Novgorod is the one of the largest cities along a Volga river
(longest in Europe) in
the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast in Russia. In the Soviet times it was
briefly renamed to Gorky since it was home to famous Russian
writer Maxim Gorky who was born here. Nizhny Novgorod is located
in the center of the East European Plain at the confluence of the
Oka and Volga. River Oka divides the city into two parts: the upland
one - the upper one, on the Dyatlovy mountains, and the river bank -
the lower one, on its left lowland coast.
In 1500 - 1515 a
stone Kremlin (Castle) was built, which was not taken even once in
the whole history. Under its walls in 1612, the district warden
Kuzma Minin raised funds and, together with Prince Pozharsky,
organized a people's militia to liberate Moscow from the Poles.
Since 1817, with the transfer to the city of the Makaryevsky fair,
which was previously located near the Zheltovodsky Makariyev
Monastery, it has become one of the largest shopping centers in
Russia. In 1896, the All-Russian Art and Industrial Exhibition took
place in the city, giving development to the Russian tram. During
the Soviet industrialization of the 1930s, large machine-building
enterprises were built, including the largest auto giant, the Gorky
Automobile Plant (GAZ). During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945,
the city was the largest supplier of military equipment, by virtue
of which it was subjected to bombardment, the most powerful in the
entire Middle Volga region. After the war, the city was awarded the
Order of Lenin. November 20, 1985 in the city was launched the first
section of the metro. This is the third largest metropolitan in
Russia and the tenth in the former USSR.
Originally the name was just Novgorod ("Newtown"), but to
distinguish it from the other, older and well-known Novgorod to the
west, the city was commonly called "Novgorod of the Lower lands".
This land was named "lower" because it is situated downstream,
especially from the point of view of other Russian cities such as
Moscow, Vladimir and Murom. Later it was transformed into the
contemporary name of the city that literally means "Lower Newtown".
Seat of medieval princes The city traces its origin from a
small Russian wooden hillfort that was founded by Grand Duke Yuri II
in 1221 at the confluence of two of the most important rivers in his
principality, the Volga and Oka rivers. Its independent existence
was threatened by the continuous Mordvin attacks against it; the
major attempt made by forces under Purgaz in April 1229 was
repulsed, but after the death of Yuri II on March 4, 1238 at the
Battle of the Sit River, the Mongols occupied the fortress. Later a
major stronghold for border protection, Nizhny Novgorod fortress
took advantage of a natural moat formed by the two rivers.
Along with Moscow and Tver, Nizhny Novgorod was among several newly
founded towns that escaped Mongol devastation on account of their
insignificance, but grew into (great) centers in vassalic Russian
political life during the period of the Tatar Yoke. With the
agreement of the Mongol Khan, Nizhny Novgorod was incorporated into
the Vladimir-Suzdal Principality in 1264. After 86 years its
importance further increased when the seat of the powerful Suzdal
Principality was moved here from Gorodets in 1350. Grand Duke Dmitry
Konstantinovich (1323–1383) sought to make his capital a rival
worthy of Moscow; he built a stone citadel and several churches and
was a patron of historians. The earliest extant manuscript of the
Russian Primary Chronicle, the Laurentian Codex, was written for him
by the local monk Laurentius in 1377.
Strongest fortress of
the Grand Duchy of Moscow After the city's incorporation into the
Grand Duchy of Moscow in 1392, the local princes took the name
Shuisky and settled in Moscow, where they were prominent at the
court and briefly ascended the throne in the person of Vasily IV.
After being burnt by the powerful Crimean Tatar chief Edigu in 1408,
Nizhny Novgorod was restored and regarded by the Muscovites
primarily as a great stronghold in their wars against the Tatars of
Kazan. The enormous red-brick kremlin, one of the strongest and
earliest preserved citadels in Russia, was built in 1508–1511 under
the supervision of Peter the Italian. The fortress was strong enough
to withstand Tatar sieges in 1520 and 1536.
