In the heartland of Russia, Nizhny Novgorod is the fifth largest city after Moscow and St. Petersburg with approximately 1.25 million people. It’s early history begins in the 13th century supporting the Makaryev Fair which became the commercial hub for exporting Russian goods. During soviet times the city was closed to foreign visitors in order to protect the military manufacturers located there. Thus it earned the name Russia’s Pocket or Eurasian Detroit depending on the time frame someone is talking about. It is here that democratic reforms are being tested along with free market initiatives. If a democratic future is to occur in Russia, Nizhni Novgorod will be the epicenter. What is being witnessed here is a truly unique and historical phenomenon, a society once under totalitarianism moving towards a democracy with all its ups and downs, joys and sorrows. See more here.
Things to see while in Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod’s kremlin along with the Chkalov Stairs are both sites that one should visit while in the city. The history of the stairs is an interesting one. When you enter or leave the kremlin, check out the city’s central square — Ploshchad Minina. It’s here that the monument to Valery Chkalov is erected, he was born in a village near the city and became a Soviet hero. He was a test pilot who pioneered the polar air route from Europe to the U.S. Pacific coast. This 8,811-kilometer flight from Moscow to Vancouver, Washington (my hometown for 10 years) was accomplished after a 63-hour across the Pacific, in 1937. At the base of the monument is a staircase shaped like a figure of eight and consisting of 560 steps leading to the right bank of the Volga River. Here are some more ideas while visiting the city here.
The following video will give you a small taste of the beautiful city. I’ve also included some more pictures of this beautiful city.