The 4th of November – a day to remember. At least in Russia. Some people can’t remember what exactly they celebrate nowadays (Unity Day). Just because before the feast had another date – 7th of November – and was dedicated to October revolution. This celebration survived Soviet Union, yet was finally abandonded. As long as people got used to November holidays, state historians burried into “this day in histroy” statistics and found out that … in the beginning of 17th century it was in this autumn month that Russia firstly overcame long period of anarchy and state degradation. So, since 2004 National Unity Day has been celebrated on the 4th of November. Another official holiday in Russia needs to be spent somewhere, but not in Moscow. So we choose to travel to the birth place of super model Natalia Vodyanova – Nizhny Novgorod. And what a symbolic trip it was!
We didn’t know that we came to the most appropriate place for celebration of this holiday – exactly 400 years ago Nizhny Novgorod helped to liberate Russia from Polish invaders and to revive Russian state (with Romanovs coming to power one year later). It the past it was a powerful and rich principality, which competed with Moscow. It was here, where rich people came for shopping from all over Russia in the past. Market traditions seem to be well-kept also nowadays. When we came to the center of the town, the street Rozhdestvenskaya was fully occupied with bright tents, that proposed the best products from the region. There was cakes in a shape of tractor, hedgehogs made of bread, jams from strawberry, cooked pig, sausages, sausages… Oh, and here I stoped to notice anything else. Some of that gastronomic masterpieces were possible to try, some of them were waiting for the governor of the region, who came about midday. Just add to this generous fair folk songs and “duck dances” (sea picture!) and you will have a great idea for the next 4th of November!
The introduction to the city was very warm, what I can’t say about weather. When it’s windy, even +5 C turns to -1 C, especially uphill. And old town is situated mostly upstairs, so you need to climb for getting to its best sightseeing points. One of such is gorgeous Kremlin, which rises with its massive brick walls above the city. Somewhere here Nizhny Novgorod was founded in 13th century. I looked up and was afraid – even 5 centuries later those walls looked impregnable. Luckily my shoes were without hills.
What I saw from uphill was just breathtaking! Wide Oka river flows to even wider Volga, dividing the town into two pieces. The numerous pathes and stairs reminded some kind of a ribbon. From one side there were colourful and elegant houses, from the other – a view to 8-shaped stairs named after aircraft test pilot Chkalov.
The main street called Bolshaya Pokrovskaya leads to the main entrance of Kremlin. It is pedestrian and always crowded. To enterntain they erected several monuments on it and people found a reason to make more pictures. Children like to pose on iron goat, youth prefer a sculpture of metal cats hunting birds. Personally I loved a grey building, which belongs to the State bank. Only this fairy ”fortress’ is the reason for bankers to dedicate a career to finances. This 2232 m long street ends up near the main square named after a famous Russian writer. Gorky was also the name of Nizhny Novgorod during the Soviet times. This is also a name of a brand new metro station, which was the first one to connect 2 parts of the city on opposite banks of Oka river. And this important event happend during our visit, on the 4th of November! We were so lucky to test it among the firsts! When you somehow relate to such a historical moment you feel trully special! Just like when you take a cable car across the longest river in Europe, Volga – one of the longest and highest cable cars on the continent. When it was opened in February 2012, it didn’t have a goal to enterntain. The 3660 metres long aerial tramway had to connect Nizhny Novgorod with neighbor town Bor, so that people can go to work without standing 3 hours in a traffick jam on a bridge. Bor’s inhabitans now spent only 12 minutes on their way to the city and in addition they have a view to envy. What a great recipe against boring way to work and also for waking up – looking down even the bravest person keeps eyes wide open. This was the most weird public transportation I’ve ever used!