Nizhny Novgorod inherited two unofficial statuses from its glorious past: the third capital and the “pocket of Russia”. Founded in 1221 by Vladimir-Suzdal Prince Yuri Vsevolodovich as a border fortress, the city, after the transfer of the largest fair in the country, became one of the main trading centers in Russia. There were legends about the wealth and prosperity of Nizhny Novgorod, and its 16th-century stone Kremlin never succumbed to the onslaught of the besiegers. Check ANDYEDUCATION.COM to learn more about the country of Russia.
Many monuments of history, architecture and culture have been preserved in Nizhny Novgorod, and it is not for nothing that UNESCO included it in its famous hundred cities of world historical and cultural significance. At the same time, getting to Nizhny Novgorod is quite comfortable, including by water, so a rare cruise along the Volga does not include it in its program. In total, there are more than 600 historical and architectural monuments in Nizhny Novgorod, as well as many museums, including one dedicated to Maxim Gorky, whose name the city bore from 1932 to 1990.
“Subtleties” calculated how much an independent trip to Nizhny for the weekend would cost. Spoiler: the budget will not crack.
Districts of Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny, like almost any old Russian city, is divided into districts by a river. More precisely, the confluence of two rivers, the Volga and the Oka: the Upper, or Nagornaya, part of the city stretches along the southern bank of the Oka and further to the south, and the Lower, or Zarechnaya, along the northern. The lion’s share of interesting tourist places, including the historical core of Nizhny Novgorod and the Kremlin, is located in the Upper part of the city.
The heart of the city is the Nizhny Novgorod district, which includes the historical center and the prestigious modern microdistrict Upper Pechery. The historical center of Nizhny Novgorod is, first of all, a magnificent red-brick Kremlin with 13 towers and the ancient Archangel Michael Cathedral, the beautiful Verkhnevolzhskaya embankment, Bolshaya Pokrovskaya street with an abundance of curious sculptures and Rozhdestvenskaya, Fedorovsky embankmentand the wide Chkalov staircase. It is worth going to the Upper Pechora for shopping and entertainment: there is a large shopping and entertainment center “Fantastica”, a multiplex “Cinema Park”, a bunch of restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs. The Pechersky Ascension Monastery, the Milo Concert Hall and the Nizhny Novgorod Cathedral Mosque are responsible for the spiritual component of leisure in the Upper Caves.
The Sovietsky district is the “continuation” of Nizhny Novgorod to the south, along the banks of the Oka. The main buildings here are multi-storey residential buildings, guess which era, however, a small number of attractions among them still cluttered up. Among them are the central Gagarin Avenue with the Nizhny Novgorod State University. Lobachevsky, “Switzerland” park, the Museum of Architecture and Life and the Museum of History.
Prioksky district is the southern tip of the city from the side of its Upland part. Several factories are located here, but there are also large green areas – the Shchelokovsky farm, the Botanical Garden and the Ankudinovsky forest park.
The Zarechnaya part of Nizhny Novgorod includes 5 districts. The most interesting for tourists is Kanavinsky, on the northern banks of the Oka and Volga arrows. Arriving in Nizhny by rail, you will see it first – the Moscow railway station is located right here. It is also worth seeing the exhibition complex of the Nizhny Novgorod Fair (not original, of course, but restored very lovingly and carefully), go to the Nizhny Novgorod Circus, shop at the historic Central Department Store and stroll along the banks of the Grebnevsky Canal.
In the neighboring Avtozavodsky district is Strigino Airport and the legendary Gorky Automobile Plant – GAZ, Sormovsky is worth a visit because of the confectionery factory of the same name. Leninsky, Meshchersky and Moskovsky districts of Nizhny are built up mainly with industrial enterprises.
Hotels in Nizhny Novgorod
The number of rooms in Nizhny Novgorod is represented by an approximately equal number of business-class hotels and inexpensive Soviet-style tourist “three rubles”. There are noticeably fewer private mini-hotels and boarding houses (however, this sector is developing steadily), and there are very few hostels.
A nice feature of Nizhny: several quite cheap hotels are located right in the city center, so if you are ready to put up with the well-known dilapidated amenities and simple service, you will be rewarded with walking distance to the main attractions at the lowest price.
Expensive hotels, as it should be, almost all are either in the center, or – a separate category – on the ecologically clean outskirts of the city, the picturesque banks of the Volga.
Hostels cost from 450 RUB per person per night, rooms are designed for 4-6 people, amenities are on the floor. Some hostels offer double and even single accommodation, but it will not be cheaper than similar accommodation in a hotel. The price range in “Soviet” hotels is from 500 RUB (the effect of a time machine is guaranteed) to 2000 RUB in renovated establishments. “Treshki” of international chains (for example, Ibis) will ask from 2500 RUB per room, and individual modern “fours” – from 3000 RUB. For accommodation in premium hotels, such as Grand Oka Premium or Nikola House, you will have to pay at least 4500 RUB. The prices on the page are for May 2021.
