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Roderick and Richard Tyrrell. Ireland-Dublin, 11.06.2019 00:00:00

Very happy with our 3 day tour. Don't looking anywhere else. This is THE one!

I went with my son on this trip of a lifetime for WW2 history buffs, to where WW2 was really won, ironically on the around 6 June when all the hoopla was on about D-day etc, Mikhail showed a detailed and accurate knowledge of the history. He brought us to places that were only pictures and names in books before that. It was moving to stand on the wind swept Steppes and look down in the freshly plowed soil and see spent ammunition and shrapnel, bits of boot and helmets etc. We left our pickings in Russia out of respect inspired by Mikhail who showed great respect at all the places we visited to the dead. You will visit unique spots and see what ordinary tourists will never see, granade shrapnel marks and bullet holes on the entrance roofs of original buildings.

Insist Mikhail tells you his personal family connections with the Battle for Stalingrad. What a story and all true.

The best travel company I have ever been with

My father and I did the 3-day Stalingrad Battlefield tour at the start of June. I could not recommend this tour company enough. 

We had a fantastic trip from start to finish, our guide Mikhail was spectacular, he really went above and beyond with every aspect of the tour and it was a pleasure to spend 3 days with him. On top of this, his knowledge of the battle of Stalingrad was second to none, not only that he was extremely passionate about the topic and could easily answer any questions we had (and we had a lot of them). 

Russia is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to, it defied all expectations we had of the place. Do not be afraid to come here, especially to Volgograd, I felt safe and secure throughout the duration of our trip.

Date of experience: June 2019

Knut Sandsmark's Party. Norway-Oslo, 04.07.2019 00:00:00

"En episk og viktig reise" - Knut Sandsmark

Min andre tur med Mikhail og Volgograd Sputnik Travel Company, jeg måtte vise dette til min sønn. Mikhail gir oss et dypt innblikk i hva som skjedde i de dramatiske månedene som ble 2 verdenskrigs vendepunkt. Vi får et objektivt innblikk. I tillegg til lange interessante turer på dagtid får vi også anledning til å oppleve Volgograd som er en veldig hyggelig by, med stor gjestfrihet. Det blir veldig vanskelig å gi et inntrykk av hvor fantastisk dette er ...og viktig. Dette burde ha vært obligatorisk for kommende generasjoner. God tur!

"Fantastisk reise til en av de viktigste byene i moderne historie!" - Erik Knutssønn Espeland

Etter ankomsten på den historiske flyplassen Gomrak klokken 0200 ble vi hentet av guiden vår Mikhail som kjørte oss til hotellet vårt. Hotellet hadde sterkt preg av dens sosialistiske bakgrunn, og hadde imøtekommende ansatte. Kombiner dette med dens meget sentrale plassering så blir det et veldig sentralt oppholdsted mens du utforsker byen. Vi møtte Mikhail 0900 den første dagen hvor han viste oss blant annet kjelleren hvor Von Paulus og den 6. Arme overga seg og «Motherland Calls» statuen, som overgikk en hver forventning. Den første guiden varte til ca klokken 1830 og skapte et bra grunnlag for resten av turen! 

Dag 2 startet også klokken 0900, men her reiste vi ut til Red October og traktor fabrikken som ligger litt utenfor sentrum. Senere reiste vi videre til utkanten av byen hvor vi fikk se den beryktede «Island of Fire». Dag tre tok oss langt ut av byen, hvor vi blant annet fikk sett stedet hvor den 6. Arme ble omringet i tillegg til å kunne besøke Von Paules sitt HQ og sitte på sengen han benyttet seg av før han fløy inn på Gomrak. Jeg anbefaler denne bedriften på det sterkeste, og er en tur enhver andre verdenskrig entusiast må ta!

"Helt Fantastisk 4 dagers tur til Volgograd med 2 voksne sønner" - Morten Landgraff

I Januar 2019 ble jeg spurt av min goden venn, om jeg ville være med på tur til Volgograd (Stalingrad) ..., Jeg er interessert i historie, men ikke spesiellt krigsinteressert, men tenkte at dette kunne bli en fin tur, med våre to voksne sønner før de skal inn i militær tjeneste.

