Motherland (popularly: a shield-woman, a woman with a knife) is a monumental sculpture in Kyiv on the right bank of the Dnieper. It is located on the territory of the “Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War” (the old name is the Museum of the Great Patriotic War). Opened as part of the museum complex in 1981 on Victory Day (May 9). The complex was opened by the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU Leonid Brezhnev.
A steel sculpture of this size was made for the first time in the Soviet Union. Technological design and assembly were carried out by specialists of the Kiev plant named after the Paris Commune, taking into account the recommendations issued by the Paton Electric Welding Institute for welding stainless steel elements in separate block sections weighing 25-30 tons.
At first it was supposed to cover the statue with gold leaf, but over time this idea was abandoned. The frame was made of stainless steel, smelted in Zaporozhye. The steel casing of the statue was welded by specialists from the Paton Electric Welding Institute from sheets 50×50 cm in size and 1.5 mm thick. The total length of the seams was about 30 km.
The sculpture was assembled with a specially built crane 100 meters high. To control the condition of all building structures, a strict regime of geodetic instrumental surveys was established.
A well-known sculptor in the USSR, the author of a similar monument in Volgograd and a monument to General Vatutin in Mariinsky Park — Yevgeny Vuchetich began working on the project of the statue .
At first, it was assumed that an 80-meter bronze and gilded figure of a woman would rise on the pedestal. At the foot of the statue, from a height of 30 meters, a waterfall was supposed to flow into the Dnieper, on both sides of which the soldiers crossed the river. After the death of Vuchetich, the work was headed by the Ukrainian sculptor Vasily Borodai, under whom the composition underwent significant changes.
According to rumors, during the construction of the monument, the Metropolitan of Kiev negotiated with the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine Volodymyr Shcherbytsky that the sculpture should not be higher than the Great Lavra Bell Tower, located nearby Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, they say the weapon cannot be higher than the cross. After that, it was allegedly decided to shorten the sword that holds the sculptures and it became 12 meters below the top of the bell tower. However, the architects claim that this was done for the architectural balance between the buildings of the museum and the Lavra.
1. The height of the Motherland sculpture (from the pedestal to the tip of the sword) is 62 meters.
2. The total height with the pedestal is 102 meters.
3. In one hand, the statue holds a 16-meter sword weighing 9 tons, in the other – a shield measuring 13 × 8 meters with the coat of arms of the USSR (weighing 13 tons).
4. The entire structure is all-welded and weighs 450 tons.
5. The frame itself starts at a depth of 17.8 meters (from the entrance to the museum). A concrete well with a diameter of 34 meters goes to this depth.
6. Under Tsar Alexander II, on the site where the Motherland is now, they wanted to build a bell tower about 150 meters high. The lands belonged to Vydubitsky Monastery. But the monks of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra spoke out against the construction near their territory.
7. Under Tsar Nicholas II, materials were still brought to the construction site of the bell tower, but the October Revolution prevented the work from starting.
8. In the 1930s of the last century, it was planned to set up a park of culture and recreation here. An original project was developed, but the Great Patriotic War already prevented its implementation.
The total area of the memorial complex was over 10 hectares. It includes: a museum with a monument “Motherland”, the main square with the Alley of Hero Cities and sculptural compositions “Forcing the Dnieper” and “Transfer of weapons”, a gallery of heroes of the front and rear with bronze high-relief compositions, a bowl “Fire of Glory”, exhibition of military equipment and weapons, a separate building with permanent relic expositions « Tragedy and valor of Afghanistan”, “In foreign wars”, airplanes and helicopters open to tourists, as well as the main the exposition building of the museum is a three-story building with an area in front of it, accommodating up to 30,000 people. It is here, in honor of the national holidays of the Victory, the liberation of Ukraine and Kyiv, that city-wide events are held with the participation of veterans and their descendants.
The Motherland monument must stand for more than 150 years. According to calculations, the statue can even withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake. In 1987, a strong hurricane swept over Kiev, but the monument was not damaged. Regular annual surveys show that there are no deviations from the dynamic balance. For the movement of people and maintenance of the sculpture, two elevators are mounted in the middle – vertical and inclined (moves on rollers at an angle of 75 degrees), observation platforms are equipped. One of the elevators rises with nine stops to the very head of the Motherland, which has hatches and technical platforms. You can climb into the “hand” with a shield and into the other – with a sword, there are also mounting and viewing platforms.
Where is Motherland located?
Lavrska street, 27