The monuments of World War II have a special place among the sights of Voronezh. In 1942-1943 the line of defense passed through the city districts, and for 212 days heavy battles took place in the city. Many monuments of Voronezh are devoted to those heroic events. Citizens honor the memory of the fallen and visit the war memorials with funeral wreaths and bouquets of flowers on special days. Those interested in military history have a lot to see in Voronezh.
1. Victory Square (Ploschad Pobedy)
On May 9, 1975 the Victory Square and a special memorial complex were inaugurated in Voronezh. This event took place on the day when the whole country celebrated the 30th anniversary of the victory over fascism. The memorial on Victory Square is dedicated to the defenders of the city who took part in the military battles in 1942-1943. Along the square there is a wall with red granite panels, with the names of army units that protected and liberated Voronezh carved in them.
On the northern side, on a red granite pedestal, a metal sculptural composition is installed. It consists of 12 figures: soldiers from different branches of the army, a militia fighter, guerrillas, a worker, a female farmer and a woman with a child. The eternal flame is lit in front of the monument in memory of those who helped to bring victory over fascism both on the battlefield and behind the scenes. On the southern edge of the square stands a pedestal, on top of which the Order of the First Degree of the Patriotic war is fixed. This award was given to Voronezh for its heroic defense. Voronezh Victory Square was the place where Voronezh veterans have gathering for many years in May.
Read about other sights in Voronezh here.
2. Sandy Ravine (Peschanyi Log)
Another memorial complex was built in Voronezh in 1975. It recalls the terrible events of August 27, 1942. On this day, on the outskirts of the city near a shallow ravine, the German SS shot 452 people. These were people who had been injured during the bombing and were being treated in a civilian hospital. There were many women and 35 children among them.
This terrible crime was investigated in 1943 by a specially created commission. Excavations were carried out, 176 of the 452 corpses were extracted from the ground and identified, the rest are anonymous. The Sandy Ravine Memorial consists of several parts: the road of death, the place of execution and the place of burial. At the entrance on the opposite sides of the ravine there are two memorial signs, and the funerary square has 452 tombstones.
3. The Rotunda (Rotonda)
The Rotunda is located in the Voronezh Transport Park, an unusual historical monument. Shortly before the attack of the German troops in 1940, on this site a new building was built, which housed the department of therapy of the Voronezh regional hospital. In the annex, which had a round shape, there was a training building. In the auditorium, consisting of two tiers, teachers had given lectures to students of the medical school. The whole building was made of bricks, and the frame consisted of reinforced concrete columns. During the defense of the city, which lasted 212 days, the complex of hospital buildings was destroyed.
After the liberation, there were no funds for the restoration of the building, the surviving bricks were disassembled for repair of residential houses. Only the reinforced concrete columns and the dome remained in place. Residents called it the Rotunda. In 1965, it was decided to preserve the ruins and build a memorial near them. However, the plans were not realized, only conservation works has been carried out and a memorial sign was installed. In 2008 the dome of the building collapsed, after which the entrance to the basement tier, where the sightseers descended before, was blocked and a fence was installed.
4. Monument of Glory (Pamyatnik Slavy)
Everyone who enters Voronezh from Moscow side along Moskovsky Prospekt will surely see the Monument of Glory. In 1942-1943, the 60th army fought on these grounds. There are several mass graves here. On the place of one of the mass graves, in which about ten thousand people are buried, a large-scale monument was erected in 1967. It consists of a sculptural group and a small wall with tablets bearing the names of the dead. The total length is 100 meters.
After the monument was unveiled, the remains of the dead found during excavations or diggings were buried in the mass grave. Names, if they could be established, were added to the plates. When there was no space left, they started to bury them next to each other, setting up separate memorial signs. Every hour a fragment of the “Holy War” and poems by R. Rozhdestvensky sounded near the monument. In 1980 the sound was turned off, but in 2005 the equipment was restored.
