The Museum of Military Glory of Russia's Third Battlefield
On May 2, 2010, the Museum opened its doors to the Third military battlefield. This was a significant event not only reflecting the fortitude of the people of Belgorod region, but also of the whole of Russia. A modern museum complex has been commissioned covering a total area of 5000 square meters. It is a unified architectural ensemble containing the Petropavlovsk Church and the Cultural-Historical centre of the Prokhorovka battlefield. The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul is the architecturally dominant feature in the area.
It is symbolic that the construction of the Museum began on February 6th 2009, in celebration of another anniversary of the liberation of Prokhorovka from the German fascist invaders. At the grand opening of the Museum, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia took part. The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Prokhorovka Nikolai I. Ryzhkov, a Member of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation attended. The Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Alexander Avdeev, Ioann, the Archbishop of Belgorod and Stary Oskol, Yevgeny Stepanovich Savchenko, the Governor of Belgorod region and veterans of the Great Patriotic War were also in attendance.
At the opening ceremony of the Museum, former front-line soldiers found themselves in the spotlight. The Governor, Yevgeny Stepanovich Savchenko, awarded them a medal signifying the 65th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War .
Students of the younger generation the ceremony with cadets where a veteran solemnly cut the symbolic ribbon.
Then the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kiril sprinkled the central entrance and made his first tour of the Museum and left the following entry in the visitors ' book:
Upon entering the museum, you psychologically transform, because not only do you find yourself in the atmosphere of a great feat, but you also sense the grateful memory of descendants. In the center of the Museum forecourt there is a majestic sculptural and artistic composition entitled "the Tank Ram during the Battle at Prokhorovka ". The composition is symbolic, embodying the heroism of Soviet soldiers. It is the Prokhorovka battle in miniature, yet fully conveys its intensity.
The author of the composition is People's Artist of Russia F. Sogoyan. At the entrance to the Museum there are six boards. On the basis of the information made available on them, over and over again you read the story of the battle in stone. The information posted here was prepared at the Institute of Military History. On 2 May 65 symbolic candles were lit producing a touching and beautiful monument entitled "the Candles of Memory" at the entrance to the Museum.
Behind the Museum, it is very different with examples of Soviet and German defensive fortifications consisting of ditches, trenches and hiding places for tanks. In the trenches are dugouts.
The Soviet trenches with a refurbished observation post.
The Museum area is as interesting and unusual as its interior exposition. This is a Museum of the new generation, the only of its kind in Russia. It was designed not only for the individual but also for accepting large numbers of visitors.
First Hall. This section displays the history of Prokhorovka district in the run-up to the war. The exhibits show the features of the initial period of the Great Patriotic War, which determined the fair nature of war by the Soviet Union and as a result triggered deep patriotic feelings. The displays show the rapid and tragic transition from civilian to military life. The film "Invasion" shows the extent and viciousness of armed confrontation.
These exhibits showcase the defensive battles of the Red Army between 1941 and 1942 and testify to the tragic events of the initial period of the Great Patriotic War and how the heroic resistance derailed German plans. A special place in the exhibition is devoted to the "occupation regime"theme. Exhibits reveal the darkest pages in the history of Prokhorovka district and cover the main areas of the invaders policy of indiscriminate shooting, hijacking of the population to Germany and the burning of prisoners of war.
Shown also is the fortitude of rural workers, particularly women who had replaced the men who had gone to the front line.
The display also reveals the atmosphere of life on the front line in between the fighting. Long "letters home" highlight the origins of conserving physical and spiritual strength for soldiers of the Red Army.
Second Hall. The theme of this part of the Museum is the Kursk Battle and the fighting between the fifth and eleventh of July.
The exhibition features replicas of various military equipment and weapons.
The first unit to engage on the ground was the 5th Guards armoured Corps. Personal belongings are on display in the window of Corps Commander Bagdasarov, twice hero of the Soviet Union.
In the Battle of Prokhorovka 11 July especially notable was 2nd tank Corps Sergeant Mikhail Borisov who destroyed 7 tanks with his anti tank weapon. Borisov is forever remembered and honoured in Prokhorovka as a Hero of the Soviet Union.
The 183rd rifle Division played a special role in the history of Prokhorovka. In 1943, the Division liberated the village and soldiers built fortifications and were held in reserve. Personal belongings of the fighting participants at the Battle of Prokhorovka are on display.
In a display case devoted to 5th Guards army, under the command of Lieutenant General Zhadov, there are awards and personal belongings of the officers and soldiers. Sentimental objects connected with the name of M. Rokhlina and her husband Igor Rokhlin are displayed. Further information is available on the computer display installed in the Hall.
Third Hall. On July 12, the 5th Guards tank army entered the battle. General Rotmistrov’s headquarters complete with genuine furniture is exhibited for the first time. There are also personal belongings of Army Commander P. Rotmistrov on display.