Helt fra starten 26 Juni, hvor Mikhail tok oss imot på flyplassen, til avreise den 30 Juni, har denne turen vær et helt Fantastisk Eventyr, med action fra start - slutt.

1. Dag fikk vi full guiding av Mikhail i Volgograd by, over monumenter, viktige krigshendelser, både på museumer og ute i feltet. Vi var heldige og fikk med oss vaktbytter, og døping av nye militær rekrutter ved Avenue of Lombardy poplars. På slutten av dagen var vi på et av de beste museumene jeg har vært på, ved Pavlov's House.

Dag 2 og 3 fortsatte turen til nærområder i Volgograd, og i utkanten av Volgograd, hvor vi traff flere lokale bilmekanikere, håndverkere, m.m. og Mikhail stiller alltid opp på direkten og oversetter / hjelper til, uansett hva vi ønsker, og når på døgnet. En helt fantastisk vert for oss.
Turen dag 3 ble avsluttet med en båttur ved Volga, med flott utsikt over the Red October factory, badestrendene ved elven volga (som vi ikke rakk å prøve), og vi var heldige og hadde flott fint vær.

Stor bonus på turen var besøk til Russlands militærdag for sivile, hvor vi fikk inspisert et 100 talls nye tanks, amfibier og helikoptre til alle mulige formål. Dog ble vi litt uglesett, når én skjønte vi var nordmenn..

Forøvrig var Volgograd en mye penere by en jeg så for meg, og Hotellet var topp klasse, veldig mye for pengene.

Jeg gleder meg allerede til å dra tilbake i 2021, og mener klart at dette er en MUST tur for alle nordmenn, så en forstår hvorfor Russere fortsatt frykter Tyskland, som tok liv av 27 millioner Russere, og at vi i Norge har lite å frykte fra vårt store naboland.

"Stalingrad Tours" - Tobias Landgraff

Fantastisk tur med en utrolig kunnskapsrik guide over de 4 dagene vi tilbragte der. Opplegget er relativt intensivt, men desto mer lærer man og feste mer får man opplevd ila oppholdet. Kan sterkt anbefales for alle som interesserer seg for andre verdenskrig uavhengig av kunnskapsnivå! Ila turen ble vi tatt med til minnesmerket som inkluderer statuen «The Motherland Calls», bunkeren hvor feltmarskalk Paulus overga seg, Røde oktober fabrikk, Stalingrad traktorfabrikk, utallige massegraver og minnesmerker med mer. Man får også muligheten til å dra ut på steppene for å finne spor etter krigen i form av hylser, kuler, hjelmer osv. I tillegg til å se på ting som direkte angår krigen får man også kikke på kirker, museer og andre steder hvor man kan lære om Russland. Som sagt tidligere er guidene svært erfarne lokale historikere og kan svare på alle spørsmål om byen. Når det kommer til å oppleve Russland var turen også overlegen det meste andre jeg har opplevd på andre reiser. Vi fikk møte lokalbefolkningen, se på steder man kan regne med at det har vært få turister, og som en helhet får man en fullstendig autentisk opplevelse av Russland man ikke nødvendigvis får på andre typer guidede reiser. Alt i alt var turen perfekt for å lære mer om krigen, om Russland og for å kunne oppleve et land uten å oppleve at alle oppfører seg som servicefolk fordi man er turist. En mer autentisk opplevelse skal man lete lenge etter, i aller største grad takket være den fantastiske jobben guiden gjøre ila turen som støtte og veileder!

Date of experience: June 2019

Rainer Rossmueller. Germany, 12.07.2019 00:00:00

Endlich wissen was passiert ist

Unser Opa ist in den Kämpfen vor Stalingrad im November 1942 gefallen und alles was wir an Information hatten, war eine vage Angabe über den Ort der Grabstätte und den Todestag.

