Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

Nizhny Novgorod (Russian: Нижний Новгород, map) is the fifth largest city in Russia behind Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg. Located in the Volga-Vyatka economic region, it is the administrative capital of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. The city covers 410 sq km (158 sq mi) and has a population of 1.25 million people.

More on Nizhny Novgorod

During the Soviet era, from 1932 until 1990, Nizhny Novgorod was known as Gorky (), in honor of Alexei Maximovich Peshkov, better known as Maxim Gorky), a Socialist author and political activist. The fall of Communism made socialist thinking out of style, and Gorky out of fashion, hence the reinstatement of the city’s original name.

Pechersky Monastery, comprising the Church of St Venerable Euthimios of Suzdal (1645, right), the Ascension Cathedral (1630-32, center), and the cathedral belfry (left), Nizhny Novgorod
Pechersky Monastery, comprising the Church of St Venerable Euthimios of Suzdal (1645, right),
the Ascension Cathedral (1630-32, center), and the cathedral belfry (left), Nizhny Novgorod

Author: Vmenkov (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

Today Nizhny Novgorod is one of the main IT hubs of Russia. It is the leading city in terms of research and development in software and a provider to major telecommunication suppliers. Among the many IT companies with R&D; centers in Nizhny Novgorod include Intel.

Nizhny Novgorod traces its history to 1221, when a settlement was established at the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers. Its name means “lower new town”, to differentiate it to another earlier settlement, Velky Novgorod. The newly founded settlement managed to sidestep Mongol devastation, probably because it was too insignificant to matter.

State Bank Building, Nizhny Novgorod
State Bank Building, Nizhny Novgorod
Author: Bestalex (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

In 1350, the then powerful Suzdal Principality moved its seat to Nizhny Novgorod, providing a boost to its economy and growth. In 1392, it was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Moscow, and the local princes relocated there.

By the 19th century, Nizhny Novgorod has grown into a major Russian city. It hosts the Makaryev Fair in 1817, attracting visitors from all over Europe, and establishing itself as the trading capital of the Russian Empire. The city also benefited from advances made by Russian scientists based there. It had the world’s first hyperboloid tower and radio receiver.

Due to it being the center for Soviet military research, Nizhny Novgorod was out of bound to foreigners until the end of the socialist era.

Church of Our Lady of Smolensk (1697, left) and Church of Our Lady of Vladimir (right)
Church of Our Lady of Smolensk (1697, left) and Church of Our Lady of Vladimir (right)
Author: Vmenkov (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

Visiting Nizhny Novgorod

The Nizhny Novgorod International Airport (GOJ), also called Strigino Airport, is located 14 km to the southwest of downtown. It receives flights from Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan, Samara, Yekaterinburg, Frankfurt and

Dubai, among others. From the airport, you can take Bus 11 to the Park Kultury Metro Station, and then transfer to the subway for connection to the rest of the city. Bus 20 takes you to the Nizhny Novgorod Railway Station.

Alternative to taking a flight is to take a train from Moscow. The fastest train gets you to Nizhny Novgorod within 4 hours.

Sights & Attractions in Nizhny Novgorod

  1. Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin
    This is the citadel at the heart of the city, with its towers dating to the 16th century. Within the Kremlin are government buildings as well as major sights such as the 17th century Cathedral of the Archangel Micheal and the Nizhegorodsky State Art Museum.

  2. Anunciation Monastery
    13th century Russian Orthodox church, with its proliferation of onion domes and golden crosses.

  3. Assumption Church
    17th century church built of stone immitating wooden churches.

  4. Nevsky Cathedral
    An attractive church building on the west bank of the Oka River.

  5. Pechersky Monastery
    17th century monastery overlooking the Volga, with an Archaeological Museum recalling the Bolshevik repression of the church.

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