Nizhny Novgorod Region
// GENERAL INFORMATION
Nizhny Novgorod Region occupies a convenient geographical location along the 57th parallel. It is situated at the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers and serves in a sense as a bridge between the European and Asian parts of Russia. Nizhny Novgorod Region borders on Kostroma Region in the northwest, Vladimir and Ivanovo regions in the west, Ryazan Region in the southwest, the Republic of Mordovia in the south and southeast, the Chuvash Republic and the Republic of Mari El in the east, and Kirov Region in the north and northeast. The region is part of the Volga-Vyatka economic district.
Owing to its strong industry and stable agriculture, Nizhny Novogorod Region is also in a favorable socioeconomic and political position. The region's cultural and historical heritage has contributed greatly to its spiritual and intellectual influence on European Russia.
The region covers an area of 80 500 km2, which is approximately equal to the entire area of the Benelux countries. Agricultural land occupies 41% of this area; forests, 48%, lakes and rivers, 2%; and other lands, 9%.
Nizhny Novgorod Region has a population of 3.7 million people (about 2.5% of the population of Russia), 78.2% of whom live in urban areas; the population density is 48.5 people per km2. The region is divided administratively and territorially into 52 districts, 25 cities, 71 district centers, and 4600 villages. There are 11 cities under regional jurisdiction (Arzamas, Balakhna, Bogorodsk, Bor, Vyksa, Gorodets, Dzerzhinsk, Kstovo, Kulebaki, Pavlovo, and Sarov) and 14 cities under district jurisdiction (Vetluga, Bolodarsk, Vorsma, Gorbatov, Zavolzhe, Lukoyanov, Lyskovo, Navashino, Pervomaisk, Semenov, Sergach, Uren, Chkalovsk, and Shakhunya).
The regional center is the city of Nizhny Novgorod located 400 km northeast of Moscow. It has a population of 1.4 million, making it Russia's third-largest city.
The main industrial sectors are car manufacturing, engineering, food processing, and the chemical and petrochemical industries.
HISTORY OF NIZHNY NOVGOROD
The Russian chronicles say that Nizhny Novgorod was founded by Grand Prince Yuri in 1221. The new town's convenient location at the confluence of two great rivers, the Volga and the Oka, determined its main tasks: protection against invasions and development of trade. From the very beginning the town was surrounded by a moat, and a wooden Kremlin was erected.
In 1350, Nizhny Novgorod became the capital of the Nizhny Novgorod principality. The prince's palace, stone cathedrals, and monasteries were built in the Kremlin. The new capital began to develop trade and crafts and began to construct a new system of fortifications and mint its own coins.
Nizhny Novgorod became the cultural center of Russia. In the 14th century, both the great Russian philosopher Pavel Visoky and the talented painter Prokhor (the predecessor of Andrei Rublev) lived here, and the monk Lavrenti wrote a chronicle of Russian history.
Between its founding date and the 14th century, Nizhny Novgorod was burned and destroyed seven times by the tribes and armies of the Tatars; but after each invasion the people rebuilt the city.
In the late 14th century, Moscow pursued a policy of uniting all the Russian lands. Nizhny Novgorod lost its independence in 1393 and was incorporated into the Moscow principality.
Construction of the stone Kremlin was finished in the early 14th century. After its incorporation, Nizhny Novgorod lost its military significance and began to develop trade and shipping. Its location at the intersection of the most important East-West trade routes worked to its advantage.
The people of Nizhny Novgorod played a significant role in the fate and history of Russia when they headed the patriotic movement in the "Time of Troubles" (1603-1613). Two citizens of Nizhny Novgorod, Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pozharski, and their people's army crushed the Polish invaders and saved Russia. In memory of that event, Archangel Cathedral and a granite obelisk were built in the Kremlin.
The people of Nizhny Novgorod took an active part in the reforms of Peter the Great. Their sailmaking experience was instrumental in the founding of the Russian navy. The ships built for the Azov and Persian wars and the soldiers of regiments formed in Nizhny Novgorod distinguished themselves in battle.
