Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, was the site of the great, fierce and decisive battle that the Russians consider a turning point in World War II. The city was totally destroyed in the battle. Today, Volgograd is a regional capital with a huge power plant and a number of important industrial plants; the Volga-Don Canal begins close by. The residential quarters are set apart from these, separated by a greenbelt covering well over 20000 acres.
The highest point in Volgograd is the Mamayev-Kurgan, where the front-line troops faced each other for five months. At the top of the Mamayev-Kurgan there are a 305-foot-high concrete memorial and a separate colonnaded hall inside which a model panorama of the Battle of Stalingrad has been reconstructed.