Dank Mikhail und seinem Team mit Anna und Sergej haben wir viel über damals erfahren, wie schlimm es war und die Stelle in der Steppe gefunden, wo es passiert ist und er begraben wurde. Heute ist es dort so friedlich, überall liegt ein Hauch von Kamille in der Luft und von der Anhöhe sieht man eine Stadt Volgograd, die Gott sei Dank das Bild des Krieges hinter sich gelassen hat. Würde man nicht überall die Löcher der Trophäen Sammler im Boden sehen, die leider auch vor Gräbern nicht halt machen und den Toten ihre Plaketten oder Gürtelschnallen nehmen, um diese dann im Internet zu verkaufen, dann wäre es ein schöner Ort.

Wir sind sehr dankbar für die Momente, Orte aber auch die menschliche und christliche Nähe, die wir erfahren durften. Auch möchten wir Andrej danken, der den Friedhof in Rossoshka leitet und uns weitere Informationen geben konnte.

Ohne Mikhail und seinem Team, wäre unsere Reise nicht möglich gewesen und wir können seine Agentur jedem mit ähnlichen Reiseziel sehr weiter empfehlen.

Date of experience: June 2019

Kjetil & Thomas Risa. Norway-Oslo, 21.07.2019 00:00:00

Profesjonelle og kunnskapsrike

Jeg kan varmt anbefale Volgograd Sputnik Travel Company. Vi bestilte 2 dagers guida tour. samt besøk på den berømte korn heisen litt sørvest.

Første dagen var vi innom korn heisen, dette var en fantastisk opplevelse. hvor vi startet i kjeller sjakten som fører korn til videre transport mot Volga elven, for så og gå gjennom mesteparten av bygningen. etter en stund endte vi opp på taket som gir et veldig bra perspektiv over den sørlige delen av byen.

Den andre dagen var den første av 2 dagers touren du kan booke gjennom nettsiden. her gikk vi endel rundt om i byen, hvor vi fikk se flere minnemerker, var innom museum og hadde et flott måltid. Etter gikk turen videre til Mamayev Kurgan, hvor blandt annet den ikoniske "The Motherland Calls" monumentet holder til.
Vi avsluttet dagen guida tour da vi tok turen tilbake til sentrum for og besøke Volgorads Panorama museum, her står ingenting på engelsk. men du kan få audio guide som forklarer det meste, her annbefaler jeg google translate appen som kan oversette tekst med bruk av kameraet i tellefonen din. dette museumet er veldig flott, moderne og har bra utstillinger. Navnet på museumet vil virkelig gi mening i øverste etasje.

Men vi var ikke helt ferdige, vår guide Mikhail inviterte oss til 78 års minnestunden for invasjonen av Sovjetunionen som fant sted ved ". og dette viste seg og vere en nydelig sermoni med over 6000 russiske tjenestemenn, alt fra aspiranter til generaler. Dette gjorde stort intrykk for hvor stolte og patriotiske russerene er når det kommer til sin historie, og det har de god grunn til og.

det skal og merkes at minnestunden ikke var en del av hva vi booket eller betalte for, og var kun et vennlig gest fra vår guide, som inviterte oss tidligere på dagen.

Dag tre var vår siste dag med guida tour. her besøkte vi så mange monument og minnemerker at det blir vanskelig og nevne alle, men vi startet med en kjøreturen gjennom indrustri området hvor traktorfabrikken hvor T-34 tanksene ble produsert og Red October Factory, her fikk vi litt intresang infomasjon om når andre vest europeiske land en Tyskland hadde gjort sine merker på det industrielle området.

Senere på dagen reiste vi et godt stykke ut fra byen hvor tyskerene holdt til, og besøkte blandt annet en gammel kirke som tyskerene brukte som sykehus under krigen. Ettepå reiste vi til en sovjet og en tysk massegrav som var delt av hovudveien som passerer imellom massegravene, dette var gjorde et stort intrykk på meg personlig.

