Nizhny Novgorod colloquially shortened as Nizhny and also transliterated into English as Nizhniy Novgorod or Nizhni Novgorod, is the fourth largest city of Russia, ranking after Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Novosibirsk.
Nizhny Novgorod 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.
Nizhny Novgorod 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.
After Nizhny N
ovgorod'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.
Nizhny Novgorod's 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.
In Nizhny Novgorod other notable landmarks are 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.
Nizhny Novgorod 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.
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.
Nizhny Novgorod can be easily reached from the Russian capital by an overnight train, by car or by air. Since December 2002, a fast train has connected Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow in less than 5 hours. The expansion of highways in the region is 8,100 miles, of railroads - 750 miles, and of waterways - 500 miles. Nizhny Novgorod has regular air connection (Strigino Airport) with a dozen of Russian cities, and international Lufthansa flights to the city three times a week. In summer, tourists may travel to Nizhny Novgorod from Moscow and Saint Petersburg by passenger vessels. This article is licensed under the [GNU Free Documentation License]. It uses material from Wikipedia Nizhny Novgorod Image