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Founded in the late 16th century, Volgograd has been known by many names. Originally Tsaritsyn, then Stalingrad, then back to Volgograd, it has a history as turbulent as its name changes. No matter what it is called, it is known worldwide for a victory that changed the course of World War II. Volgograd earned its first name due to its location at the confluence of the Tsaritsa and Volga rivers. It was founded as a fortress before being transformed into a popular trading outpost. During its life as a fortress it experienced numerous uprisings, revolts, and skirmishes, a constant source of attack thanks to its prime standing on the Volga.

This history of battle was perhaps a foreshadowing of things to come. The victory in the Battle of Stalingrad defines Volgograd. The pride of its citizens in the bravery of their countrymen can be felt in every building, monument, and relic. The largest memorial stands on the Mamayev Kurgan, the hill that saw the most action during the battle, but the entire city is a living testimony to one of the darkest times in Russia's history. From that darkness, though, rose incredible good, and it is that good that is celebrated in every corner of Volgograd.

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