Etterpå avsluttet vi med en avslappende båt tur i Volga elven for så og bli sluppet av på hotellet.

Vi hadde ennå noen dager igjen i Volgograd, her var Mikhail behjelpelig med og annbefale resturanter osv. vi ble også invitert til kontoret hans hvor vi fikk se litt av hans personlige samling/funn fra krigen.

Annet som er verdt og nevne er at de var veldig behjelpelige når det kom til visum søkaden og visum invitasjonen. her svarte de kjapt og med godt formulert engelsk. Vi kjørte ned til Volgograd så det var kanskje litt mer informasjon og fylle inn men dette var ikke noe problem.

Vi valgte Hampton by Hilton da dette hadde innelukket parkeingsplass som var betryggende. dette var et veldig fint hotell, men personellet i resturanten og baren var veldig trege for og si det mildt. Neste gang jeg reiser til Volgograd hadde jeg gått for Hotel Volgograd. dette er så i sentrum så du får det. da Hampton by Hilton var litt utføre sentrum.

Noen siste tips og innspill generelt for Russland er, kjøp et kontant kort hos en mobil oppratør i Russland, vi fikk ubegrenset ringing og ubegrenset data for ca 60 NOK... Vi opplevde at engelsk kunnskapen er veldig begrenset i Volgograd, og til og med i Moskva. Dette var ikke et problem med guiden vårs, han snakket veldig bra engelsk

Date of experience: July 2019

Poh Yze Yang. Singapore, 27.07.2019 00:00:00

Join this tour if you come to Volgograd for Stalingrad battle

This is our first time in Russia, and my family decided to go to Volgograd to learn more about Stalingrad battle.

We have no regret joining the tour. First of all, most people in Volgograd can't speak English or very broken English. So it makes travel on my own quite difficult. Second, the tour provided private car and took us all the "must see" points. Last, but not the least, our tour guide  a nice elegant lady was very knowledgable amd enthusiatic about Stalingrad tour. She explained all the sites in detail. So the sites were not just photo point, but had meaningful message to us.

My suggestion:

1-day tour if you just have general interest in the battle. 2-days tour if you want a more in depth knowledge.

Date of experience: July 2019

Daniel M. Goldsmith & Andrea Zimmer. Los Alamitos, California-USA, 06.08.2019 00:00:00

Fascinating insights into an important historical city

If you are going to visit Russia, it is definitely worth your time to make it down to Volgograd. Sputnik Travel Company is the tour company to use for your visit. The guides are experts in the military history and significance of all the monuments and battle locations within the city as well as the heroic actions that took place by the defenders of the city during the Patriotic War.

It is amazing how many artifacts from both the German and Red Armies are still present in the vicinity of Pitomnik Airfield where the German 6th Army became trapped in the cauldron in 1942-43. My wife and I were very moved by the Rossoshka memorial cemetaries for both sides during the conflict and very impressed by the Mamayev Kurgan for which so many sacrifices were made.

For both the amateur and expert military historian as well as anyone else just wanting to understand a bit more about one of the most decisive engagements in the largest invasion in the history of warfare, this is a must see place. Sputnik travel company provides excellent guides that speak great english and provide additional insight that adds value to your trip.

You will leave with a much greater appreciation of how much of the final victory over Fascism during WWII came at the tremendous human cost for the Soviet Union and citizens from hero cities such as Volgograd. I highly recommend this tour and a visit to this city.

Date of experience: July 2019

Pablo Campos. Spain, 09.08.2019 00:00:00

Apasionante Tour por las Fábricas!