The reconstruction of Nizhny Novgorod began in the second half of the 17th century. The Uspenskaya, Ilynskaya and Strogonovskaya churches dating from this period have survived and preserve their beauty even today.
Nizhny Novgorod also developed its cultural life. Prince Shakhovskoy founded the first theater in Nizhny Novgorod in 1798, and the brilliant inventor Kulibin spent his entire life in this city.
In 1817, the celebrated trade fair in Makarev was transferred to Nizhny Novgorod, and Nizhny Novgorod became a city of international importance. Merchants from Russia and many European and Asian countries gathered in the city to trade and engage in profitable enterprises. The fair influenced the reconstruction of the city, in which a large complex of fair buildings appeared.
A new reconstruction plan begun in 1837 led to the building of the governor's palace, a new cathedral, and a Kremlin garden. The old moats were filled in, and a promenade was constructed. A water supply system was established in 1847.
The city's industrial period began in the second half of the 19th century, and Nizhny Novgorod became one of Russia's largest industrial centers. The Sormovo plant founded in 1849 played a leading role in shipbuilding and machine manufacture. More than 10,000 people worked there producing riverboats and railway cars. Kurbatov (founded in 1857) and Yakovlev were other large plants connected with shipbuilding. (About half of all Russian ships were built in Nizhny Novgorod, and the first motorized ships in the world were produced here.) Nizhny Novgorod was connected with Moscow by railway in 1862, and the Sormovo plant produced its first locomotive in 1898. In 1897, Bugrov and Bashirov, the city's richest merchants, set up a weaving plant that became one of the largest in Russia.
Rozhdestvenskaya Street (now Mayakovsky Street) became the center of Nizhny Novgorod. Hotels and restaurants, trading houses, the largest, richest banks, and the offices of shipbuilding companies were all located there. In the early 20th century the main fair house, the Nizhny Novgorod branch of the State Bank (1913), and the People's House and Duma (1904) were built in the city. The first funicular railway in Russia was built for the opening of the All-Russian Industrial Exhibition in 1896.
After the Revolution of 1917, the Communist leaders tried to wipe out the old culture. Many churches and historical buildings were destroyed, and many progressive and educated people of the city were imprisoned or killed.
Nizhny Novgorod remained the industrial center in the USSR. The largest auto plant in Russia was founded here in 1937. But it was only in 1990, after the decline of Communist regime, that the fair was revived.
The city is linked with the name of the great Russian scientist and fighter for democracy Andrei Sakharov. He was exiled to Nizhny Novgorod because of his anti-militaristic ideas and his fight for democracy and freedom.
Now the city is restoring its historical and cultural facilities. The museums of Nizhny Novgorod are an interesting part of our cultural life and historical heritage.
The Nizhny Novgorod Art Museum was founded in 1896. Its first paintings were donated by local collectors and amateurs; among them was writer Maxim Gorky, who presented paintings by Rerikh, Kustodiev, and Nesterov from his own collection. The Russian Academy of Art made a great contribution to our museum. After the revolution of 1917 and the nationalization of private collections, the Art Museum became one of the best in Russia. It now has more than 10,000 exhibits. Old Russian art is represented by unique paintings and icons of the 14th through 19th centuries. The museum is divided into Old Russian, Modern Russian, and Eastern European exhibition halls. All styles and trends are represented. The works of celebrated Russian painters like Repin, Vasnesov, Shishkin, Serov, and Rerikh, known throughout the world, are on display here.
The Historical and Architectural Museum was founded in 1867. Many foreign visitors, after seeing the museum, begin to understand how rich the traditions of the Russian people are as they become acquainted with the old way of life. The museum has a rich collection of ethnic costumes, crafts, glassware, and china.
The theaters of Nizhny Novgorod are central to its cultural life. The city has six theaters: the Drama Theater, Opera and Ballet Theater, Comedy Theater, Nizhny Novgorod State Philharmonic, Puppet Theater, and the Young People's Theater.
The Drama Theater of Nizhny Novgorod, founded by Prince Shakhovskoy in 1798, is the oldest in the city. Well-known actors have performed in our theater for almost 200 years. Now both classic and modern works are performed here.
