The Nizhny Novgorod city is the most economically progressive and reformist in Russia. History decreed that the Nizhny Novgorod city should be the "heart of Mother Russia", situated as it is in the very center of the European part of the Russian Federation, on the banks of the River Volga.
Nizhny Novgorod recently regained its original name, having been renamed as Gorky in 1932 in honor of the celebrated author Maxim Gorky, who was born in Nizhny Novgorod. The City has advantageous geographical location for economic and social development. The City covers an area of 41,1 thousands ha., population - 1370,2 thousands pers., average age of inhabitants - 36 years, Russian population - 95%. The City has 8 administrative districts.
Nizhny Novgorod occupies the 5th position among most populated and industrially developed cities of Russia, is a center of Nizhny Novgorod region and a recognized capital of the Volga economic region.
It was founded in 1221 by Grand Prince Yury Vsevolodovich. The magnificent geographical situation of the town was instrumental in making Nizhny Novgorod a major commercial centre in Russia in the 19th century. The widely-renowned Nizhny Novgorod trade fair, which first took place in the 16th century near the monastery at Makarev, moved to the city in 1817, and became the largest trade fair in Russia and one of the most important centers for wholesale and retail trading.
Historically Nizhny Novgorod has always been a leader in Russia, from the tire the city was founded in 1221 as a defense post at its strategic location at the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers, to its days as Russia's leading center of commerce before the Bolshevik Revolution, and even as it was as a major industrial center under Soviet rule.
You need only to walk down the streets to sense the renaissance in NizhnyNovgorod, where the visible changes, construction, renovation and restoration continue unabated, a place in a rush to catch up with the rest of the world. It's not only cosmetic. Foreign investment was growing and Industrial output was revers-ing the long decline that had marked Russia's transition to a market economy The future of Russia is being written in Nizhny Novgorod.
Despite its rich historical heritage, Nizhny Novgorod tends to be better known in the West as the city to which Andrei Sakharov, "father of the H-bomb", then later awarded the Nobel prize for his work defending human rights, was exiled.
A great number of historical, architectural and cultural monuments has remained in the City, what gave premises to UNESCO for inclusion of Nizhny Novgorod in the list of 100 cities constituting world historical and cultural value. In the course of centuries of its history Nizhny Novgorod has been playing a noticeable role in the country's life.
Industry occupies a significant place in the City's structure. It's represented by 144 large and middle-sized enterprises of 13 different branches, where employed 212 thousands prs. - 45% working people of the City.
The principal branches - car building and metal-working industry, ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, wood manufacturing, food and light, medical and printing industries. These branches compose 95% of all the City's industry. In the structure of branches of the public facilities in the gross volume of produced goods and services of the City industry forms 56%. Guideline of machine building is transport machine building: auto-industry, ship-building, plane construction, diesel engines' production.
Actually, infrastructure of Nizhny Novgorod consumer market includes 3 priority-driven directions:
1. Trade network of Nizhny Novgorod includes 2200 shops, 1250 mini shops and 1229 units of retail trade;
2. Enterprises of public service - 1085;
3. Enterprises of home service - 811, providing 18 kinds of services.
In Nizhny Novgorod within the framework of a social program is being actively developed a network of "social shops". Today their number has attained 32.
Opening of a network of discount shops is a new direction of the work of the City's authorities. Today there are 3 opened shops, soon their number will grow.
Nizhny Novgorod is one of the largest cultural centers of Russia. There are 7 professional theatres, each providing 4,6 ths. seats, including 3 municipal theatres, each providing 3 ths. seats: the Opera Theatre, the Drama Theatre, the Theatre of Young Spectator, the Puppet Theatre, the Comedy Theatre, and the Philharmonic Hall with its symphonic orchestra.
8 municipal parks of culture and rest occupy an area of 220 ha. The park "Switzerland" is the only zoo in the Nizhny Novgorod region.
New programs of the circus "Shapito" and the planetarium are quite popular among children.
There are 30 christian churches in the city, (from them 5 are cathedrals), a mosque and a synagogue.
Excursions of Nizhny Novgorod on various themes are of great interest for those who are interested in the history, architecture, and religion as well as in the modern life of our city.