Showing the working of various groups with the coordination of gunners, tanks, mortar crews and scouts.
Maps of war with a step by step representation of progress by advancing troops. These reconstructions and spatial compositions complement and reinforce the exhibition complex.
Showcase dedicated to the fighting of tank Corps of the 5th Guards tank army including the personal belongings of the heroes of the battle.
The fighting on the Psel bridgehead reveals the phenomenon of the Red Army, as the people's army representing different nations and nationalities. The platoon of Lieutenant Shpetnoy, Hero of the Soviet Union, consisted of soldiers of different nationalities. At the cost of their lives, they stopped the Germans.
An invaluable contribution to the victory over fascism was contributed by Soviet women. Signalers and pilots, cooks and librarians,they all stood in place on an equal footing with men.
Separately in the display case is the montage "In the Hospital"
Fourth Hall. This Exposition Hall reflects on the meaning of the Prokhorovka Battle and the fate of its participants. In the center of the Hall is the legendary T-34 tank which is of continuing interest to visitors. The room contains personal belongings of participants of the Prokhorovka Battle who have achieved outstanding success in various fields of science, engineering, manufacturing, military art.
Fifth Hall. The theme is"The victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War".
1941 The Battle of Moscow.
In the summer of 1942, the enemy launched a powerful new offensive. There was a great battle in and around Stalingrad.
In the year 1943 the Kursk Battle spread out to the outskirts of Prokhorovka.
In 1944, the Red Army completely liberated Belarus and the Baltic States.
Between 16th April and May 8th in 1945 the Berlin strategic offensive operation by the Red Army completely defeated Nazi Germany.
In the lobby of the first floor there is a decorative moving track entitled the "War Machine", which works in context with the projected scenario.
On the first floor there are displays about the history of the region. The items on display in the exhibition reflect the main stages of the 7 century BC up to the 21 century. The historical past appears in a series of major events and phenomena.
Slowly since ancient times our land became inhabited. At various times it was inhabited by various tribes. The theme of "protecting the homeland" is revealed through remaining features in a scale model of 1: 200 indicating the layout of the city wall and towers. Belgorod region is one of the most unique areas of the Central black soil region. Here we also find the sources of the major rivers of Central Russia-Dnieper and Don.
The area’s prevailing climatic conditions produce a mixed biodiversity of both forest and steppe species.
Based on the natural conditions of the climate and natural resources rural handicrafts have developed. These include the traditional economic and survival activities of hunting, fishing, bee-keeping, manufacturing tools, pottery and weaving.
The display covers the diverse types of people inhabiting our land including peasants, merchants and the nobility.
All the beauty and diversity of life in the late 19th century shown in a single montage.
The beginning of the 20th century was a time of change with revolutionary turmoil, wars and working life.
A redevelopment district shown with complexes of achievements in agriculture, culture, sports, education, and preservation of military-patriotic traditions.
The display to N.Ryzhkov, honorary citizen of Belgorod region and Prokhorovka district. Nikolai Ryzhkov our contemporary, is an outstanding man who follows a worthy path and in the period from 1985 to 1990 year headed the Government of the Soviet Union.
His brainchild of the last 18 years has been the creation and development of the Prokhorovka Museum, where he is Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
The Museum has technically advanced training-education classes at 24 locations where there are quizzes and team games. The museum stores collections from the past and present numbering about 20000 items. Photographs, documents, posters, leaflets, awards, and other relics tell of the people who have left their bright mark on history.
Information for visitors.
The Military Museum of the third battlefield in Russia is a major military, cultural and educational institution in the Prokhorovka district. Since its opening, the Museum has become a particularly popular destination for Prokhorovians and guests of the village. These include the holding of regional events and is one of the most famous destinations of Belgorod region. In addition to visits, there is a wide range of cultural and educational, military and patriotic events, including exhibitions, presentations, seminars, evenings and memorable films. To do this the Museum has sufficient capacity for large numbers. This is one of the first of the new generation of Russian Museums. Here for the first time new informative and organizational technologies have been introduced. On the ground floor there is a 90 seat cinema. Organisational support is provided for events including video and audio engineering. The Museum has a research library.
To perpetuate the memory of the defenders of the Homeland, who died on the battlefield, an electronic Prokhorovka Memorial book has been created. Information on the deceased is available for both private individuals and organizations. The Museum has sufficient facilities to provide for people with disabilities, including wheelchair users.
In the learning section is a selected city management section of Belgorod on a scale of scale 1: 300000 with provision for 20 people. This area is devoted to military history and photo correspondents of Belgorod region.
The creators were the scientific employees of the Prohorovka Museum , the Mill Museum and the art exhibition of St.Petersburg (Director E. Mikhailova, leading artists Nalyvayko, Pazgalev, Alyushina).