The Opera and Ballet Theater was opened after the reconstruction of the former People's House in 1935. It is one of the favorite theaters among the people of Nizhny Novgorod. Young spectators love the Puppet Theater.
Nizhny Novgorod is also a university center. The State University, University of Foreign Languages, Medical University, and the University of Naval Architecture are all located here.
The forests of Nizhny Novgorod Region consist mainly of pine (43.2%) and birch (34.9%), with some spruce (7.1%), aspen (10%), and other species (4.8%); total timber reserves are 352.16 million m3. The region itself is located within three natural zones: coniferous forest or taiga, deciduous (oak) forest, and steppe. Soils are mainly sod-podzolic and podzolic. In 1934, Gorky University received a forest tract for a biological station in the area of the Pustynskie Sink Lakes near the village of Staraya Pustyn, Arzamassky District (Pustynsky Reserve). Other reserves, e.g., Kerzhensky, Buturlinsky, Dalne-Konstantinovsky, and Navashinsky, were established later (there are 14 altogether). By a Decree of the Gorky Regional Soviet of October 20, 1965, 30 rare and notable natural sites in the region, including Bornukovskaya Cave and the Ichalkovsky pine forest, were placed under protection.
A list of several dozen medicinal and other wild plants of Gorky Region whose collection was prohibited was approved in 1978. Steppe areas, bogs, and lakes with rare and relict plant species, forest tracts with valuable tree species and rare species of underbrush and grasses, arboretums, old parks and laneways, and unique trees were all declared protected.
The region is taking a series of measures to protect the habitats of animals and birds such as the muskrat, marten, beaver, otter, black stork, golden eagle, and various owls. Bears, moose, wild boars, wolves, lynx, wolverines, foxes, badgers, and grouse are some of the other inhabitants of the forests of Nizhny Novgorod Region.
There are more than 9000 rivers and streams in the region with a total length of 33 000 km. The Volga flows for 260 km through the region, and the Oka for 268 km. Other large rivers include the Sura, Vetluga, Pyana, Kerzhenets, and Pizhma. Due to its location on main waterways, the city of Nizhny Novgorod has a large river port with access to the Baltic, Black, Caspian, and White seas and the Sea of Azov.
Explored reserves of drinking and process water in the region amount to 2.67 million m3/day. There are extensive subsurface reserves of low-mineral sulfate drinking water, as well as chloride, sodium, and bromine brines used in medicine.
More than 40 species of fish inhabit the reservoirs, rivers, and lakes of the Volga-Vyatka zone. Among them are 4 species of perch, 20 species of carp, 1 species each of pike, catfish, and cod, and several species of loach.
There are more than 7000 lakes in Nizhny Novgorod Region, the most famous of which is Lake Svetloyar. Rimsky-Korsakov dedicated an opera to it; Maxim Gorky and V.G. Korolenko wrote about it, and K.A. Korovin, M.K. Klodt, and N.K. Rerikh painted it.
Enormous reserves (more than 2.5 billion tons) of rock salt suitable for producing high-grade table salt, chlorine, and caustic soda have been discovered in the region. The southern part of the region also has small deposits of nonferrous (copper, lead, and zinc) and rare (molybdenum) metals, trace elements (scandium, yttrium, and lanthanum), and rare earth elements (neodymium, cerium, and ytterbium). There are extensive deposits of building sand in the region, as well as large reserves of gypsum, anhydrite, peat, and sapropel [aquatic ooze].
Along with a favorable geographical location that has made Nizhny Novgorod a connecting link between Europe and Asia, the drive and initiative of its people and their willingness to devise and carry out bold projects has contributed to the region's economic development. The region's reputation for strong industry and daring economic experiments is growing year by year, and the city is better known outside Russia now than it was only ten years ago.
Nizhny Novgorod Region ranks seventh in Russia in industrial output, while the processing industry predominates in the local economy. The mining industry accounts for only 1.7% of total production. Among regions belonging to the Great Volga (Bolshaya Volga) Association, Nizhny Novogorod is in third place after Samara Region and the Republic of Tatarstan. More than 633 industrial companies employ nearly 700 000 people, or 62% of the workforce involved in material production.