In 1612, the
so-called "national militia", gathered by a local merchant, Kuzma
Minin, and commanded by Knyaz Dmitry Pozharsky expelled the Polish
troops from Moscow, thus putting an end to the "Time of Troubles"
and establishing the rule of the Romanov dynasty. The main square in
front of the Kremlin is named after Minin and Pozharsky, although it
is locally known simply as Minin Square. Minin's remains are buried
in the citadel. (In commemoration of these events, on October 21,
2005, an exact copy of the Red Square statue of Minin and Pozharsky
was placed in front of St John the Baptist Church, which is believed
to be the place from where the call to the people had been
In the course of the following century, the city
prospered commercially and was chosen by the Stroganovs (the
wealthiest merchant family of Russia) as a base for their
operations. A particular style of architecture and icon painting,
known as the Stroganov style, developed there at the turn of the
17th and 18th centuries.
The historical coat of arms of
Nizhny Novgorod in 1781 was a red deer with black horns and hooves
on a white field. The modern coat of arms from 2006 is the same,
with a ribbon of order of Lenin and gold crown from above.
Great trade center In 1817, the Makaryev Fair, one of the
liveliest in the world, was transferred to Nizhny Novgorod, and
started to attract millions of visitors annually. By the mid-19th
century, the city was firmly established as the trade capital of the
Russian Empire. The world's first radio receiver by engineer
Alexander Popov and the world's first hyperboloid tower and lattice
shell-coverings by engineer Vladimir Shukhov were demonstrated at
the All-Russia industrial and art exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod in
1896. According to official Imperial Russian statistics the
population of Nizhny Novgorod as of 14 January 1913 was 97,000.
The largest industrial enterprise was the Sormovo Iron Works which
was connected by the company's own railway to Moscow station in the
Lower Area of Nizhny Novgorod. The private Moscow to Kazan Railway
Company's station was in the Upper Area of the city. Other
industries gradually developed, and by the start of the 20th century
the city was also a first-rank industrial hub. Henry Ford helped
build a large truck and tractor plant (GAZ) in the late 1920s,
sending engineers and mechanics, including future labour leader
Soviet era There were no permanent bridges
over the Volga or Oka before the October Revolution in 1917.
Temporary bridges were built during the trade fair. The first bridge
over the Volga was started by the Moscow–Kazan Railway Company in
1914, but only finished in the Soviet Era when the railway to
Kotelnich was opened for service in 1927.
Maxim Gorky was
born in Nizhny Novgorod in 1868 as Alexey Maximovich Peshkov. In his
novels he described the dismal life of the city proletariat. When he
returned to the Soviet Union in 1932 on the invitation of Joseph
Stalin, the city was renamed Gorky. The city bore Gorky's name until
1990. His childhood home is preserved as a museum, known as the
Kashirin House, after Alexey's grandfather who owned the place.
During the World War II, from 1941 to 1943, Gorky was subjected
to air raids and bombardments by Germany. The Germans tried to
destroy the city industry because it was the main supplier of
military equipment to the front. These attacks became the most
powerful in the entire World War II in the rear of the Soviet Union.
During much of the Soviet era, the city was closed to foreigners
to safeguard the security of Soviet military research and production
facilities, even though it was a popular stopping point for Soviet
tourists traveling up and down the Volga in tourist boats. Unusually
for a Soviet city of that size, even street maps were not available
for sale until the mid-1970s. In 1970, by the Decree of the
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the city was awarded
the Order of Lenin. Mátyás Rákosi, communist leader of Hungary, died
there in 1971. November 20, 1985 in the city was launched the first
section of the metro. The physicist and Nobel laureate Andrei
Sakharov was exiled there during 1980–1986 to limit his contacts
with foreigners. An end to the "closed" status of the city
accompanied the reinstatement of the city's original name in 1990.
Get in By train The train station in Nizhny Novgorod is
located in the northern part of the city centre, near the Metromost
Bridge. It is reachable via the metro. The main hall of the train
station is beautiful and includes a chandelier as well as
soviet-style mosaics symbolizing the life of Russian people.
All Trans-Siberian trains from Moscow except for train 99/100 (which
goes via Yaroslavl instead) stop at Nizhny Novgorod.
searching timetables and fares on the RZD website, enter "Nizhniy
Novgorod" as the station for Nizhny Novgorod.
several options for train travel to/from Moscow including high speed
Sapsan trains (3.5 hours, RUB1,200-1,700) and slower late night
trains (7 hours, from RUB700). Trains are generally cheaper if
purchased in advance. Most trains to/from Moscow arrive to/depart
from Moscow's Kursky or Yaroslavsky train stations.
