The city of Volgograd is much more known to the foreigners under the name Stalingrad. It remained in people\'s memory as the place of one of the fiercest and bloodiest battles in human history.
Founded in 1589 as Tsaritsyn at the confluence of the Tsaritsa and Volga Rivers it became an important river port and commercial centre in the 19th century.
The city was the scene of heavy fighting during the Russian Civil War. Bolshevik forces occupied it during 1918, but late the city was captured by White forces under Anton Denikin. The city was renamed Stalingrad in 1925 after Joseph Stalin who took part in organizing its defence. In the Soviet time Stalin, the city became an important center of heavy industry and transshipment by rail and river. It was seen as important strategic goal by the Hitler\'s generals during WW2 and as a result was attacked by Axis forces in 1942. The Battle of Stalingrad saw perhaps the greatest casualty figures of any battle with estimates ranging between 1,250 mln and 1,8 mln people. The fighting was of unprecedented intensity: the central station of the city passed from hand to hand 13 times, and the famous Mamayev Kurgan (one of the heights of the city) was captured and recaptured 8 times. By the winter of 1942–43, the German forces controlled 90% of the city, and had cornered the Soviets into two narrow pockets. On November 19, Soviet forces launched a massive counterattack. This led to the eventual encirclement of the Sixth German Army. On January 31, 1943 its commander, Field Marshal Friedrich von Paulus surrendered, and on February 2, with the elimination of straggling German troops, the Battle of Stalingrad was over.
In 1961 the name was changed from Stalingrad to Volgograd (\"Volga City\") as part of Nikita Khrushchev\'s program of de-Stalinization. After the war a memorial on Mamayev Kurgan was built to commemorate the battle. It most noticeable feature is giant statue of Mother Russia depicted as Greek goddess Nika with a sword in her hand. At the time of costruction it was the biggest statue in the world. The statue is listed as one of Seven Wonders of Russia. It\'s total height is 87 metres (52 metres is just the statue itself, her sword is 33 metres). In comparison the famous Statue of Liberty in US is just 46 metres in total.
The present city of Volgograd with its population of over 1 million citizens, is one of Russia’s largest industrial, scientific and cultural centers.