This was undoubtedly the most tragic period in the history of St. Petersburg, a period full of suffering but also of heroism. For all those who live in St. Petersburg, the Blokada (siege) of Leningrad it is an important part of the heritage of the city and a painful memory for the older generation of the population.
Less than two and a half months after the outbreak of World War II, the Soviet Union was attacked by Nazi Germany. On September 8, 1941, the Germans had fully encircled Leningrad and the siege began. The siege lasted for a total of 900 days, from 8 September 1941 al 27 January 1944. Almost 3 million civilians (including about 400,000 children) refused to surrender and resisted. Supplies of food and fuel soon petered out, public transport was no longer operational and the winter of 1941-42 there was even heating; there was no water, almost no electricity and very little food.
In January 1942, food rations in the city have reached a historic low of only 125 grams of bread per person per day. In just two months, January and February 1942, 200,000 people died in Leningrad of cold and hunger. Despite these tragic losses and inhumane conditions, defense industries of the city continued to work, and the city did not surrender. Meanwhile, the city lived.
The treasures of the Hermitage and the residences of Petrodvorets and Pushkin were hidden in the basement of the Hermitage and St. Isaac's Cathedral. Many of the students of the city, continued his studies. Dmitry Shostakovich wrote his Seventh Symphony "Leningrad" that was performed in the besieged city.
On 27 January 1944, the siege ended. The dead were at least 641,000. Most of them were buried in mass graves in different cemeteries, most in the Cemetery Memorial Piskariovskoye, resting place of over 500,000 people and a timeless reminder of the heroic deeds of the city.
The Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad
South of the city and just 9 km from the front line, this charming complex consisting of a central obelisk of 48 meters surrounded by bronze statues is a tribute to the victory that the Russians got on the Nazi invaders at the end of the long siege.
The exhibition is as disturbing as detailed underground, and includes a huge relief map of the front line, a series of glass cases displaying objects related to the siege, detailed information on the events that took place during those 900 days, and some documentaries.
The bronze lamps, the atmospheric music and the beat of the metronome (the only sound that the inhabitants of Leningrad could hear on the radio for the entire period of the war, excluding ads warning) help to create a dark and collection.