5. The Pyramid (Piramida)
In 2000 at the intersection of Moskovsky Prospekt and Khol’zhunova Street in Voronezh, a quadrangular pyramid made of red glass has been erected. In the evenings the construction was illuminated from the inside with a bright scarlet light. The year after Voronezh was awarded the title “City of Military Glory” in 2009, on two opposite sides of the pyramid inscriptions dedicated to this event appeared. On top of the inscriptions, models of the Orders of the Patriotic War were added. It is the first and so far the only monument in the city dedicated to the historical event, made in the high-tech style. At first, the residents of Voronezh didn’t seem to like the Pyramid too much, but over time they got used to it, and now this construction even claims to be the landmark of Voronezh.
6. Chizhovsky foothold (Chizhovskiy Platsdarm)
Chizhovka is a right-bank suburb of Voronezh, where heavy battles were fought right until the liberation of the city in 1943. Soviet troops managed to gain a foothold in the area, and then started the attack, hence the name: “Chizhovsky foothold”. About 17 thousand people died in Chizhovka. The construction of the memorial began in 1973 and was successfully completed for the WWII anniversary in 1975, but from then on it has been constantly updated and improved. In 1985, the final version was ready for the 40th anniversary of the victory. The “Chizhovsky foothold” is a visible sculptural group of three soldiers in military tents, a mass grave and a memorial hall. Another sculpture near the mass grave features a mortally wounded Red Army officer. During the last reconstruction in 2012, the chapel of Dmitry Donskoy was built next to the memorial.
7. Monument to Internationalist Warriors (Pamyatnik Voinam Internatsionalistam)
Many Voronezh residents took part in armed conflicts outside Russia, the longest and hardest of which was the war in Afghanistan. Veteran organizations and the military and historical society worked to create a monument to the fallen. Its opening took place on 02.08.2014 at the square of the Kominternovskoe cemetery. The monument consists of a bronze figure of a soldier with a lowered automatic rifle and four marble pylons with the engraved names of 429 Voronezh residents who died in armed conflicts outside of the Russian Federation. In the square next to the memorial, a chapel is built as well.
8. Monument to the Pilots (Pamyatnik Pilotam)
During the World War II, along with ground troops, Soviet pilots fought for Voronezh. For the successful fighting of the 41st Assault Aviation Regiment and the 291st Assault Aviation Division, they were given honorary names – the Voronezh troops. A monument to these courageous pilots was erected at the intersection of Voroshilov Street and Kosmonavtov Street. The monument is a MiG-21 jet fighter aircraft with the number 100. This fighter plane crashed in 1975, was written off, and in 1976 the idea arose to make a monument out of it. The initiative came from the 445th Aeronautical Research Regiment, and they were also involved in the implementation of the project. Fortified structures of aluminum sheet are installed on a pedestal, and in front of the the monument is the Aviators square.
9. Monument to General I.D. Chernyakhovsky
In 1945, at one of the squares of the liberated Vilnius, Army General I.D. Chernyakhovsky, two times hero of the Soviet Union, was buried. In 1950, a monument to the commander was unveiled at this spot. A bronze tombstone for the general was erected on a granite pedestal. In 1990, at the request of the nationalists, Vilnius authorities dismantled the monument as an object of communist propaganda. The bronze figure was moved to Voronezh, where in 1943 I.D. Chernyakhovsky commanded an offensive operation to liberate the city. Money for the new pedestal was collected by the public in Voronezh over 2 years. The opening of the renovated monument took place on May 9, 1993. The pedestal was made of concrete and lined with slabs of pink Pavlovsky granite.
10. Monument to the Paratroopers (Pamyatnik Desantnikam)
In 1930, not far from Voronezh, a significant event took place – the first landing of airborne troops. The city is rightfully considered the home of airborne troops. In 1997, a memorial sign was erected in honor of this event in the Pobedy Park. In 2010, a monument was erected as well. It consists of figures of a paratrooper dressed in a 30s uniform and a boy holding a model aircraft. The military and teenager are sheltered by a 10-meter high steel structure, with a parachute functioning as a dome. The monument fits very well into the surrounding square which hosts annual celebrations on the day of the Airborne Troops and on the day of the Parachutist.