Two days is nothing compared to eternity, too long for a lover waiting for his mistress, and just enough for you to discover Nizhny Novgorod’s main attractions, if you follow our guide. Day 1 below.
The Nizhny Novgorod Fair, the oldest indoor market in Russia, was created in 1817 for merchants from all over the world (the Great Volga Route passed through the city at the time, so the Fair’s grand opening was to everyone’s advantage). If market fairs aren't your thing, come here for the architecture. This magnificent building is definitely worth stopping by during the early morning hours. The Nizhny Novgorod Fair opens at 9 AM and so do all the street food vendors around - so why not spend your first morning hours here? Buy some trinkets and a coffee and enjoy your early morning snack in a small park just in front.
From the fair go directly to the famous Rozhdestvenskaya Ulitsa - this winding street has barely changed since the 19th century, so a walk here will definitely immerse you in the quiet life of imperial Russia. Rozhdestvenskaya Ulitsa will lead you to the most impressive architectural ensembles of Nizhny Novgorod. Try to spot the famous Blinovsky passage - the prototype of modern trade centers built in 1876-1878. In front of it, you’ll find the Markin square, named after the founder of the Volga Military Flotilla. In the center of the square, you’ll see a monument to the heroes of the Volga navy. Among the buildings typical to the Russian province, you’ll hardly miss the gothic motifs of Rukavishnikov’s Trading House. In the heart of this neighborhood you’ll also see another architectural masterpiece - the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was built by the merchant Stroganoff in 1697.
Step away from the busy historical center to the Nizhne-Volzhskaya embankment, where you can walk along the mighty Volga river and find a lovely picnic spot with a view - after all, it’s already lunch time!
From the Nizhne-Volzhskaya embankment you may walk up towards the Church of the Holy Prophet Elijah. This seemingly modest church became one of the most famous ones in Nizhny Novgorod thanks to a poem about a 16th century legend. It tells the story of the young governor Ivan Simsky, who defended Nizhny Novgorod from numerous Tatar troops using cannons, which were unfamiliar to the locals at that time. The church was built in honor of this unexpected victory and was named after the patron of cannon fight Prophet Elijah.
Keep walking upwards, from the church, and you’ll find yourself on the spacious Ploshchad’ Narodnogo Edinstva. This square is considered to be the historical and cultural center of the city. In the middle of the square you will see a monument to Minin and Pozharsky, the key figures in the consolidation of Russian lands in the XVII century. However, the main attraction here is the elegant Church of Nativity of John Predtecha (Baptist) founded in the 14th century.