The idea to create the monument was moored before the war had even ended, although the construction didn't start until 1974. Numerous competitions took place before the construction started even as far as 1942 in besieged Leningrad. Even in the hardest blockade days of cold, starvation, artillery attacks and bombings, the citizens believed in victory and didn't stop thinking of the future.
Since the late 1950s a grandiose memorial complex called the Green Ring of Glory, was created. It brought together a range of monuments to military people and citizens to whose heroic efforts the city owes its survival. The Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad became the central object of the complex. Its exact location was long under discussion. Srednyaya Rogatka Square, situated on the junction of two thoroughfares, leading to Kiev and Moscow, was only 9 km away fr om the front line. In 1941 this was fr om where the citizens of Leningrad left for the war. In January 1944 the final offensive of the Leningrad front, which ended with the lifting of the siege, started close by. In the summer of 1945 a temporary triumphal arch to honor the victory was erected on Srednyaya Rogatka Square, where the Soviet soldiers entered the city as they returned from the war. It was decided that the memorial was to be built in this symbolic place. In 1964 Srednyaya Rogatka Square was renamed Pobedy (Victory) Square.
The memorial was designed by the People's Artists of the Soviet Union, Valentin Kamensky, Sergey Speransky and Mikhail Anikushin. All of them took part in the defence of Leningrad. The construction began in 1974. The ground-based part of the monument, built in record-breaking time, was inaugurated on 9th May 1975 to mark the 30th anniversary of Victory in World War II. The underground Memorial hall, housing a documentary and artistic display dedicated to the siege and defence of Leningrad, was opened on 23rd February 1978.
The monument was created owing to united efforts of the entire nation. Volunteers from Leningrad and other cities took part in its construction. A special bank account was opened for voluntary donations.
The ground-based part of the monument consists of a 48-metre granite obelisk, “The Victors' Square” and an open-air memorial hall “Blockade”.
The obelisk symbolises the triumph of the victory in one of the deadliest and most destructive wars in the history of the mankind. A group sculpture around the base of the monument – a worker and a soldier, tells about the unity of the people and the army in the struggle against the enemy. Obelisk is the link between the “Victors' Square” and “Blokade” memorial hall. Broad stairs flanking the base of the obelisk lead to the hall. Broken lines of the walls are associated with destructive chaos of war. According to the authors' idea, the surface of the walls imitates the texture of the wooden defence installations. 26 Bronze sculptures representing the Defenders of Leningrad are fixed on granite pylons facing the Pulkovo Heights, wh ere the front line was located.
The “Blockade” hall is encircled in the 124-meter broken granite ring with laconic inscriptions “900 days” and “900 nights”. Sounds of classical music and the eternal flame create a suitably solemn and somber atmosphere.
Every year the Monument hosts flower-laying ceremonies, wh ere the Residents of Blokaded Leningrad, the Veterans of the Second World War and other citizens of St. Petersburg take part. The ceremonies are held on Victory day (May 9th ), Day of the End of the Siege of Leningrad (January 27th ), Day of the Start of the War (June 22nd) and on Defender of the Fatherland Day (February 23rd).