Nizhny Novgorod

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Nizhny Novgorod
coat of arms
 - Total

260,000 sq mi

 - City (2002)


Time zoneMoscow: UTC+3

56°20′N 44°00′E

Nizhny Novgorod (Russian: Ни́жний Но́вгород), colloquially shortened as Nizhny and also transliterated into English as Nizhniy Novgorod or Nizhni Novgorod or Nizhnii Novgorod, is the fourth largest city of Russia, ranking after Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Novosibirsk. Population: 1,311,252 (2002 Census). It is the economic and cultural center of the vast Volga-Vyatka economic region, and also the administrative center of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast and Volga Federal District.

From 1932 to 1990 the city was known as Gorky (Го́рький) after the writer Maxim Gorky. After the fall of Communism, the city was rebaptized.


[edit] History

[edit] A seat of medieval princes

The city was founded by Grand Duke George II of Russia in 1221 at the confluence of two most important rivers of his principality, the Volga and the Oka. Its name literally means Newtown the Lower, to distinguish it from the older Novgorod. 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 and grew up into great centers of Russian political life during the period of Tatar yoke. 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.

[edit] The strongest fortress of Muscovy

One of the Stroganov churches.

After the city's incorporation into Muscovy (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 Vasili IV. Nizhny Novgorod was 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 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 before the kremlin is named after Minin, and his remains are buried in the citadel. Also in commemoration of these events on October 21, 2005 an exact copy of 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 proclaimed.

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: In a white field a red deer, horns and hoofs are black. The modern coat of arms circa 1992 is the same but the shield can be adorned with golden oak leaves tied with a stripe with colors of Russian national flag.

[edit] Great trade centre

This building formerly housed the Great Russian Fair.

In 1817, the Makariev Fair, one of the liveliest in the world, was transferred to Nizhny Novgorod, which thereupon started to attract millions of visitors annually. By the mid-19th century, the city on the Volga was firmly established as the trade capital of the Russian Empire. The world’s first radio receiver of engineer Alexander Popov and the world’s first hyperboloid tower and lattice shells-coverings of engineer Vladimir Shukhov were demonstrated at the All-Russia industrial and art exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod in 1896. Other industries gradually developed, and by the dawn of the 20th century it was a first-rank industrial hub as well. Henry Ford helped build a large truck and tractor plant (GAZ) in the late 1920s, sending along engineers and mechanics, including future labor leader Walter Reuther.

Famous writer Maxim Gorky was born there in 1868, in his novels he realistically described the dismal life of the city proletariat. Even during his lifetime, the city was renamed Gorky following his return to the USSR from immigration in 1932 on invitation of Joseph Stalin. The city bore his name until 1991. During that time, the city was closed to foreigners to safeguard the security of Soviet military research. The physicist and the 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 has accompanied the reinstatement of the city's original name in 1990.

[edit] Economy

Nizhny Novgorod is home to some of Russia's best known machine-building enterprises. The city's largest employer is the automotive concern GAZ, manufacturer of GAZ trucks, GAZelle minibuses, and Volga passenger cars. The ship-builder Krasnoye Sormovo and the aircraft manufacturer Sokol are also located here.

Local brands of pasta, chocolate, and sparkling wines are well known in the country.

[edit] Transport

Gorkovskaya Railroad (Горьковская железная дорога), which operates some 5700 km of rail lines throughout the Middle Volga region (of which some 1200 in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast), is headquartered in Nizhny Novgorod. Popular overnight trains provide convenient access to Nizhny Novgorod from Moscow. Since December 2002, a fast train has connected Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow in less than 5 hours. One can continue from Nizhny Nogorod eastward along the Transsiberian Railroad, with direct trains to major cities in the Urals and Siberia, as well as to Beijing.

Nizhny Novgorod's Strigino International Airport (ICAO code: GOJ) has direct flights to major Russian cities, as well as to Frankfurt (Lufthansa flights to the city three times a week).

