Nizhny Novgorod Oblast (Russian: Нижегоро́дская о́бласть nee-zhyh-gah-ROHT-skuh-yuh OH-bluhst') is a region in the Upper Volga, bordering Ryazan Oblast to the southwest, Vladimir Oblast to the west, Ivanovo Oblast to the northwest, Kostroma Oblast to the north, Kirov Oblast to the northeast, Mari El to the east, Chuvashia to the southeast, and Mordovia to the south.
- 1 Nizhny Novgorod — Russia's fourth largest city, the regional capital, located at the confluence of the Volga and Oka Rivers, and the hub for the Volga Region; be sure to visit the kremlin and the Sakharov Museum
- Arzamas — the region's third largest city is most notable for its grandiose Resurrection Cathedral, built to commemorate Russia's victory over Napoleon in 1812
- Balakhna — a small historic city with several noteworthy architectural monuments, including the 16th century Saint Nicholas Church
- Bogorodsk — a small town with a pretty, well-preserved central square and cathedral, as well as several 19th century estates outside the town that have been converted into parks
- Bolshoye Boldino (Veliko Boldino) — a historic village that served as the estate of one very famous A.S. Pushkin; the village now has several worthwhile museums dedicated to the poet and hosts the All-Russia Poetry Prize Festival each year on the first Sunday of June
- Bor — you can see this city while looking across the Volga from Nizhny Novgorod's downtown. Center of ship-building and glass-making industry
- Dzerzhinsk — the region's second largest city is one of the world's most polluted, due to its history as a major chemicals production site, and has life expectancies of less than 50 years for both men and women; the city was until 1990 closed to foreigners, but is now open for those who wish to see its singular and towering hyperboloid Shukhov Tower on the banks of the Oka River
- Kstovo — a small Soviet-era industrial city (petrochemicals), which grew out of on an old village of the same name. Kstovo is home to the World Sambo Academy; an important 18th-century church is in the adjacent village of Veliky Vrag
- 2 Gorodets — an historic town, founded by Prine Yuriy Dolgorukiy in 1152, which lost a number of churches to atheistic campaigns under the USSR, but retains some wonderful fairytale-like wooden houses.
- Sarov — a small closed city, formerly a secret city known as Arzamas-16, which serves as a major center for Russia (and the USSR's) nuclear program, has rather European architecture since it was built by German POWs, and is located near the holy Sarova monastery; in reference to the US nuclear program at Los Alamos, researchers here fondly call the city "Los Arzamas"
- Kerzhensky Nature Reserve
- Makaryevsky Monastery — a huge and beautiful monastery on the Volga River, which is easily reached by a summer 3 hour long hydrofoil from Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod Oblast is one of the most populous and economically important regions of the Volga Region, centered on its capital Nizhny Novgorod. Aside from the capital itself, the region is perhaps best known outside of Russia for its tradition of making painted, wooden matryoshka dolls. Less known, perhaps, are Khokhloma handicraft.
See Russian phrasebook.
The city of Nizhny Novgorod is one of the first major stops from Moscow on one of the main routes of the Trans-Siberian Railway (8 hour trip). Several trains form Moscow terminate in Nizhny Novgorod (two overnight trains and one or two faster day trains). Many others continue beyond, to Kirov, Perm, Yekaterinburg, and points east, up to Vladivostok and Beijing. Some of these trains also stop at a number of other stations as they cross the oblast, e.g. Dzerzhinsk before reaching the Nizhny, or Semenov, Shakhunya and Uren beyond it. These trains usually leave from Moscow's Kursk Station or Yaroslavl Station.
Several faster trains (Lastochka and Strizh) make the trip between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod in about 4 hours.
There is also a direct daily train to Nizhny Novgorod from Saint Petersburg, and, at least during the summer seasons, from a number of destinations on the Black Sea coast, such as Adler (for Sochi). Trains from Nizhny Novgorod also travel south, to/from Saransk (Mordovia) and Kazan (via the Kanash junction in Chuvashia.
