The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Могила Неизвестного Солдата in Russian) is a war memorial, dedicated to the Soviet soldiers killed during World War II. It is located at the Kremlin Wall in the Alexander Garden in Moscow.
The remains of the unknown soldiers killed in the Battle of Moscow in 1941 were initially buried in a mass grave of the Shtyki Memorial at the 40th km of the Leningrad highway at the city of Zelenograd. This was the location of the closest approach of the German armies to Moscow during the war. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the battle, in December 1966 these remains were relocated to the Kremlin Wall.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was designed by architects D. I. Burdin, V. A. Klimov, Yu. R. Rabayev and sculptor Nikolai Tomsky, and was unveiled to the public on May 8, 1967. The dark red porphyry monument is decorated with a bronze sculpture of a laurel branch and a soldier’s helmet laid upon a banner.
In front of the monument, there is a five-pointed star in a square field of labradorite, which emanates the Eternal Flame from its center. The flame illuminates a bronze inscription “Ваше имя неизвестно, ваш поступок бессмертен“, (“Your name is unknown, your deed is immortal”). The torch for the memorial’s Eternal Flame was transported from Leningrad, where it had been lit from the Eternal Flame at the Field of Mars.
To the left of the tomb is a granite wall with an inlay stating: “1941 – To Those Who Have Fallen For The Motherland – 1945”. To the right of the tomb, lining the walkway are dark red porphyry blocks with encapsulated soil from hero cities, Leningrad, Kiev, Stalingrad, Odessa, Sevastopol, Minsk, Kerch, Novorossiysk, Tula and Brest, Murmansk and Smolensk.
The plate for “Stalingrad” read “Volgograd” until September 2004. Further to the right of these monuments is an obelisk in red granite, listing the names of 40 “Cities of Military Glory” divided into groups of four. This monument was dedicated on May 8, 2010.
In 1997, a Guard of Honor of the Kremlin Regiment (which had guarded the Lenin Mausoleum) was restored at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the federal law of December 8, 1997, “On Immortalizing the Soviet People’s Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945”. A Changing of the Guard Ceremony takes place every hour.
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