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Best things to do in Nizhny Novgorod

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Russia  /  Volga District  /  Nizhny Novgorod Oblast  /  Nizhny Novgorod

Top 15 things to do in Nizhny Novgorod

1. The Kremlin

The region's cultural and political center, The Kremlin occupies a prominent hill in the historical city center of Nizhny Novgorod. Built in the 1500s as part of the country's eastern defenses, the impregnable fortress' 2 km (1.2 mi) long wall originally featured 13 watchtowers, 12 of which survive to this day. Once home to a permanent military garrison, this complex of historical buildings now houses mostly government offices. Inside the 12 m (40 ft) high walls, you can visit a small cathedral dedicated to the Archangel Michael and famous for containing the tomb of Kuzma Minin, a national hero who made his name defending the city against a 17th-century Polish invasion.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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2. Limpopo Zoo

Have a fun day out and see animals from the four corners of the world at Limpopo Zoo. The zoo is the home of numerous mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles, ranging from species such as kangaroos, apes, and stingrays, to native Russian animals like Amur tigers and leopards. Take a break at one of the cafes where you can relax and have a drink, or taste some of the traditional and international recipes. There is also a selection of play areas, rides, and other attractions for both kids and adults. You are not allowed to feed the animals with products brought from the outside, but inside the zoo you can find kiosks that sell specially selected snacks for its inhabitants.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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3. Chkalov Staircase

Climb to the top of Chkalov Staircase for a view of the Volga River. Built during the Soviet era, the construction of the massive staircase was controversial because of the monumental cost, as well as the use of German prisoners of war as labor. Today, the staircase has become one of the city's most popular landmarks. Take the challenge and climb the 1,500 steps from the waterfront up to Minina Square at the top. It's a long walk, but you'll be rewarded with changing views of the river and the kremlin along the way. Wear comfortable shoes for the trek.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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4. Bolshaia Pokrovskaia Street

Walk down Bolshaia Pokrovskaia Street, a pedestrian avenue lined with historical buildings, shops, and cafes. This brick walkway begins at Gorky Square and ends near the River Volga, at the Kremlin fortress. You can watch street performers or visit souvenir shops as you go. Notice important landmarks, monuments, and buildings with classical facades along the way. The area stays up well into the night, featuring many restaurants and bars.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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5. Fedorovsky Embankment

Gaze over the confluence of two great rivers from the high hill of Fedorovsky Embankment. Walk along stairways and passages connecting several terraces at the foot of the monument to the writer Maxim Gorky. The long slope offers great views of the kremlin wall, the multicolored domes of the Nativity church, and the old wooden houses of the neighborhood at the bottom of the embankment.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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6. Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevskiy

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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7. Church of Nativity of Most Holy Mother of God

Rising above the streets and the river, Church of Nativity of Most Holy Mother of God serves as a structure of high national importance and a solid example of Stroganov Baroque architecture. This 18th-century monument, often described as the town's most striking creation, features a red and white ornamented facade and domes of multiple colored tiles. Inside you'll see gilded details and numerous icons, including representations of Saint Nicholas and the Virgin Mary. A dress code usually applies at the site, especially during service times; it's best to dress modestly with your knees and shoulders covered when entering.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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8. Chkalov Monument

By flying his plane from Moscow to Vancouver, Washington, in 1937, Valery Chalkov pioneered the polar route, earning him the status of a hero in the Soviet Union. Chalkov was born in a town close to Nizhny Novgorod and after his premature death the city chose to honor him with an impressive monument on its kremlin. From the plateau on which the monument is located you can gaze over the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers. Leading up to the site is an elegantly designed row of more than 500 steps, also dedicated to Chalkov.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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9. Verhnevolzhskaya Embankment

Enjoy a panoramic perspective at Verhnevolzhskaya Embankment, one of Nizhny Novgorod's main waterfront promenades. Choose a path that goes right next to the Volga River, or opt for the one farther up the hill. Either way, you'll find that it's a good chance to stretch your legs, so go for a casual stroll, or lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement. Be sure to glance across to the other side of the river, where you'll be rewarded with a sweeping view of the forested bank and walls of the Nizhny Novgorod castle.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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11. State Bank

Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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12. Nizhne-Volzhskaya Embankment

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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13. Room Escape Games

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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15. Monument to Minin and Pozharsky

Admire Monument to Minin and Pozharsky, commemorating Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and the merchant Kuzma Minin for leading an army of Russian volunteers to defend Moscow against Polish invasion during the Time of Troubles in 1612. The bronze statue, erected in 1818, was designed by architect Ivan Martos, and is widely recognized as the nation's first monumental sculpture. Walk around the base to see detailed depictions of the defense. The bottom portion depicts townspeople bringing their sons to be armed as part of the volunteer army, referring to the fact that Minin forced the city to provide funds and men for the army by holding the women of the town hostage. Another part of the base shows Polish soldiers fleeing from the city center, pursued by Russian troops. After the 1917 revolution, the Communist authorities declared that the monument, positioned in the center of Red Square, was interfering with Stalin's plans for mass military parades, and moved it to its current location.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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