Some cities in southern part of the oblast (Navashino, Arzamas, Sergach) are easily reachable by trains running on another route (Moscow-Kazan) of the Trans-Siberian system. They leave from Moscow's Kazan Station.
Nizhny Novgorod's Strigino airport (GOI) had a new terminal opened in 2016, just when most of direct international flights to Nizhny Novgorod (Lufthansa from Frankfurt, Finnair from Helsinki, or Czech from Prague) were terminated. The city is still served by inexpensive domestic flights from major Russian cities—the flight from Moscow is as cheap as $35. Kaliningrad based KD Avia offers flights to Kaliningrad and then on to a number of Russian and international destinations. There are also direct flights to a number of destination in Central Asia (popular with migrant workers), and (mostly charter or seasonal) flights to some Mediterranean tourist destinations.
The airport is served by several city bus lines (in daytime only). One can take any of these buses to get to the nearest subway lines, and then take subway to wherever it goes.
Nizhny Novgorod is frequently included as a stop on summer boat cruises on the Volga River; some boats also stop at the Makariev Monastery.
A fair number of intercity buses circulate along the Volga Highway (aka M7), between Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Cheboksary, and Kazan. While less convenient than trains, buses allow access to towns not served by rail, such as Lyskovo.
The main train station in Nizhny Novgorod is the Moscow Station (Московский Вокзал), located in the Lower City (Zarechnaya Chast, i.e. across the Oka River from the old city center). Besides serving all of the long-distance trains, it is also sends commuter trains in 6 directions throughout much of the oblast:
- west (the Moscow line), to Dzerzhinsk, Seima (for Volodarsk) and points west toward Vladimir.
- north-east (the Kirov line), to Semenov, Shakhunya etc.
- south (the Arazamas line), to Arzamas, from where some continue east toward Sergach.
- north-west (the Zavolzhye branch), to Balakhna and Zavolzhye (for Gorodets).
- south-west (the Metallist branch), to Bogorodsk and Metallist (for Pavlovo).
Naturally, if you are going to a more remote city in the oblast (e.g. Arzamas or Lukoyanov in the south-east, or Shakhunya in the north), you can also buy a ticket for a long-distance train that passes through it. This will be much more expensive, though.
There is also a little known terminal station of Myza, near Gagarin Avenue in the Upper City of Nizhny Novgorod (i.e., east of the Oka). Inconveniently located several miles south of the city center, it only sends a few trains a day to the Metallist branch and to the Zeletsino branch (south-east), for Kstovo.
Southern part of the oblast is served by the Moscow-Kazan railway, with stations in Navashino, Arzamas, Sergach, etc.
There is no rail line due east of Nizhny Novgorod. Instead, one can take a bus along the M7 highway (the Kazan highway). Commuter buses for Kstovo and other destinations nearby go from the Sennaya bus station a few blocks east of Sennaya Square; to go further east, take a bus from the Main Bus Station (Avtovokzal) near Lyadov Square.
One can also take a bus from the Main Bus Station to various points throughout the southern half of the oblast, e.g. Arzamas.
Buses to the west (toward Moscow), northwest (Chkalovsk), and north (Bor) run mostly from a bus station near Nizhny Novgorod's Moscow Station.
In the summer, hydrofoil boats (colloquially known as Raketa, after the first model of them) used to run from Nizhny Novgorod's River Terminal (Rechnoy Vokzal) down the Volga, to Rabotki, Makaryevo, and beyond. Unfortunately, by 2010, most of these services have been cancelled.
Ferryboats from downtown Nizhny Novgorod run to Bor across the river (very frequent service). There is also much less frequent service (half a dozen trips a day) between Lyskovo and Marakyevo, providing easy access to Makaryev Monastery. Both systems transport passengers and vehicles.
A unique installation for central Russia, an aerial ropeway spans the Volga, connecting Nizhny Novgorod with Bor. The scenic service is very frequent, although somewhat pricey for such a short distance (90 RUR, as of 2016).
Outside of the cities, there are a number of important monasteries within Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, such as Makaryev Monastery (across the Volga from Lyskovo), or the Diveyevo Monastry not far from Sarov, in the southwest of the province.