What to bring from Nizhny Novgorod
The Volga land is rich in products of wonderful and diverse folk crafts, and Nizhny Novgorod, at the fair of which local craftsmen invariably tried to present the most outlandish things, in particular. And today in Nizhny you can buy not only purely local souvenirs, but also products of the masters of Semyonov, Gorodets, Balakhna and other neighboring cities and villages.
The first thing that attracts attention in the souvenir shops of the city is the abundance of wooden products painted in different, very characteristic styles: nesting dolls, toys, household utensils and dishes, interior items and all sorts of cute little things. Recognizable Semyonov painting of nesting dolls, products of Gorodets masters – wooden trays with scenes of tea drinking, gentlemen and rose bushes, Khokhloma famous for its bright multicolor and charming, slightly naive Polkhov-Maidan painting – the eyes run wide with magnificence!
Young ladies will appreciate the lace shawls and scarves from Balakhna, which once cost fabulous money, home textiles with welt Nizhny Novgorod guipure and patterned shawl woven products with a characteristic combination of white, red and blue threads.
From Nizhny Novgorod, you can also bring a solid wood Novinsky toy, Christmas tree decorations from the Ariel factory, and amazing filigree decorations from the village of Kazakovo made of the finest wire and various-sized metal balls.
What to try
Mother Volga generously supplies Nizhny Novgorod residents and their guests with a variety of fish, dishes from which you should definitely try in a restaurant you like. In general, fish cuisine is usually the privilege of upscale restaurants, but in Nizhny and in medium-sized establishments they serve excellent kulebyaks and fish soup – be guided by signs in the Russian style. It is also worth having a bite of mushrooms, which are so rich in the surrounding forests. They are prepared here in all delicious forms: salted and pickled, in fragrant soups, with buckwheat porridge and sour cream.
For dessert (and, by the way, as a treat from a trip), the sweets of the Sormovskaya confectionery factory will be perfect: marshmallow, marshmallow, marmalade of various varieties and much more, made according to old Central Russian recipes.
A snack for two “Russian fast food” (pancakes, sandwiches, baked potatoes, etc.) with a soft drink will cost 500–700 RUB. Restaurants of the middle price category will ask from 600 RUB per person for lunch, and in order to dine like a merchant overlooking the Volga, you will have to pay no less than 1000 RUB per person in the most modest scenario.
10 things to do in Nizhny Novgorod
- Feel like a wealthy merchant, sweeping the floor of the Nizhny Novgorod Fairwith the floors of a beaver coat. Even if it’s rented.
- Climb one of the 13 towers of the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlinand admire the old quarters and the beautiful Volga.
- Touch the Merry Goat by the udder, thereby guaranteed to attract good luck and prosperity to your home.
- Take a ride on a tall cable car over the Volga – a candidate for inclusion in the Guinness Book of Records.
- Take a walk in one of the largest private zoos in Europe, Limpopo, and pet a soft-haired alpaca.
- Overcome all 560 steps of the Chkalovskaya Stairs, making stops to view the amazing river panorama.
- Instantly straighten your hair according to the method of Alessandro Volta, completing the electrical circuit in the Arc of Vitamins.
- Rent a car and go for a day to visit “Our Everything” in Bolshoe Boldino.
- To delve into the vicissitudes of the fate of Maxim Gorky – first in Kashirin’s House, and then in the Nizhny Novgorod prison.
- Buy Semenov nesting dolls, Polkhov-Maidan toys and the finest lace shawl from Balakhna as a keepsake of Nizhny Novgorod.
Cafes and restaurants in Nizhny Novgorod
Everything is in order with eateries in the city: there are cafes, snack bars and restaurants for every budget, representing all the popular gastronomic traditions of the world – from Belarusian potato pancakes and Guryev porridge to pizza-pasta-macaroni (those that are cookies), sushi, chicken tobacco and other. Their distribution on the city map is quite standard: sights tend to be more expensive and pretentious, in the central districts of the city there are both, and on the outskirts of the workers there are mostly democratic establishments with sincere portion sizes.
Most of the Nizhny eateries are predictably located near the Kremlin – on Bolshaya Pokrovskaya Street (the equivalent of Moscow’s Arbat). There are also suitable beer bars (Shelter of a Tired Tractor Driver, USSR), Japanese restaurants, typical European cafes (for example, Veranda), and excellent establishments with rich cuisine. In Vitalich, for example, they serve wild boar, elk or hare meat, and in the Czech Dzhruzhkov Krug, they serve the invariable boar knee.
Also, many good restaurants are located “under the Kremlin”, on Rozhdestvenskaya Street. So, in the Pyatkin establishment, they offer primordially Russian merchant dishes – quail, sterlet, lamb, hare – and delicious own lingonberry and cranberry tinctures. Or you can sit in a nearby American bar or the French bistro Gavroche.