With everything from medieval defenses to a large high end shopping center worthy of a metropolis city, Nizhny Novgorod as an array of attractions to suit any tastes. When visiting Nizhny, Pokrovskaya Street is an ideal first stop! You can get a taste for what Nizhny has in store when wandering this beautiful pedestrian street.
Things to look for: Statues
Along this street are a number of metal statues and sculptures. It is common for tourists to take their pictures with any of these lively characters that strikes their interest. Examples include a man and a mutt with an old-fashioned camera, a goat, a postal worker on with his bicycle, a couple in turn of the century clothes, and many others!
Things to look for: Shopping
This strip of pedestrian road way is roughly nine tenths of a mile, spanning from Gorky Square to Minin Square. Both sides of the roads a decorated with cafes, posh restaurants, and trendy boutiques. If shopping in brick and mortar establishments is to ‘mainstream’ for you, there are a number of street vendors selling everything from trinkets to clothing in their canvas tents. You can buy paintings along the street as well as souvenirs. Along this road is also a huge store selling the finest of Russian traditional arts and crafts. It carries everything from painted punch bowls shaped like swans to scarves and nesting dolls. The only problem with this store is the price. At the moment it is outside our student budgets.
Things to look for: The Bank
Strange as it may sound, the bank that stands on Pokrovskaya Street is a beautiful, castle like building constructed between 1911-1913. Though normally closed to the public, we were lucky enough to come during the banks anniversary, May 17th. On this day they opened the bank to the public in honor of its centennial. If you are planning a trip to Nizhny, look to see if the bank is opened for its anniversary or another event. The interior is worth it! The entire interior is covered in frescos, spanning every vaulted ceiling and coating all of the walls. The bank was built in the highest fashion, and a good example of what the latest styles were toward the end of Imperial Russia. If the decor isn’t enough to draw you in, I should mention that in the lobbies of both the first and second floor are floor-to-ceiling magical mirrors. They supposedly grant wishes, but you have to look at yourself in them while thinking about your wish. The ground floor mirror grants immaterial wishes only [think ‘world peace’ or something similiar here], while the upstairs mirror only grants material wishes [why yes, I do wish I had one billion dollars….]
Things to look for: Street Performers
It is not uncommon to see groups of musicians performing along the street in front of the shops. So far, I have experienced some American songs, a saxophone player, a charity concert, and a couple of accordion plays. The variety is something that is hard to stress. A young man can be playing guitar and singing a pop hit on one side of the street, while another is playing songs from Carmen on the accordion on the other side.
Things to look for: The Kremlin
If you walk this street from the metro stop at Gorky Square to Minin Square, you will end up at the Kremlin and the large monument to Chkalov, the first pilot to fly from Russia to North America over the North Pole. Nizhny Novgorod is famous for its Kremlin, which is almost identical in age, size, and style to the Moscow Kremlin. Because the Kremlin is so iconic it gets its own post, hopefully coming soon!