After almost four days in Moscow, I left for the first time by train on the Trans-Siberian route towards Nizhny Novgorod. My train journey to Beijing had just begun. It was a very brief trip of about 4 hours, which took me to a city that I had never heard of before, but that I had spotted when I started organizing this trip.
I arrived in Nizhny Novgorod around 11 am and left around 9 pm. I had enough time to visit the whole area on foot in one day, and in the end, I can say it for sure: stopping here was a great idea.
Nizhny Novgorod in a nutshell
The following is an interactive map. The main points of interest are marked with red pins, and one of the most famous streets (Bolshaya Pokrovskaya) is marked with a yellow pin. Here you find many restaurants and some historic buildings.
Finally, the black pins mark both the central station, the starting point of my city tour, and the metro stop that connects the city center with the central station.
Nizhny Novgorod is located at the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers. As seen from the map above, the latter divides the city into two parts: the west area (the spit, or Strelka) and the east area (the historic center). Since most of the things to see are on the eastern side of the city, those who do not have enough time can leave from the central station and reach the center directly by subway.
The Spit of Nizhny Novgorod (Strelka)
It is the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers. If there are the right weather conditions, the panorama over the whole lagoon is spectacular.
To reach the Spit of Nizhny Novgorod, starting from the central station, you pass through some places of interest.
It was built in the neoclassical style and is also called Old-fair Cathedral after the construction of the new Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Also called New-fair Cathedral, it is the main cathedral in Nizhny Novgorod.
Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
It is an impressive work whose modernity contrasts with the historical buildings around it. The stadium was chosen for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin and historic center
You can reach the historic center either on foot, passing through one of the bridges over the Oka river, or by underground. I made the trip on foot from the Kanavisnkij bridge near the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
The first point of interest in the area, apart from the riverside and the beautiful view of the confluence, is the Church of the Holy Blessed Virgin Mary. It is also known as Nativity or Stroganov Church, and its colored domes vaguely recall those of Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow.
Church of the Holy Blessed Virgin Mary
Continuing along Rozhdestvenskaya Street, you pass in front of the Monument to Minin and Požarskij (notable figures of local history) and reach then the Royal Chapel at the bottom of the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin.
As already mentioned in my post on Moscow, the word Kremlin means fortress and is the oldest part of Russian cities. The Moscow Kremlin is definitely the best known, but several cities have one, including Nizhny Novgorod.
Inside the Kremlin, there are some monuments and points of interest that make this place a sort of open-air museum. I list some of them below.
Government and Museum buildings
Obelisk of Minin and Pozharsky
Eternal Flame (in memory of Nizhny Novgorod citizens who died in World War II)
Michael the Archangel Cathedral
Exhibition of military vehicles
It is located at the northeastern end of the Kremlin. In the picture below, you see the Kremlin Wall behind it.
It is a monumental staircase that connects the upper part with the lower part of the city and is today the biggest in Russia.
Demetrius Tower (Kremlin Wall)
Among the most impressive towers of the Kremlin Wall, there is unquestionably the Demetrius Tower, once the main entrance of the fortress. From here starts one of the most lively streets of the city: Bolshaya Pokrovskaya.
Along this street, there are dozens of restaurants, historic buildings, street artists, and sellers.
In one of the restaurants in the area, we ate a Georgian menu (my favorite cuisine in Siberia!). Then we walked towards the Gor’kovskaya Metro stop, traveling back to the central station.
The train to Kazan was waiting for us around 9 pm. The arrival was expected at 5 am: we are going to spend the first night in a Trans-Siberian Railway train.
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian Railway – All you need to know
Travel arrangements: General Information
Departure station: Moscow
First stop: Nizhny Novgorod
Second stop: Kazan
Third stop: Yekaterinburg
Fourth Stop: Novosibirsk
Fifth stop: Krasnoyarsk and Stolby Nature Sanctuary
Sixth stop: Lake Baikal
Seventh stop: Irkutsk
Eighth stop: Ulan-Ude
Ninth stop: Ulaanbaatar
Tenth stop: Datong
Arrival station: Beijing