Industry generates 83% of the regional GDP and makes 89% of all material expenditures. The leading sectors are engineering and metalworking, followed by the chemical and petrochemical industries and the forestry, woodworking, and paper industries. The first three sectors account for about 75% of all industrial production. In addition, there are other smaller but still important sectors, for example, clothing, shoes, building materials, and the food industry.
The engineering industry is mainly oriented towards transportation, i.e., the auto industry, shipbuilding, diesel engines, aircraft manufacture, and machine tools, with the auto industry being the leading sector (50%).
The national importance of these industries is shown by the fact that 34% of the trucks and 26% of the buses produced in Russia are made in Nizhny Novgorod Region. Car manufacturing began here in 1932 with the construction of the Gorky Automobile Plant (GAZ). Today, AO GAZ is the region's largest company. The plant has close ties with many allied companies. Various auto industry facilities in other Russian regions and the CIS were relocated to Nizhny Novgorod Region to form the basis of a regional production complex. At present, there are ten plants in Nizhny Novgorod Region and other areas of the Volga-Vyatka economic district producing assembled units, accessories, and components for the auto industry. Among them are AO Etna, Zavolzhye Motor Plant (ZMZ), Lyskovo Electrical Engineering Plant (Lyskovsky elektrotekhnichesy zavod), Pavlovo Tool Plant (Pavlovsky instrumentalny zavod), Bor Glassworks (Borsky stekolny zavod), and Bogorodsky Tannery (Bogorodsky kozhzavod). New auto industry plants have been built in Pavlovo (buses), Zavolzhe (caterpillar tractors), and Arzamas (car parts). Various goods and raw materials for the region's auto industry are supplied from plants in the Volga region, the Urals, and southern Russia.
Shipbuilding, unlike car manufacturing, is an old traditional Nizhny Novgorod industry. Large shipbuilding companies involved in full-scale production of modern ships grew up around the old Russian shipyards of Sormovo and Mordovshchikov (Navashino). The industry continues to build innovative river and sea-going vessels, combined river-sea vessels, diesel-electric ships, train ferries, catamarans, hydrofoils, hovercraft, and airfoil boats. Shipbuilding, like the auto industry, has an extensive production network. Shipyards, ship-repair works, and mechanical plants operate in the cities of Gorodets, Chkalovsk, and Bor and in Vorotynsky, Borsky, Vyksunsky, and Bogorodsky districts. These facilities build floating cranes, landing stages, docks, reinforced concrete vessels, pontoons, and other ships; manufacture winches, water heaters, pumps, and other shipbuilding products; and repair ships. AO RUMO of Nizhny Novgorod is a leading producer of marine engines and Russia's largest diesel engine manufacturer.
AO Melinvest, which has operated in Nizhny Novogorod for nearly 130 years, produces modern automated systems used in the food industry. Chemical engineering received a boost with the formation of the Khimmash group of companies, which operates plants in Dzerzhinsk, Zavolzhe, Semenov, and other cities of the Volga-Vyatka region. The machine tool and metalworking industries are located in Nizhny Novgorod, the Volga-Oka area, and in old metal industry districts of the region (Pavlovsky, Vachsky, and Sosnovsky). These industries specialize in the manufacture of blanks, tools, and hardware for the engineering industry, as well as metal consumer goods (knives, forks, scissors, locks, etc.), medical instruments, and fitting/assembly, automotive, and woodworking tools. The leading machine tool company is AO ZeFS, which manufactures N/C [numerical control] milling machines equipped with microprocessors. Many engineering and metalworking plants also produce various household appliances and other consumer goods for leisure and home use.
The chemical and petrochemical industries have contributed significantly to the region's industrial development. Construction of several chemical plants began in Dzerzhinsk in the 1920s. Today, Dzerzhinsk is one of the country's largest chemical production centers. Synthetic corundum used in manufacturing textile machinery, lasers, and jewelry was first developed here. Dzerzhinsk chemical plants produce sulfuric acid, fatty acids, caustic soda, PVC resins and copolymers, organic glass, plastics, highly effective plant protection agents, fertilizers, various catalysts, activators, preservatives, cleaning agents, and many other products. Chemical companies in Nizhny Novgorod Region include Zarya Production Association (PO Zarya); AO Kaprolaktam; state enterprises (GP) Korund, Orgsteklo, and Sverdlov Plant (Zavod im. Sverdlova); Plastic Production Association (PO Plastik); and AO Sintez.
