Tomb of the Unknown Soldier & Eternal Flame in Moscow

One of the places that all tourists visit when traveling to Russia is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Eternal Flame in Moscow. A monument that holds great significance for the Russian people and for the whole world that seeks peace.

Details about Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Eternal Flame in Moscow

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow is a national monument to military glory located in the Alexander Garden at the foot of the west side of the Kremlin.

The monument is dedicated to those who died in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, as well as to heroic cities and cities of military glory.

In its center is a niche with the inscription “Your name is unknown, your deed is immortal”, in the middle of which is a five-pointed bronze star: in its center burns the Eternal Flame of Glory, a fire that burns constantly, symbolizing the eternal memory of those who fell in the Great Patriotic War.

Behind the Eternal Flame is a tombstone with a bronze sculptural composition depicting a soldier’s helmet and a laurel branch on a Soviet battle standard that appears to cover the grave. An Honor Guard is placed at the tomb and the Eternal Flame.

On the left side of the monument there is a wall made of crimson quartzite with the inscription “1941 To the Fallen for the Motherland 1945”, on the right side there is an alley with dark red porphyry pedestals, inside of which capsules with soil of the heroic cities are walled.

Each pedestal bears the name of a heroic city, as well as an engraved image of the Gold Star medal. In total, 12 pedestals were installed in honor of 11 cities of heroes and the Brest Fortress (hero-fortress).

Cities of heroes and the Brest Fortress

  • Leningrad
  • Kiev
  • Minsk
  • Stalingrad
  • Sevastopol
  • Odessa
  • Kerch
  • Novorossiysk
  • Brest Fortress
  • Tula
  • Murmansk
  • Smolensk

Cities of military glory

To the right of the alley of the heroic cities, there is a red granite stele in honor of the cities of military glory.

In appearance, the stela is similar to the pedestals of the heroic cities, but exceeds them in size; the names of 45 cities of military glory are written on a 10 meter slab:

Belgorod, Kursk, Orel, Vladikavkaz, Malgobek, Rzhev, Yelnya, Yelets, Voronezh, Luga, Polyarny, Rostov-on-Don, Tuapse, Velikie Luki, Veliky Novgorod, Dmitrov, Vyazma, Kronstadt, Naro-Fominsk, Pskov, Kozelsk, Arkhangelsk, Volokolamsk, Bryansk, Nalchik, Vyborg, Kalach-on-Don, Vladivostok, Tikhvin, Tver, Anapa, Kolpino, Stary Oskol, Kovrov, Lomonosov, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Taganrog, Maloyaroslavets, Mozhaisk, Khabarovsk, Staraya Russa, Grozny, Gatchina, Petrozavodsk, Feodosia.

Honor guard at the Eternal Flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow

The Honor Guard Post at the Eternal Flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin Wall, also known as Post No. 1, is Russia’s main guard post.

The post was established in 1924: initially, the guards were at the Mausoleum of V.I. Lenin on Red Square, but in 1993 the guard was abolished. In 1997, it was restored in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The honor guard at the Eternal Flame emphasizes the significance of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, as well as the memorial dedicated to the soldiers who fell in it.

Sentinels keep order at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and are armed with mock-ups of Simonov’s automatic carbines; in case of threat, they have the right to use physical force, as well as to defend themselves with the butt and stab of the bayonet.

Sentinels usually stand motionless, if they need to recover, a third soldier approaches them and performs the necessary actions.

The military personnel of the special guards company are subject to increased requirements for physical training, discipline and growth.

The Honor Guard changing ceremony, which takes place every hour from 08:00 to 20:00, has become a popular ritual among tourists and citizens: many people come to the memorial just to see how it happens.

When changing the guard, the sentinels move synchronously and symmetrically, raising their legs directly at the knee from the hip, the coordination of their actions is brought to the ideal.

History of the monument

The history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow near the Kremlin wall began on December 3, 1966, when, in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, the ashes of the Unknown Soldier from the mass grave in 41 km from the Leningradskoye highway (at the entrance to Zelenograd) were transferred in a solemnly buried in the Alexander garden.

The coffin with the remains, entwined with a black and orange ribbon, was lowered into the grave under an artillery barrage, on May 8, 1967, the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” memorial complex, designed by architects Dmitry Burdin, Vladimir Klimov, Yuri Rabaev and sculptor Nikolai Tomsky.

Lighting of the eternal flame

The eternal flame was lit by Leonid Brezhnev, who accepted the torch from the Hero of the Soviet Union Alexei Maresyev. The flame was delivered to Moscow from Leningrad in an armored personnel vehicle, brought from the eternal fire on the Field of Mars.

Honor guard

In 1997, Post No. 1 of the Guard of Honor at the Eternal Flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was opened, which was previously located in the Mausoleum of Vladimir Lenin, but was abolished from its original place in 1993. Since then, a ritual changing of the guard of honor has been carried out at the memorial.

City of Military Glory

With the establishment of the honorary title “City of Military Glory” in 2006, the idea of ​​rebuilding the monument arose; adding a stele with the names of the cities of military glory.

On November 17, 2009, the monument received the status of the National Monument of Military Glory, which is a particularly valuable object of the cultural heritage of the Russian Federation.

The reconstruction of the monument lasted from December 2009 to May 2010, its grand opening took place on May 8, 2010. A new element appeared in the ensemble – a memorial sign in honor of cities of military glory.

For the reconstruction period, the Eternal Flame with military honors was moved to Victory Park on Poklonnaya Hill, and then returned.

Initially, 40 city names were written on the stele in honor of cities of military glory, later 5 more were added. In total, it provides space for 48 cities.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, patriotic monument and tourist attraction

Over the years of its history, the monument has become one of the most famous places in Moscow. The monument attracts Russian and foreign tourists, as well as citizens and newlyweds.

On the days of commemoration dedicated to the Great Patriotic War, wreath-laying ceremonies are held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Politicians, military and delegations of foreign states, veterans and students of educational institutions of the Ministry of Defense participate in the ceremonies.

Visit the monument with us

During our tours in Moscow we always visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and attend the changing of the guard ceremony.

If you have plans to travel to Russia, do not hesitate to contact us and we will help you to perfectly plan each day that you are going to enjoy during your trip.

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