2 daily overnight trains to/from Saint Petersburg (15-16 hours, from
There are also direct train connections with
Vladimir, Dzerzhinsk, Kazan, Samara, Kirov (6-7 hours, from RUB550),
Yaroslavl (9 hours, from RUB450), Kungur (16 hours, from RUB1,200),
Yekaterinburg, (20 hours, from RUB1,400), Novosibirsk (40 hours,
from RUB2,500), Irkutsk (69 hours, RUB10,000), Astrakhan,
Simferopol, Novorossiysk (52 hours, from RUB1,900), Vladivostok,
Beijing, Ulaanbaatar, and many other cities. Suburban commuter
trains connect Nizhny Novgorod with towns within 200km of the city.
By plane 1 Nizhny Novgorod (Strigino) International Airport
(GOJ IATA) (located 20km southwest of the city centre). The airport
serves over 1.2 million passengers per year. There are regular
flights to many major Russian cities including Moscow, Saint
Petersburg, Samara, Surgut, and Yekaterinburg, as well as
international flights to Tashkent, Yerevan, Osh, Prague, Dushanbe,
and Dubai. In addition, Dexter Air Taxi operates flights on small
planes to nearby cities in Russia such as Kirov and Perm.
airport is connected to the city by public transport including buses
11, 20, T-29, T-46. The journey by public transport to the city
centre takes approximately 1 hour. A taxi ride takes around 30
minutes and should cost under RUB1,000 if negotiated in advance.
By car Nizhny Novgorod is situated on the M7/E30 road. The
road is in decent condition, although with traffic it can take
anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to drive to/from Moscow.
There are several stops for buses arriving in Nizhny Novgorod;
however, departing buses leave from either Kanavinskaya bus station,
near the railroad station, for buses going to points north and west,
and the main bus station (Avtovokzal) near pl. Lyadova, for the
buses going to points south and east.
Buses are generally
uncomfortable and slower than the trains.
MR Trans operates
buses to/from Moscow (9 hours, RUB600-1,000), Yoshkar-Ola, Kazan,
Cheboksary, and other nearby cities.
By boat Turflot,
Infoflot, and many other companies operate multi-day river cruises
down the Volga from early May to the end of September.
companies operate passenger boat service between Moscow and
Astrakhan, with stops at most cities along the Volga River.
Get around By foot The city centre is compact and walkable.
However, there are many inclines or steps from the river banks. The
bridges are not pedestrian friendly since the sidewalk is very
narrow and cars drive extremely fast close to the pedestrians.
Via public transport There is a network of trams,
trolleybuses, buses, marshrutkas and a 2-line metro system. Google
maps can be used for directions via public transport.
fare on public transport is ₽20 per ride and operating hours are
generally 05:15am to midnight.
On surface public transport
(trams, trolleybuses, buses and marshrutkas) you are expected to pay
within one stop after you enter, the fare is fixed for one ride. A
konductor who will come to you, take money and issue a ticket; if
there is no konductor, you should pay directly to the driver. Both
the driver and konductor will give change if needed, although notes
of ₽1,000 and larger are sometimes denied. It is best to have exact
By metro The metro is open from 5:15AM to
12:15AM. In order to go inside, you need to find an underground
passage with the red letter M on top and go down under the ground.
At the entrance to the metro you need to go through the security
system. Police officers have the right to examine you, if necessary.
The metro is accessible by tokens, city transport smart cards and
bank cards. The fare is ₽20, as of May 2017. There are also
electronic transport cards for ₽90 for 24 hours of travel on all
types of public transport and ₽20 for 70 minutes.