The NORSI Production Association (PO NORSI), established in Kstovo in 1957, is a major producer of gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, fuel oil, oil bitumen, mineral oils, paraffin, and other petroleum products. In the early 1980s, it became the base for a complex producing ethylene, propylene, and benzene delivered by product pipeline to Dzerzhinsk for polymer production.
Dzerzhinsk used to be a city of secret factories, design bureaus, and research institutes that produced state-of-the-art armaments and defense technology, from electronic antiaircraft defense systems, supersonic interceptor fighters, nuclear submarines, and airfoils to atomic and hydrogen bombs. This required a science-intensive, high-technology industry designed to output these products, well-equipped factories, and skilled workers. Nizhny Novgorod Region had all of these then and still has them.
The city's traditional role as a commercial center and the region's defense significance has led to the construction of an extensive transportation infrastructure. The region has more than 1000 km of waterways (most of them are equipped with light fixtures and reflectors and have a guaranteed depth of 3.5 m), more than 14 000 km of roads (with a network density nearly five times the average figure for Russia), and more than 1000 km of railways. The rail network can be considered complete, and electrification is currently nearing completion.
The city has had its own subway since 1985 and an international airport since 1994. The airport serves about 20 Russian routes and one international route (Frankfurt-Nizhny Novgorod operated jointly with Lufthansa), as well as tourist flights to a number of other countries.
The conclusion of a series of international transport agreements offers real prospects for local companies, owing to the fact that two Eurasian transport corridors intersect in Nizhny Novgorod Region: the road and railway Pan-European Corridor No. 2 (Berlin-Warsaw-Minsk-Moscow-Siberia TransSib) and a shipping route (Antarctic-Middle Eastern seas through the Volga Basin).
Today, the city and the region are open for cooperation; many joint projects have been developed and are already being implemented. The region maintains trade relations with many countries and has an export surplus. The largest volume of exports goes to Ukraine, Belarus, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Belgium, and France. Imports come mainly from Ukraine, Germany, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Austria, the Netherlands, China, and the United States.
Nizhny Novgorod Region has traditionally been attractive to investors. In 2002, Moody's rating agency confirmed a Caa1rating based on the region's long-term foreign currency liabilities.
A great deal is also being done to develop the securities market. The stock market infrastructure is quite well developed in Nizhny Novgorod, and the exchange business is expanding. Companies and organizations registered in the region include 1153 joint-stock companies, 63 investment institutions, 34 commercial banks, 35 insurance companies, 1 voucher investment fund, 1 investment fund, 17 nongovernmental pension funds, 2 associations of professional stock market dealers, and 3 exchanges (stock, currency, and agricultural). Nizhny Novgorod Region was one of the first to issue a Eurobond loan, a promising field of activity for everyone. Today, Nizhny Novgorod Region is noted for having relatively highly developed market relations.
The year 1990 marked the revival of the Nizhny Novgorod trade fair after a 60-year lapse. The fair was liquidated on March 16, 1930, by order of the Council of Labor and Defense after more than 300 years of existence (from 1624 to 1817 in Makarev and from 1817 to 1930 in Nizhny Novgorod). Another notable event took place in 1996, when the Nizhny Novgorod fair hosted the All-Russian anniversary exhibition "The Future of Russia" dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the All-Russian Industrial Exhibition of 1896.
Today, the region needs serious partners interested in equitable, long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships. The Administration of Nizhny Novogorod has many specific programs that may be of interest to business partners.
City, district, and regional administrations exercise executive authority in the region. The Administration of Nizhny Novgorod Region headed by the Governor (elected for a four-year term) is the highest executive body.
The Legislative Assembly of Nizhny Novgorod Region headed by the Chairman is the region's highest legislative body (45 deputies elected for four-year terms).
