Motherland Monument – Kyiv, Ukraine

Motherland Monument

The Motherland Monument is one of the most famous landmarks in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. It is a 340 feet (103 metre) stainless steel statue to honour the heroes of the Soviet Union and celebrate the Soviet Union’s victory over Germany. It is the 29th tallest statue in the world. Which beats the Statue of Liberty which is the 52nd! It was designed to be even taller but the sword had to be shortened so it was not higher than the cross on the Christian Orthodox Monastery Kyiv Pechersk Lavra. The monument is part of the Museum of the History of Ukraine in World War II. Underneath the statue there is a memorial hall with the names of over 11,600 soldiers and 200 workers who were given the title Hero of the Soviet Union in WWII.

Controversy

The Motherland Monument also known as Rodina-Mat was opened in 1981. The ceremony was attended by Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, who was a Ukrainian. The two year build was controversial due to the huge cost. It was believed that the money would have been better spent elsewhere. The controversy surrounding the statue continues today as many people believe that it shown be torn down. It is a symbol of the Soviet Union and it is believed that the steel could be used elsewhere.

In 2015, the Ukrainian Parliament outlawed Soviet and communist symbols. However, as WWII monuments are excluded from this legislation, the Rodina Mat and the nearby Soviet war memorials are still standing. After the statue was complete, the director of construction Ivan Petrovich said that the rumoured 9 million rubles cost of competition was a conservative estimate. The flame uses up to 400m3 of gas per hour so is only lit on big national holidays. Though denied by the Kyiv authorities, there are rumours that the monument is built on unstable foundations.

Visiting

The Rodina-Mat is part of the Museum of the History of Ukraine in World War II and the grounds are free to enter. There are a number of smaller statues to explore around the site as well. If you want to climb up to the top of the Motherland Monument you need to wear comfortable shoes and not mind heights. Only 2 adults at a time are allowed up to the top, accompanied by a guide.

The monument heats up quickly in the sun and so you need to arrive early during the summer months. To get to the top it costs around 300 UAH and it is definitely worth it. The guide will show you pictures of the tight spaces and the climb you’ll have to be comfortable with.

We then went into a tiny lift and climbed vertically up to get to the viewing platform. Once up here it felt relatively safe due to the safety barriers and nets. Whilst the statue shook slightly when the wind blew, it just added to the excitement. The views of Kyiv are stunning and should not be missed.


Last Updated on 21 May 2022 by Leonie

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