The metro consists of 2 lines and 14 stations, with more stations
planned in the future. The system was designed during Soviet times
and stops are located near factories and industrial areas. However,
the demographics have shifted and as a result, the metro is not as
useful as it once was and surface transport is more popular and more
crowded. The 2 lines intersect at Moscovskaya Metro Station. This is
the only metro station in the ex-USSR with 4 adjacent tracks. In the
afternoon you can expect a train about 8 minutes, in the evenings
intervals reach 13-15 minutes. Therefore, you can see what happens
with the interval clock: after reaching 10 minutes they just go out
and time stops. After 22:00, the movement of trains going in an
interesting way. From the Park Kultury to the Proletarskaya train
move from the right platform, then the passengers are planted at the
station and they pass to the other side of the platform, where
trains run from Gorkovskaya (or Burevestnik) to Proletarskaya and
back. Meanwhile, passengers who need to get to the Park Kultury get
on the train that came from this station, and go back to the
Avtozavodsky City District.
The Nizhny Novgorod metro is
useful for those travelers who want to visit the city center, the
well-organized industrial Avtozavodsky City District and the
Sormovsky City District with a large number of pre-revolutionary and
Stalinist buildings, and, at the same time, spend a minimum of time
for transportation. The first stations were built in the early
1980s, from an architectural point of view, they are of little
interest. However, two of them deserve attention: Moskovskaya (the
only station with four routes and 2 lines) and Gorkovskaya (its
walls are decorated with a panel depicting the main attractions of
the city). Transportation between them on the train, you'll see a
metro-bridge, Oka panorama, Strelka and Rozhdestvenskaya street.
Also interesting is the terrestrial covered station Burevestnik -
this is the only station of the Nizhny Novgorod metro with lateral
platforms. Another interesting station is Zarechnaya, where the
walls are decorated in the form of a river wave, and in the end of
the station there is a panel "Grad Kitezh".
Line 2 (Blue) is
now extended to the Strelka station under construction. This is part
of the preparation of the city for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The
station should begin functioning in April 2018.
By bus and
trolleybus As of May 2017 in each district of the city there are
several city bus routes. The number of trolleybus routes is much
less. In one district of the city there are 1-2 trolleybus routes.
Trolleybus routes are completely absent in the Leninsky city
district. It is worth noting that trolleybuses do not connect the
Lower City to the Upper. This is because the trolleybuses do not
have enough power to climb the mountain.
network is divided into 3 parts:
The upper trolleybus network
(it unites all three districts - Nizhegorodsky, Sovetsky and
Prioksky) with a turning circle on the Minin Square, near the
Kremlin. The lower trolleybus network (connects Kanavinsky,
Moskovsky and Sormovsky districts) The Avtozavod trolleybus
network (connects all the distant sleeping microdistricts among
By tram Throughout the city, land trams run.
The longest route of all is 417. It connects the outskirts of
Avtozavodsky district with the Moskovsky Rail Terminal. The journey
takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. The route passes through the
sleeping areas (approximately 75% of the way). Also in remote
neighborhoods there are routes of several more trams, but in most
cases, they are in the Upper City. By the way, you can reach there
by tram 27 or 10 directly from the Moscow railway station.
marshrutka Marshrutkas do not stop at every stop. To indicate
your intention to exit a marshrutka, press a button and to indicate
your intention to enter a marshrutka en-route, you need to wave your
By bicycle Nizhny Novgorod has not very developed
bicycle infrastructure. Special bike paths exist only on the
Upper-Volga and Lower-Volga embankments and on Rozhdestvenskaya
The upper city is very hilly and full of steep
inclines and even many locals will get off their bicycles and push
their bikes up the hill by foot. Drivers can be reckless and pose a
danger to cyclists. The roads can also be icy during the winter.
City cyclists solve this problem by replacing summer tires with
Also, in 2017 the implementation of a new
integrated transport scheme of the city began. It provides for a
large number of bicycle paths in the Upper City (including on
Bolshaya Pokrovskaya Street) and in the Lower City.
Bicycle station Dynamo, 53 Bolshaya Pokrovskaya Большая
Покровская (Dynamo Stadium), ☎ +7 960 182-12-11, e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:00-21:45. Bicycle rentals and service. From
₽800-1000/day. X-line, 22 Malaya Pokrovskaya Малая Покровская, ☎
+7 831 212-88-99, e-mail: email@example.com. 10:00-21:00. Bicycle
rentals, sales, and service. From ₽500/day.