CULTURE AND ART
Nizhny Novgorod is a strikingly picturesque old center of the Volga region. Architectural monuments given new life after many years of restoration work by Nizhny Nogovorod residents lend a special uniqueness to the city. The Kremlin standing on a high bank of the Volga River is the sign of an old Russian city. It occupies a prominent place in the center of Nizhny Novgorod, with nearly 2 km of walls up to 12 m high. The Kremlin's terraced walls and towers descend almost to the riverbank on two sides. Archangel (Arkhangelsky) Cathedral (1631; architects L. and A. Vozoulin) is located inside the Kremlin walls. Streets fan out from the gates of the Dmitrovskaya Tower, forming the core of the hillside district of Nizhny Novgorod.
An extensive system of men's and women's monasteries existed in the city from the very earliest times. Annunciation (Blagoveshchensky) Monastery located on a low hill on the bank of the Oka River was founded in the early 14th century. It was destroyed by Prince Purgas of Mordovia and then restored by Metropolitan Aleksy in the second half of the 14th century. Today, it is a functioning monastery.
The Pechersky Monastery was founded in the 14th century by the monk Dionisii of the Kievo-Pechersky Monastery. It was destroyed by a landslide in 1597 and then rebuilt in a new location closer to the city under the direction of journeyman stonemason Antipa Vozoulin. The monastery complex has great architectural significance; many of its buildings are unique examples of old Russian architecture that are preserved only in Nizhny Novgorod.
Serafimo-Diveevsky Monastery of the Holy Trinity (Svyato-Troitsky) in the village of Diveevo is the resting place of the relics of St. Serafim Sarovsky (1759-1833). Today, it is a functioning convent.
According to tradition, Makarii Zheltovodsky founded Makarevo-Zheltovodsky Monastery (near the village of Makarevo, Lyskovsky District) in 1435. The Tatars destroyed it in 1439, and restoration began only in 1620. A small market set up at the monastery turned into a grand All-Russian trade fair.
Along with the Kremlin cathedrals and monasteries, old Nizhny Novgorod had many parish churches. The first stone churches were built inside the Kremlin walls [Transfiguration of the Saviour (Spaso-Preobrazhensky) and Archangel Michael (Mikhailo-Arkhangelsky) cathedrals] and then at Blagoveshchensky Monastery.
Afanasy Olisov, merchant and architect Semen Zadorin, and salt manufacturer G.D. Stroganov each built three stone churches; and townsmen Ivan Yazykov, Gavrila Dranishnikov, Yakov Pushnikov, and others built one each. The people of Nizhny Novgorod maintained the tradition of building stone churches right up to the beginning of the 20th century.
From the end of the 18th century onward, the Synod allowed the construction of churches designed by certified architects only, and from 1825 on, only those with standard facades, which led to sameness and repetitiveness. However, in the latter part of the 19th century, architects began reverting to a great variety of historical prototypes, which encouraged the construction of new, distinctive church buildings in Nizhny Novgorod.
Trinity (Troitsky) Cathedral (built 1658-1664) with frescoes dating from the 17th and early 18th centuries was situated on the left bank of the Volga River. Three other churches were located on the cathedral grounds: Assumption Refectory (Uspenskaya Trapeznaya) Church (1654), Archangel Michael Portal Church [Nadvratnaya tserkov Mikhaila Arkhangela (1670)], and Makarev (Makarevskaya) Church (1808).
Nizhny Novogorod land itself has a wealth of historical and cultural monuments, such as St. Nicholas (Nikolskaya) Church in the city of Balakhna (1552), built in commemoration of the capture of Kazan and the end of centuries of struggle against the Tatar khans; Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral in the village of Purekh, Chkalovsky District (1620-1647), built by the Russian national hero Prince Dmitry Pozharski and his son on an estate granted by Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich; and the Florishcheva Hermitage near the village of Florishchi, Volodarsky District (late 17th - early 18th centuries), founded under the patronage of Tsar Fedor Alekseevich. Other outstanding monuments include the Church of the Smolensk Mother of God (Tserkov Smolenskoi Bozhei Materi; 1697) in Gordeevka, noted for its splendid white stone fretwork; the baroque-style church of the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin's Nativity [Sobor Bogomateri (Rozhdestvenskaya)] in Nizhny Novgorod (1719), one of the churches built by G.D. Stroganov; and the Pushkin Estate in the village of Bolshoe Boldino, the ancestral estate of the Pushkin family. Aleksandr Pushkin spent the autumns of 1830, 1833, and 1834 here and produced several world-renowned works.
