Formerly known as Stalingrad or Tsaritsyn, Volgograd is situated on the west bank of the Volga River in the Volgograd Oblast. The town was founded when the fortress of Tsartisyn was built in 1589. The fortress was established to help defend the southern border of tsarist Russia but soon became a trading settlement. Though Volgograd?s history was somewhat turbulent, it soon became a great city. It became very industrialized under the rule of Stalin, and became the site of the costliest battle in the history of mankind ? the Battle of Stalingrad. Unfortunately much of the city was destroyed in this battle, but it was quickly reconstructed. Many of the attractions to be seen in Volgograd are in memory of the lives lost and the bravery of those people who repelled the invading German forces and possibly changed the history of the world.