Estuvimos en Volgogrado cinco días. Intentamos ver el sector norte de las fábricas por nuestra cuenta, pero enseguida vimos que era imposible porque es una extensión de terreno kilométrica, en la que además hay muchísimas cosas que ver de tal forma que si las quieres conocer es obligatorio ir con un guía. Nos pusimos en contacto con Stalingrad Tours. Les pedimos que si era posible hacerlo en español y nos hicieron el favor. No obstante yo recomiendo pedir el guía en español con unas semanas de antelación para que esté disponible. Así pues al día siguiente nos recogieron en nuestro hotel nuestros guías Mikhail y Margarita. Desde el primer momento son muy amables con nosotros y nos hacen sentir muy a gusto, con total comodidad. Estábamos muy emocionados, por fin íbamos a ver el sector de las fábricas de la antigua Stalingrado, una de las zonas clave para entender la batalla. En lo que nos dirigimos a la primera fabrica, Octubre Rojo, nos fueron enseñando en el coche algunos puntos emblemáticos de la ciudad y nos fueron contando algunas anécdotas de la batalla. Así pues llegamos a Octubre Rojo,nos bajamos del coche y visitamos la fabrica y el exterior por cerca de media hora. Después fuimos a Barricady, que visitamos de manera exhaustiva por cerca de dos horas, adentrándonos en los sótanos de la fabrica, visitando varios talleres antiguos, ruinas de puestos de mando, acantilados del Volga, etc. Fue maravilloso! y para terminar la fabrica de tractores. INOLVIDABLE. GRACIAS!

Date of experience: July 2019

Shawn and Stacey Miller. USA, 10.08.2019 00:00:00

Tour of a life time and an absolute must!

This was our son’s dream high school graduation trip. The one place in the whole world he wanted to go to was Volgograd and see the sights of the Battle of Stalingrad (Great Patriotic War). There were four of us -myself, my wife, our 21 year old daughter and 18 year old son. We signed up for the 3 day tour and couldn’t have been more blown away. It was truly an amazing insight into the Battle. From the first email we sent to contact Mikhail to actually meeting him at our Volgograd hotel couldn’t have gone smoother. We didn’t do it, but I would suggest using Mikhail to do all your ground work in Volgograd (help with visa and hotel). Mikhail was prompt every morning he came to our hotel to pick us up. His car was roomy and comfortable. And he went beyond the time frame that was stated on our itinerary to show us his home town.

This was not just a tour of the sights of the Battle of Stalingrad it was a man showing us the Battle that fell on his city almost 80 years ago. He breathed life into his retelling of the events and stories he has learned over the years. It was like sitting on your grandfather’s knee and him telling you about his life during a horrific and brave period of time. You can sense the passion and respect Mikhail has for the history of his people. You can feel the suffering and tragedy the people struggled through as you see the places these events actually happed at.

The way in which Mikhail has designed the tour helps you see how the battle progressed, who were the key player, and where did the fighting happen at. Mikhail is able to immerse you into his retailing of the Battle and see the events through the eyes of the people who were there.

Mikhail is also very personable. He gets to know you and finds things out that interest you that are outside of the scope of this tour. He found out that our daughter loved dogs and took us to a memorial to the dogs who served in the Battle. He also knew we were looking for chocolate and took us to his cities’ historic chocolate shop and told us about its significance. 

We could not recommend this tour and Mikhail more highly. Well worth the effort to get to Volgograd and the cost.

Date of experience: July 2019

Matthew Hibbs. UK/UAE, 17.08.2019 00:00:00

A once in a lifetime trip

For anyone interested in the battle of Stalingrad then this is the tour for you. The tour is worth every cent and you are absorbed into the history of the town and battle as soon as the tour begins. Mikhail built the tour around the time I had in Volgograd to cover the parts of the battle that I wanted to see. There is so much to see and Mikhail fills in the gaps with historic facts and eyewitness accounts. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Date of experience: August 2019

Paul KIernan, UK-London, 04.09.2019 00:00:00

Another Great Stalingrad Tour 

This was my 4th Stalingrad Tour, all with Volgograd Sputnik Travel Company and all with Mikhail Shuvarikov as guide. This was a completely bespoke tour with Mikhail taking me to a number of specific areas I wanted to see, along with a couple of surprises!