However, Nizhny Novgorod Region is not only famous for its architecture. Tourists visiting Nizhny Novgorod are also interested in it as a cultural center. Within the region and the city there are 2614 cultural facilities, including 1258 cultural clubs, 23 museums and exhibition halls, 19 parks of culture and rest, and the Philharmonic with its symphony orchestra, which has toured successfully in Spain and France. The boys' choir under the direction of Prof. L. Sivukhin has been acclaimed in Europe. The Sakharov Festival of the Arts has become very popular and draws outstanding musicians from around the world to Nizhny Novgorod.
At least ten professional theaters operate in the city and region. The best known are the Nizhny Novgorod Municipal Chamber Music Theater and the Gorky Academic Drama Theater. Outstanding actors, past and present, have performed here. The repertoire ranges from Shakespeare to Gorky.
The Pushkin Academic Opera and Ballet Theater has toured in a number of European cities. Its performances of classical and contemporary operas, ballets, and operettas long ago won the hearts of its audiences. And the Young People's Theater, which gave its first performance on May 1, 1928, has entertained more than one generation, while keeping up with the times, and is perhaps the most popular theater in Nizhny Novgorod.
The Puppet Theater, which has taken part in international competitions, is able to win over even the most discerning spectators of all ages.
The Comedy Theater not only entertains audiences with comedies and musicals based on works by A. Ostrovsky, M. Zadornov, and Tirso de Molina, but also makes them think about eternal problems, like those in Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita.
Nizhny Novgorod Region has an extensive network of 1400 libraries with more than 30 million volumes. One of the largest libraries in both the region and the country is the Nizhny Novgorod Regional General Science Library. Nizhny Novgorod State University is also unique for its collection.
Nizhny Novgorod is Maxim Gorky's native city. The various houses where he lived have all been preserved, from Kashirin House, which has been turned into a museum of Gorky's childhood, to the last apartment in Kirshbaum House, where he lived with his wife Ekaterina Peshkova and his children Maxim and Katya.
The city's cultural heritage is preserved most of all in museums. Visitors to the city will be interested in the historical and architectural museum preserve, with one of the finest collections in Russia. The people of Nizhny Novgorod also value the Art Museum with its collection of more than 10 000 paintings by outstanding Russian artists of the 17th to 20th centuries. If you want to understand the interpretation of creativity in the nation's history, you can visit the smaller museums dedicated to creative individuals like Maxim Gorky (Kashirin House, Apartment Museum, and Literary Museum), 19th-century literary critic N.A. Dobrolyubov, renowned opera singer Fedor Chaliapin, the famous Nizhny Novgorod photographer M.P. Dmitriev, and great thinker of our time Andrei Sakharov. Many other artists-writers, poets, painters, and sculptors-have made and continue to make a great contribution to the culture of Nizhny Novgorod.
There are also "open air museums" where examples of Russian wooden architecture are assembled. Russian folk art crafted at workshops like Khokhloma Painting (Khokhlomskaya rospis) in Semenov, Khokhloma Artist (Khokhlomskoi khudozhnik) in the village of Semino, Koverninsky District, and Gorodets Painting (Gorodetskaya rospis) in Gorodets has become very popular both in Russia and abroad. The city of Semenov has a center for training folk artists and a museum of the history of Khokhloma painting (wooden lacquerware).
Historical and cultural monuments of national significance, such as the Pushkin museum house in Bolshoe Boldino and the Serafimo-Diveevsky Monastery, are undergoing restoration within the framework of the federal program "Preservation of the Cultural Heritage"; and construction of the Nizhny Novgorod Circus is nearing completion.
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