A bronze sculpture of a Soviet solider is the dominant feature of the Monument to the Heroes Who Died Defending the Homeland. It is located on М11 Motorway, a motorway from St Petersburg to Veliky Novgorod and Moscow.
On the other side of the motorway stands an icon case with the mosaic icons of Our Lady of the Sign and St Alexander Nevsky, the patrons of Novgorodian Rus.
The monument was erected here because the 2nd Shock Army made the last attempt to break out of the encirclement in Myasnoi Bor, near the rest area on the 561st kilometre of the motorway, in 1942. As part of the Volkhov Front, the army was trying to lift the siege of Leningrad but was cut off from the main group of forces. Tens of thousands died during fierce fighting and some 30,000 were taken prisoner. The memorial was established to commemorate the historical significance of their heroism.
The traditional image of the defender of the Homeland was created by sculptors from the Grekov Studio of Military Artists. Together with the pedestal, the 3-metre-high monument stands above treetops.
Travellers can stop at the icon case to pray on their way from Moscow to St Petersburg and lay flowers at the monument to fallen servicemen on the way back.
There is a U-turn you can take to stop at the monument and the icon case. On the way from St Petersburg to Moscow, the U-turn is located at the 545th kilometre, 16 km from the site. On the way from Moscow to St Petersburg, the turn is 13 km from the memorial complex, and one more turn is on the other side of the Kerest River.
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