The Siege of Leningrad (now St Petersburg Russia) was a military blockade carried out mainly by the Nazi army during World War II.
The Siege started on September 8th, 1941 and was finally lifted on January 27th, 1944. The siege lasted for almost 900 days and nights – 872 to be precise. It was one of the longest, most destructive sieges in history.
What is more, probably the costliest in term of victims and the price paid by the defenders of the city.
Before the beginning of the siege the city lacked stores of food and fuel. The only way to bring supplies to the city was using Ladoga Lake. Of course the Nazis tried to prevent this from happening using fleet and artillery fire.
Obviously supplies brought to the city were not enough to satisfy all the needs of the people and industry. Because of this starvation started in the city. What is more, the first winter of the siege (1941-1942) turned out to be especially severe, which led to hundreds of thousands of victims.
All together according to official information 641,000 of people died in Leningrad because of starvation, but most historians name another figure – no less than 800,000 people. Only 17,000 died because of artillery bombing. About 34,000 were injured.
About 150,000 bombs were released by the Nazis towards the city, which destroyed 3,174 buildings, damaged 7,143 buildings – the city lost more than 5 million square meters of living space. Out of 210 monuments of architecture in Leningrad 187 were at least somewhat damaged.
Suburban residences were almost completely lost (excluding Oranienbaum). Even in the most terrible living conditions, when there was no central heating and people had to use iron stoves and burned wood to heat their dwellings and to heat water. There was no electricity and public transport was out of service so people had to walk to work in unbearable cold. The only food available was bread (only about one third of which was real flour),which you couldn’t buy in shops and could only get 125 grams a day with a voucher.
Still factories were working, providing supplies for the military needs of the front, including tanks and canons. For the courage of the citizens of Leningrad, for their deed, the city in 1965 was awarded with the honorary title Hero City.
Today there isn’t a family in St Petersburg that was not affected by the Siege. No wonder that the Day of the Liberation of Leningrad is one of the most important days in the city.
It is celebrated on January 27th every year. Usually people visit memorial places like the Piskarevskoye Memorial Cemetery, where about 420,000 civilians and 50,000 soldiers of the Leningrad Front were buried in 186 mass graves, or the Siege memorial, opened in 1975 to commemorate the defenders of Leningrad.
During your visit to St Petersburg you can visit both of these memorials to learn more about those tragic pages in the history of our beautiful city.
Don’t hesitate, just contact us for more information, we will be happy to help you include these sights into your itinerary.
This year the following events will take place in St Petersburg on 27 January:
- Flowers will be laid at 9:30 a.m. at Nevsky Prospect 14, where the inscription on the building saying ”Citizens! This side of the street is most dangerous during artillery bombing!” was left as a commemoration of those terrible and dark times.
- Flowers will also be laid at 11:00 a.m. at the Piskarevskoye Memorial Cemetery, at the Serafimovskoye Cemetery, and on Victory Square where the Siege Memorial is located.
- At 3:00 p.m. a concert will take place in Oktyabrskiy Concert Hall.