After visiting Kiev Pechersk Lavra, I walked to the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War Memorial Complex (quite a mouthful!). Formerly the National Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, this huge complex was formally opened in a ceremony on May 9, 1981, by Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev. It was created to honor the sacrifices made by the Ukrainian people during World War II.
The complex is situated along a long path starting at the entrance. Along the path are cannons and a tank.
Two sections just off the path lead to areas filled with old military vehicles, including tanks, planes, trucks, and helicopters.
The path continues to a short tunnel with a large bowl on the left side. In the bowl is the Flame of Glory. It burns continuously and has a diameter of 16m.
Inside the tunnel are relief sculptures of different scenes of the war. Depicted are the defense of the Soviet border against the Nazi invasion in 1941, the struggles of the Soviet partisans, and the contribution of the citizens.
On the other side of the tunnel is a large square that can accommodate up to 30,000 people for ceremonies. The impressive Crossing of the Dnipro monument is the focal point of the square.
Another feature of the square includes the Alley of the Hero Cities, which names cities that fought bravely during the war. When I was visiting, there were also two tanks on display that were repainted to promote peace.
Rodina Mat (Motherland Monument) is the enormous statue that’s a symbol of Kiev and can be seen from very far away. It stands 62m high to the tip of the sword and the shield is 12x8m. The shield depicts the communist hammer and sickle, which many Ukrainians believe should be removed. Inside the base is a memorial with the names of over 11,600 soldiers killed in World War II carved into marble plaques. The base is accessible through the museum (see below).
Underneath Rodina Mat is the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War. It was one of the best war museums I have ever visited. If you are into history, especially World War II, it’s not to be missed. The museum is open daily from 10am to 7pm. The cost is 20 UAH (as of October 2016) and a photo pass is an additional 30 UAH. An audioguide is 50 UAH. I wish I had paid for the photo pass because there were some very impressive items.