The Soviet government prized Kursk for rich
deposits of iron ore and developed it into one of the major railroad
hubs in the Russian Southwest. During World War II, the village of
Prokhorovka near Kursk was the center of the Battle of Kursk, a major
engagement between Soviet and German forces which is widely believed by
historians to have been the largest tank battle in history and was the
last major German offensive mounted against the USSR.
The oldest building in
Kursk is the upper church of the Trinity Monastery, a good example of
the transition style characteristic for Peter the Great's early reign.
The oldest lay building is the so-called Romodanovsky Chamber, although
it was erected in all probability in the mid-18th century, when the
Romodanovsky family had ceased to exist.
The modern city is a home
for several universities: Medical University, University of Technology,
Kursk State University (former Pedagogical University) and Agricultural
Academy, as well as the private Regional Open Social Institute (ROSI).
There are also modern shrines and memorials commemorating the Battle of
Kursk, both in the city and in Prokhorovka.
The Command Station
Bunker & Museum was built specifically in memorial of the
courageous Russian T-34 tank units that fought in the Battle of Kursk,
where a T-34 tank is on display. Over 6,000 armored vehicles fought in
close range over the open territory near Kursk in 1943. This battle
stopped the German advance into the Kursk Salient, and was a turning
point in WWII on the Eastern Front.
Kursk played a role in the Cold War as host to Khalino air
Tsentralno-Chernozemny Zapovednik, a large section of steppe soil that
has never been plowed. It is used for a variety of research purposes.