More than 1 million cubic metres of earth was moved. Approximately 20 thousand cubic metres of concrete were laid and more than 25 thousand tons of metal used. The total square of the memorial complex is about 65,000 square metres.
Mamayev Kurgan got its name during the period of the Mongol invasions. The top of the hill used to be a guard-post during the reign of Khan Mamai. One hundred troops that were devoted to the khan and picked from his personal body-guard would stand guard on this hill to protect the capital of the Sarai Berke Khanate from sudden attack.
But Mamayev Kurgan is not famed so much for the legendary deeds of old as for those of the very recent past. In 1942 Mamayev Kurgan became the place of terribly battle. Placed as it is almost in the centre of the city its heights hold a commanding position over the whole city, the Volga and the area across the river. Thus he who commander the hill, in a sense, commanded the city.
The situation on Mamayev Kurgan was particularly critical in the middle of October, 1942, when two german divisions had control of the northern, southern and western slopes and the top of the hill was turned into a centre of resistance. Two ferro-concrete watertanks at the top of the hill became gigantic pill-boxes and a trench 10 metres wide and 2.5-3 metres deep was dug round them. The outer wall of the trench was furnished with machine-gun posts and the approaches were mined and covered with barbed wire.
Just how bitter the fighting was on the Mamayev Kurgan can be judged by this fact: after the Battle for Stalingrad the ground was littered with fragments of mines, bombs and shells - from 500 to 1,250 per square metre. In each handful of earth there were 7 to 8 pieces of shrapnel. In spring 1943 no grass grew on the Mamayev Kurgan.