On the first day with visited Mamayev Kurgan, which I had seen many times, but this time we wandered off the beaten track and saw the Western slopes, an old German Pillbox on the Summit and an old fresh water spring which is referenced in several books on the battle. On the way home we popped in to the Planetarium where we were able to see the Stalin Mosaic (now uncovered after Kruschev had originally ordered it covered over).

On the second day we first visited the Red October factory which is being renovated and looked very different on the outside. Where the works are taking place we were able to see original walls and foundations from old buildings. To my great surprise Mikhail was able to organise a tour of the Red October museum – normally closed to foreigners. This was partly by luck as he was able to contact the museum director who happened to be there and gave us a wonderful tour. I’d suggest giving plenty of notice if you wanted to do this. It is a terrific museum and well worth a visit if you are able to arrange it.

From there we moved north to visit the site of the western crossing point in this area for the 62nd Army. We then did a quick detour to the old Traktor Stalingrad football stadium which I had passed before and wanted to see. This is a post-war stadium but still interesting and worth a look.

We then moved off north again towards the Barrikady factory. Our plan here was to visit/revisit important locations from the battle for this area – covered in detail in Jason Mark’s excellent “Island of Fire”. We started off by visiting the site of the old Barrikady Fuel tanks, to the south-east of the factory, and from there went on to visit the (rebuilt) Kindergarten, the remains of the Komissarhaus. We think we also found some very limited remains of the Pharmacy (Apotheke). We then visited the Rolik Gully, where we saw the renovated memorial, the Transformer Hut (still operational) and the water pump. We went on to revisit the remains of Lyudnikov’s Observation post (The Red House/Rotes Haus), before visiting one of the Houses (possibly No 73) – repaired after the war and now an apartment block. Shell holes are still visible in some of the brickwork and the basement. 

All of this was done during roasting temperatures of 36 degrees, so we took a short break, driving over to the beach on the East side of the Volga, where we had a welcome swim in the Volga and a nice cold beer! From here, staying on the east side, we went through Krasnysloboda to the memorial at the eastern crossing point for the 62nd Army, before crossing back to see the new memorial site at the location of Rodimtsev’s HQ (having been able to see Rodintsev’s wall from the East bank). To finish the day, Mikhail kindly drove to “Coventry Street” which I had never managed to find on my previous visits (it is close to the Chuikov memorial).

On the third day we headed to the River Don, to witness the closing ceremony of the annual excavations, where volunteers from all over the Russian Federation dig to find missing soldiers remains. On the way we stopped at two memorials. The first was to a Soviet tank crew who were deliberately burned alive in their tank by the Nazis. The second was at the site of a POW camp at Vertyachiy. We also found time for a swim in the River Don before moving on to find the Excavation team. I had previously been on the Excavations near Kuzmichi, so was aware how hard these teams work. Here we saw the presentations to the searchers, and then the moving closing ceremony which includes a blessing by a Russian Orthodox speech (respected by the volunteers of many faiths including Muslims and Buddhists), and a torch-lit end to the proceedings. Local government representatives were present and the event was covered by Regional TV.

On the fourth day, at my request Mikhail had arranged for us to visit a local shooting range where we were able to some modern guns but most importantly the famous PPSH-41. After that we took an impromptu river trip on the Volga. We went in a speed-boat, more expensive than the pleasure boats, but the boat goes right up to the hydro-electric dam. The pleasure boats turn around at the Motherland Calls statue, so the extra distance we covered allowed us to see the Factory District from the river (the Rolik Gully area was very clear). In hindsight I wish we had asked Mikhail to arrange this, as he could explain to the driver to slow down at important sights. Still a great trip – but if you do it get Mikhail to arrange it would be my advice.

To round off the day, we revisited the Univermag museum, which now included a (very load!) video presentation.
A fantastic trip, covering everything I wanted to see and more! I can’t recommend Mikhail and his company enough. When I (inevitably!) go back it will be with Mikhail as my guide again. Great bloke and a great guide.

Date of experience: August 2019