Nizhny Novgorod is an important center of Volga cargo and passenger shipping. In the summer, cruise vessels operate between Nizhny Novogorod, Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Astrakhan.

The city is served by Russian highway M-7 (Moscow-Nizhny Novgorod-Kazan-Ufa).

Public transport within the city is provided by a small subway system (Nizhny Novgorod Metro), buses, trolley buses, and streetcars. Electric commuter trains run to suburbs in several directions.

[edit] Culture

The city has several universities and institutes, numerous theatres and museums.

[edit] City layout and landmarks

Image:Nischni Nowgorod Kreml 2004-07-09.jpg
Inside Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin

Nizhny Novogorod is divided by the Oka River into two distinct parts. The Upper City (Russian: Нагорная часть, Nagornaya Chast) is located on the hilly eastern (right) bank of the Oka; this is the historical heart of the city. The Lower City (Russian: Заречная часть, Zarechnaya Chast) occupies the low (wesstern) side of the Oka, and includes the districts of Kanavino (the site of the Nizhny Novgorod Fair and the location of the main train station), industrial Sormovo, and Avtozavod (built around the GAZ automotive plants); all of them were annexed to Nizhny Novgorod in 1929-31.

Much of the city downtown is built in the Russian Revival and Stalin Empire styles. The dominating feature of the city skyline is the grand Kremlin (1500-11), with its red-brick towers. After Bolshevik devastation, the only ancient edifice left within the kremlin walls is the tent-like Archangel Cathedral (1624-31), first built in stone in the 13th century.

Other notable landmarks are the two great medieval abbeys. The Monastery of the Caves features the austere five-domed cathedral (1632) and two rare churches surmounted by tent roofs, dating from the 1640s. The Annunciation monastery, likewise surrounded by strong walls, has another five-domed cathedral (1649) and the Assumption church (1678). The only private house preserved from that epoch formerly belonged to the merchant Pushnikov.

There can be little doubt that the most original and delightful churches in the city were built by the Stroganovs in the nascent Baroque style. Of these, the Virgin's Nativity Church (1719) graces one of the central streets, whereas the Church of Our Lady of Smolensk (1694-97) survives in the suburb of Gordeevka, where the Stroganov palace once stood.

Other notable churches include:

The city has many industrial suburbs, such as Kstovo, Dzerzhinsk, and Bor. The town of Semyonov, to the north of Nizhny Novgorod, is known as a craft center for Khokhloma wood painting. Another suburb, Balakhna, is noted for its medieval architecture. A singular 128-metre-high open-work hyperboloid tower was built on the bank of the Oka by the eminent engineer and scientist Vladimir Shukhov in 1929.

The climate in the region is continental, and it is similar to the climate in Moscow, although colder in winter, which lasts from late November until late March with a permanent snow cover.

[edit] Sister cities

[edit] References

  • Munro-Butler-Johnstone, Henry Alexander, A trip up the Volga to the fair of Nijni-Novgorod, Oxford: J. Parker and co., 1876.
  • Fitzpatrick, Anne Lincoln, The Great Russian Fair: Nizhnii Novgorod, 1840-90, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan, in association with St. Antony’s College, Oxford, 1990. ISBN 0-333-42437-9

[edit] Other photos

[edit] External links

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Image:Nizhny Novgorod Oblast Coat of Arms.gif Cities and towns in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast Image:Flag of Russia.svg
Administrative center: Nizhny Novgorod

Arzamas | Balakhna | Bogorodsk | Bor | Chkalovsk | Dzerzhinsk | Gorbatov | Gorodets | Knyaginino | Kstovo | Kulebaki | Lukoyanov | Lyskovo | Navashino | Pavlovo | Perevoz | Pervomaysk | Sarov | Semyonov | Sergach | Shakhunya | Uren | Vetluga | Volodarsk | Vorsma | Vyksa | Zavolzhye

be:Ніжні Ноўгарад

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Nizhny Novgorod

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