The Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945

This is one of the grand museums of Russia. Aside from the poignant content the sheer size and visual image it presents is breathtaking. This writer, (Brent from Passport Travel) has visited and will return as he has not covered all the permanent exhibitions in enough detail, let alone the every changing special exhibitions.

One of Passport Travels homestays is in an apartment block right next to the museum complex and it was here that I explored the museum. I was intrigued to note on Saturdays how many wedding parties came to have photographs taken in front of the massive central spire monument which has a large statue of St George spearing the Nazi serpent.

 

Aside from the internal exhibitions there are also external exhibits of vehicles, weaponry and aircraft. This was where I first encountered armoured railway carriages and locomotives.

The famous dioramas are brutal, sobering yet reflect momentous times in history. I have walked this very embankment in modern times.

The museum features 14,143 square meters of exhibit space for permanent collections and an additional 5,500 square meters for temporary exhibits.

Near the entry to the museum is the Hall of Commanders, which features a decorative "Sword and Shield of Victory" and bronze busts of recipients of the Order of Victory, the highest military honour awarded by the Soviet Union.

In the centre of the museum is the Hall of Glory, a white marble room which features the names of over 11,800 of the recipients of the Hero of the Soviet Union distinction. A large bronze sculpture, the "Soldier of Victory," stands in the centre of this hall. Below lies the Hall of Remembrance and Sorrow, which honours Soviet people who died in the war. This room is dimly lit and strings of glass beads hang from the ceiling, symbolizing tears shed for the dead.

The upper floors feature numerous exhibits about the war, including dioramas depicting major battles, photographs of wartime activities, weapons and munitions, uniforms, awards, newsreels, letters from the battlefront, and model aircraft. In addition, the museum maintains an electronic "memory book" which attempts to record the name and fate of every Russian soldier who died in World War II.

The museum is set in Victory Park, a 2,424-hectare park on Poklonnaya Hill. The park features a large, paved plaza, fountains, and open space where military vehicles, cannons, and other apparatus from World War II are displayed.[2] Also in the park are the Holocaust Memorial Synagogue, the Church of St. George, the Moscow Memorial Mosque, a triumphal arch, an obelisk, and a number of sculptures.

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