Chkalov Staircase is one of the popular places in Nizhny
Novgorod. It was constructed in 1943- 49 on the banks of Volga river
under supervision of architects Munz, Yakovlev and Rudnev. It has a
shape of a giant 8 with 450 stairs that lead from
Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin to Volga river below. Chkalov Staircase was dedicated
in honor of Valery Chkalov, famous Russian pilot. He became famous in
1937 as a first man who flew nonstop from Moscow to Vancouver across the
North Pole. His statue stands today at the top of the architectural
ensemble. In 1985 a military gun boat "Geroy" or Hero was established at
the base of the stairs. It served Russian Army during Stalingrad Battle.
It transported thousands of soldiers across the Volga River.
During the Russian Empire and until the mid-1940s of the 20th
century, the site of the Chkalov Stairs was called the Volga slope.
It was one of the most popular places among Nizhny Novgorod
residents and visitors. At the top was a semicircular ledge from
which a view of the floodplain of Bor. Now there is a monument to
The first ideas for the construction of the stairs
on the Volga slope was put forward by Alexander Shulpin, the
chairman of the Gorky City Executive Committee, in 1939. The stairs
were to connect the center of the city with the Volga, and outdo the
Potemkin Stairs in Odessa. But the realisation of the project was
prevented by World War II (Eastern Front).
The realisation of
the plans was delayed until 1943. That year, Gorky began actively
rebuilding the destroyed buildings and industrial enterprises after
the German bombing. Then Shulpin began to promote his idea again. In
the same year he went on a business trip to Moscow and presented the
project to the Leningrad architects Alexander Yakovlev, Lev Rudnev
and Vladimir Munts. When the agreement was received, the Moscow
government allocated money for the construction of this grandiose
staircase in honor of the victory of the Battle of Stalingrad. The
staircase itself was to be called the Stalingrad Stairs.
Construction was started the same year, carried out by German
prisoners. The staircase was inaugurated in 1949. The chairman of
the city executive committee spent about 7 million rubles on its
construction, and was arrested for embezzling public funds in the
Leningrad affair. He was accused of corruption and sent to Murmansk.
He was rehabilitated after Stalin's death.
Chkalov staircase is one of the most recognizable
landmarks of the city. On the Chkalov Stairs they arrange sports
races. In 1985 a monument to the boat Hero was erected at the foot
of the stairs The boat was popular with the newlyweds. Until 2008,
its propellers were constantly decorated with colored ribbons. To
somehow prevent this, metal structures were installed. The last
restoration of Chkalov staircase was carried out in 2012-2013.