Government of Volgograd Oblast Building

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.