Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

From the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin, 3 km downstream of the Volga is the Pechersky Ascension Monastery. It was founded in 1328 – 1330 by the monk of the Kiev-Pechersk monastery Dionysius and was one of the important centers of Russian culture of the 14th century. Previously, it was outside the city, but in 1597 it was destroyed by a landslide and moved to its current location. The modern ensemble of the Caves Monastery was formed in the middle of the 17th century. It includes the five-domed Ascension Cathedral with a gallery and a bell tower, which tilted during construction like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a tented Assumption Church with a refectory chamber, a tented gate church of St. Euthymius of Suzdal, rector’s chambers, cell buildings with the church of St. Macarius and the gate church of the Intercession of the Virgin. In 1924 the monastery was closed and resumed its activities only in 1994.

According to, another ancient monastery in Nizhny Novgorod – The Annunciation Monastery – stands on the slope of the Dyatlovy Mountains on the banks of the Oka River, where the first settlement of the city was founded. The monastery was founded in the 13th century to protect the crossing over the Oka River. It was repeatedly destroyed, the ensemble of the Annunciation Monastery that has survived to this day began to be erected in 1649 from the five-domed Cathedral of the Annunciation, which became the central building of the monastery. Later, the Assumption Church (1678) with a monastery refectory and a bell tower, the one-domed Sergius Church (1690) and the Alekseevsky Church (1821-1834) with a square, which was surrounded by a stone wall with two towers, were erected here. In the middle of the 20th century, a planetarium was placed in the Alekseevskaya Church; during its organization, the temple was partially destroyed. Restoration work is going on in the Annunciation Monastery today.

At the end of the 17th century, the famous Nizhny Novgorod merchant Stroganov, who was engaged in the salt trade, built the Smolensk Church in his country house on the banks of the Oka River. Later, in 1719, he built a Nativity Church in the city.. It was erected as a house church of his city estate. The church is made in the Baroque style and is a prime example of this architectural style of the 17th and 18th centuries. The gilded wooden iconostasis and icons of the 18th century have been preserved in the Church of the Nativity. One of its main attractions is the clock tower. The current clock was installed recently, the old one was lost in the 19th century. An interesting story is connected with this clock – the famous Russian inventor Ivan Kulibin, at the age of 15, repaired the clock with his own hands, which surprised all the inhabitants of the city. Today, a branch of the Nizhny Novgorod Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve is located here.

Among other religious buildings in Nizhny Novgorod, the wooden Church of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos stands out. (1660), which was transferred from the countryside to the Museum of Architecture and Life of the Peoples of the Nizhny Novgorod Volga Region; the parish church of the Myrrh-Bearing Women (1649) and the Church of Elijah the Prophet (1656); the five-domed Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was built on Ilinskaya Gora in 1672 at the expense of the merchant Olisov; the recently restored Church of the Nativity of John the Baptist near the Ivanovskaya Tower of the Kremlin (1676-1683); Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (1856 – 1880), standing at the confluence of the Oka and Volga rivers on the territory of the former fair complex; and of course Spaso-Preobrazhensky (Staroyarmarochny) Cathedral – the only building from the first buildings of the transferred Makarievskaya Fair, which has survived to this day.

Nizhny Novgorod Fair was moved from Makariev after a fire in 1816. In 1818, the Gostiny Dvor was built on a new site of 60 buildings with an apartment and the office of the governor, a fair office and a committee, as well as a branch of the state bank. The fair operated every year in July-August, merchants from Russian cities, from the countries of East and West flocked here. After the October Revolution, the Nizhny Novgorod fair was of all-Union importance, especially for the sale of handicraft products and trade with eastern countries. In 1929 it was closed. Today, only the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral has survived from the buildings of the fair of the early 19th century. In its architectural appearance, this cathedral resembles St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg. It is built in a classical style.

In the historical part of the city from the Dmitrievskaya tower of the Kremlin stretches Bolshaya Pokrovskaya street. This old street is now a pedestrian street. It houses luxurious mansions of the 18th and 19th centuries that belonged to merchants and dignitaries, numerous shops, souvenir shops, cinemas, restaurants, nightclubs and the Nizhny Novgorod State Academic Drama Theater named after Gorky (one of the oldest in Russia). The theater building was built in 1896.

Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

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