If you are visiting Russia, than you are probably in Moscow. Or, you may be in Saint Petersburg (by the way, there is another one in Florida). Just because those two cities are the most famous and popular places in Russia.
If you are in Moscow, but got bored with looking at Kremlin, walking in Gorky park and Red Square – then you may want to explore Russia a little bit deeper. Just a little bit, don’t worry. For example, you can go to Nizhny Novgorod for one day.
What’s Gorky city? See below.
Russian language exercise
First of all, it may be a good idea to learn how to pronounce “Nizhny Novgorod”. Wikipedia kindly gives us a representation of “Nizhny Novgorod” in IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet):
I am not sure that makes it easier. Although I don’t know how to read IPA. Wikipedia also gives us some info about IPA
Depending on your experience in Russian, and how talented and lucky you are, this exercise may take from a couple of minutes to hours.
How to get to Nizhny Novgorod
If you are in Moscow, the easiest way to get to Nizhny Novgorod is a train. Trains to Nizhny Novgorod depart from Kirovsky, Yaroslavsky and Kazansky railway stations (more and more exercises). There are two types of trains: slow and fast.
The slow one is a regular Russian train which typically has different kinds of sleeping cars. It takes about 7-8 hours to get to Nizhny Novgorod by a this kind of train. You can take a train about midnight, and arrive to Nizhny Novgorod early morning.
The fast one is called “Strizh” (one more exercise). It actually means a species of a bird. This train has only seating cars, but it’s a little faster. It usually takes 3-4 hours.
Another option is to take a flight. It takes about 1 hour on board, but you’ll spend lots of time for getting to airports, security check, etc. As a result, I suspect that overall it’s going to take the same time as traveling by a train, but it’s going to be much complicated for sure. So, I would recommend a train. Take a book, have beer, relax, and you are going to be in Nizhny Novgorod in a couple of hours.
If you are in Saint Petersburg, it’s going to take a little longer. There is a train which is called “Volga”. The train departs from Moscow about 7pm and arrives to Nizhny Novgorod next morning. But if you are in Saint Petersburg, you can find many interesting places which are much closer. Unless you’ve been staying in Saint Petersburg for a couple of years, and have visited just everything around.
Getting around Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod is a big city, and there are plenty of public transportation. The most popular type of public transportation is a bus. You can get almost to everywhere by a bus. Although I would not recommend you to get to everywhere.
You go to a bus stop, and take a bus. All bus routes have numbers. A bus has a place with a number of its route, and a list of major stops. Yes, it’s all in Russian. You go inside a bus, and have to pay right away. Cash only. Coins preferred. Sometimes there is a person who sells tickets, but sometimes a driver does it. Have a seat close to the driver, and watch how he sells tickets and drives in the same time. He can also talk by a phone on the same time. If you gets scared – just close your eyes. There is a small button on top of the bus door. Press this button if you want to get out on next stop. But you need to know what the next stop is. Unfortunately, the driver doesn’t notify passengers about it. And most likely, he doesn’t speak English. He may not speak even Russian …
That’s why I would recommend you to use subway. The subway in Nizhny Novgorod is pretty small comparing to Moscow. It has only two lanes: red and blue. There is a subway station on railway station in Nizhny Novgorod. Go to there, and just take a red train to Gorkovskaya station. It’s just one stop, and it’s a final stop, so you won’t get lost if you was able to get to the right direction. I wouldn’t recommend to go to other directions.
Uber also works in the city. But I am not sure that there are many Uber drivers. I have used Uber only once there.
A walk in Nizhny Novgorod
Let’s suppose that you arrived by a train in the morning, and took a subway to from railway station (Moskovskaya subway station) to Gorkovskaya. Now you are in historic part of the city. I believe this is the most interesting area. When you exit the subway, you’re going to be on Gorky square. It’s called after Maxim Gorky like the most popular park in Moscow (Gorky park). Just for those who love facts: Maxim Gorky was a Russian writer, and in fact, he wrote to US president Hoover. You can learn more about it if you go to Hoover Tower in Stanford University – there is a stall museum about president Hoover on the first floor.
There is a small park and statue of Maxim Gorky on Gorky square. There is McDonald’s in case you miss hamburgers. Here is a route which starts on Maxim Gorky square and walks you through my favorite places:
It starts from Maxim Gorky square, and goes through Pokrovskaya street. In the middle of Pokrovskaya street it turns to Fedorovsky embankment. Even if it’s called an embankment, it’s located on top of a hill, so don’t surprised. There you can find an amazing views on the city and rivers.
Then, you go back to Pokrovskaya street, and go to Minina square. There you’ll see Kremlin. Yes, not only Moscow has Kremlin. It’s basically a fortress which was built hundreds years ago. You can take a walk on Kremlin’s wall, or just have a walk inside the fortress.
Then, go to Chkalov Monument which is located in the end of Minina square. You’ll see long stairs down to a real embankment. You’ll also see a boat on the embankment. Go look at it. You can count stairs if you like – that’s a usual exercise for tourists. Then tell me how many stairs there are. Please also note how nice I am – I don’t offer you go upstairs. When you see the stairs, you’ll understand what I mean.
Next, you go through Rozdestvenskaya street to Kanavinsky bridge. This is a nice old street. Go through the bridge, there is Nizhny Novgorod Fair on another side. It’s a nice historic building which is used for exhibition nowadays. You’ll also find Lenin Monument near by. After that you go to the railway station. That’s all.
The route is going to take about 3-4 hours depending on how many pictures you take.
There is another McDonald’s near by the railway station in case you love cheeseburgers that much. I just realized that’s a walk from one McDonald’s to another.
I don’t have many pictures, and those pictures were taken in winter. But I would highly recommend visiting Nizhny Novgorod in summer.
In conclusion, here is something for those who love facts. “Nizhny Novgorod” is a historic name. But in USSR time the city was renamed to “Gorky” after Maxim Gorky. After USSR collapsed, the city was renamed again to “Nizhny Novgorod”. Yeah, we love renaming everything.