander Zelikov/ТАSS

The equestrian statue of Grigory Zasekin, the founder of Tsaritsyn, stands in the park named after Vasily Simbirtsev, who was Stalingrad's head architect in 1944-1959. The statue was created by Vladimir Seryakov. From the height of his bronze pedestal, the city's founding father casts his gaze towards the Volga and beyond, from where hordes of nomadic invaders could attack any time in those days. Prince Grigory Zasekin (ca. 1550 – after 1596) was a prominent statesman, who became the first military governor of Samara, Astrakhan and Saratov. Zasekin was military governor of Tsaritsyn, too, and supervised the construction of the seminal fortifications here in 1589. The monument was unveiled on National Unity Day, November 4, 2009.

Aleksander Zelikov/ТАSS

The statue in front of the Volgograd State University of Social Science and Pedagogy is in honour of the classic of socialist realism, Soviet writer Alexander Serafimovich, winner of Stalin Prize 1st Grade. It was erected in 1981 for the 50th jubilee of the university, which is named after the author of The Iron Flux. The granite and raised-copper bust was sculpted by Moisey Pavlovsky and architected by Vadim Maslyayev. The latter also designed the university building in 1952 in collaboration with Georgy Borisenko. The building is set a little back from the Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue) main line. The front yard created as a result is usually filled with students.

Sergey Grigorenko/Welcome2018.com

Ploschad Lenina (Lenina Square) completes the boulevard section of Prospekt Lenina (Lenina Avenue). In the middle of it towers a monument to the leader of the world's proletariat, installed in 1960 for Lenin's 90th birthday. Ploschad Lenina was named Ploshchad Oborony (Oborony Square), or Defence Square, before. The Lenin statue was created by the great Soviet monumental sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich in collaboration with the architect Grigory Zakharov. It is a bronze statue standing on a granite pedestal symbolizing the turret of an armoured combat vehicle. The historical scene of the monument is Lenin delivering a speech from the top of an armoured combat vehicle in front of Finland Station in Petrograd in April 1917. The monument is the compositional pivot of the plaza, and it fits in harmoniously with the colonnade of Pavlov House (Soldier Glory House). There is another monument to Lenin in Volgograd, also created by Yevgeny Vuchetich. 

The statue of the Bolshevik leader in the vicinity of the first lock marks the symbolic starting point of the Volga-Don Canal. This is the tallest Lenin statue in Russia and one of the tallest statues of real persons in the world. The monument is 57 metres tall, while the statue alone is 27 metres tall.