By Lauren Lewis

Photo credit: Lauren Lewis

St Petersburg is a city with no shortage of interesting and captivating sights to see, but perhaps one of the lesser known of these is the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad. Situated on the southern outskirts of the city, this monument and museum pay tribute to all who lost their lives during the 900 day Siege of Leningrad during World War II. Unveiled in 1975, the monument features statues of both soldiers and civilians, while underground the museum presents visitors with artefacts and further information.

The statues which form the monument depict soldiers who defended the city during the siege, as well as citizens living within the city at the time. These beautifully crafted and detailed statues depict various scenes and are an amazing sight to see, whether visiting by day, or lit up at night. Being able to see them alone is worth the visit to the monument, though they are not the only feature of it.

Underneath the monument is a small museum containing various artefacts, ranging from artillery to musical instruments, all presented in glass cases. As well as this, visitors can also view a moving film with actual footage from the siege. The sound of a metronome can be heard within the dimly lit museum, this being the only sound heard on the wireless other than emergency announcements at the time. All of this creates an ominous atmosphere which is very effective in giving the visitor some idea of what life must have been like for citizens at the time. Mosaics covering the walls on either side depict both scenes from during the siege, as well as the end of it. Both feature beautiful colouration and detail and, much like the statues, are a captivating sight to see.

Visiting St Petersburg today, it is hard to imagine how life must have been there during the siege, but this monument gives a good insight into the city and people at the time. So many lives were lost during the Siege of Leningrad, and this monument pays a beautiful tribute to the workers and ordinary citizens who, though many are nameless, are remembered.  As well as this, the museum goes further by providing more information- in English as well as Russian- about the siege itself. Overall, it serves as a fitting tribute as well as one of the must see sights of St Petersburg.

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