The mighty clifftop kremlin overlooking the confluence of two wide rivers – the Volga and the Oka – is the place where merchant Kuzma Minin and Count Dmitry Pozharsky (men commemorated in a monument in front of Moscow's St Basil’s Cathedral) rallied a popular army to repel the Polish intervention in 1612.
Nizhny has been a major trading centre since its foundation in 1221. In the 19th century, when the lower bank of the Oka housed the country’s main fair – yarmarka – it was said that ‘St Petersburg is Russia’s head; Moscow its heart; and Nizhny Novgorod its wallet’. During Soviet times the city was named Gorky, after the writer Maxim Gorky, born here in 1868. Closed to foreigners by the Soviets, Gorky was chosen as a place of exile for the dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov.
Nizhny is often called Russia’s ‘third capital’, but it is the fifth-largest Russian city and markedly quieter than Moscow and St Petersburg, with a laid-back ambience characteristic of the Volga cities downstream.
The Kremlin of Nizhniy Novgorod
The Kremlin is one of Nizhniy Novgorod's best tourist-attractions, because from outside it still looks the same as hundreds of years ago, with a strong wall and severeal towers it was built high above the hill with a great view of the rivers.
The Kremlin is still used as a seat of the local government, you will find parks there, restaurants, a permanent exhibition of war relicts and a lot more.
Directions: The Kremlin of Nizhniy Novgorod is on top of the hill, you will see it best from the rivers!
Romanoff church was the first sight that we were shown during our guided tour through the city of Nizhniy Novgorod. This church looks great already from outside and it was quite obviously also restored quite recently. The church is still used by the russian Orthodox church so you will hardly ever find a time, when you can enter it like a museum. A service was going on while we were there, but the local people seemed to be used to see lots of tourists there, so it was also no problem to take some photographs!
Chkalov staircase / Chkalovskaya stairs
The great Chkalov staircase / Chkalovskaya stairs is the first sight that you will see of Nizhniy Novgorod, when arriving by cruiseship from the east. This staircase is really impressive, ship in the lower part of the stairs is a part of the architecture.
Bank of Russia
When standing in front of this building you get the feeling this must be the local residence of a noble family, but in fact it is just the building of the Bank of Russia in the main street of Nizhny Novgorod. It was built in some kind of Art Nouveau-style. It is still a bank, so you can see it mainly from outside, but dont miss to take a look at the entrancegate and the cuppola next to it.
Archangel Michael cathedral
You will find the Archangel Michael cathedral in the backpart of the Kremlin of Nizhniy Novgorod, it is still used as a church and inside you will find the tomb of Kusma Minin - it is one of the 2 persons that you will also see outside of the church on a monument. (see my 4th photograph!)
Go inside the church, its normally open all day and visitors are always welcome, as long as they behave well and ladies have of course take a shawl to cover their hair.