Where is M.I.Kutuzov's heart buried

On April 28, 1813, Field Marshal of the Russian Army Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov died in the small Prussian town of Bunzlau. During a trip abroad, the commander caught a cold, but continued to command the army. The body of 65-year-old Kutuzov did not cope with the rapidly progressing disease.

Emperor Alexander the First, who had time to say goodbye to the famous hero in the last hours of his life, ordered that Kutuzov's body be delivered to St. Petersburg and buried in the Kazan Cathedral. The path was not short, it took more than a month, and then the coffin stood for 18 days in the Trinity-Sergius Hermitage not far from St. Petersburg, in the capital they did not have time to prepare and arrange the burial place in a proper way. The funeral took place only on June 25th.

The grave of M.I. Kutuzov in the Kazan Cathedral

Soon there were rumors that the commander's heart was not buried in St. Petersburg, but in the cemetery next to Bunzlau. It was even reported that this was the will of Kutuzov himself, who bequeathed the body to be taken to Russia, and to bury his heart at the place of death, so that the Russian soldiers knew that his heart would always remain with them. Soon a mound with a fence and a modest pedestal appeared at the local cemetery.

For many years, everyone was sure that it was here that the heart of Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov rests, despite the fact that the original of the will could not be found. In 1913, when the centenary of the death of the field marshal was celebrated, the Russian Military Historical Society even took the initiative to return Kutuzov's heart to his homeland and bury it in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The project was never implemented, the First World War began.

They returned to this issue only during the years of Soviet power. In 1933, the head of the Leningrad Regional Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks Sergei Mironovich Kirov ordered the creation of a commission, the opening of the crypt in the Kazan Cathedral in order to finally make sure - where is the heart of Mikhail Kutuzov?

According to the memoirs of Boris Nikiforovich Sokratilin, who was a member of the commission, the coffin was opened, in it, next to Kutuzov's head, lay a metal vessel. Unscrewing the lid, the researchers saw the heart, well preserved in some kind of clear liquid. The vessel was closed again and returned to its place.

Where did the legend come from that the field marshal's heart was buried separately? Immediately after his death, Kutuzov's body was embalmed before the long journey to St. Petersburg. At the same time, the internal organs, except for the heart, are folded into a tin sarcophagus and buried at the place of death. This was probably the reason for the rumors.

During World War II, hundreds of Soviet soldiers were buried in the Bunzlau cemetery, now part of Poland. And in the center of the memorial there is a symbolic grave of Field Marshal M.I.Kutuzov.