Volgograd has appeared under different guises throughout the history. From a foreign military stronghold Sary Su on the lands of the Nogai Horde to the rebellious Cossack settlement, to Tsaritsyn, an industrial centre of the Volga Region to Stalingrad, the field of the bloodiest battle in history, the city has played a major role in the history of Russia.
Over the centuries Volgograd had been developing just like many other Russian cities in the Volga Region. Founded as a fortress at the confluence of the Volga and Tsaritsa rivers, it was meant to protect Russia's vulnerable southern borders. In the 19th century, Tsaritsyn became an important commercial centre with a busy port on the Volga River. After the revolution, when St Petersburg was renamed Leningrad, Tsaritsyn was renamed Stalingrad, and that played a crucial role in the city's history. When the war broke out in 1941, the city named after Joseph Stalin became one of the major targets for Hitler who understood its symbolic importance. The arduous battle which lasted for six months resulted in nearly 2 million casualties on both sides. The Battle of Stalingrad is also considered a turning point in World War II which stopped the German advance into the Soviet Union.
The city obliterated by the battle rose from the rubble of war as Volgograd, a new city with wide avenues, shady boulevards stretched along the Volga River, grand squares and splendid neoclassical buildings. Today, the ruined flour mill in the city centre stands as the only tangible reminder of what the city looked like right after the war.