Nizhny Novgorod is a city in the administrative center of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast and Volga Federal District in Russia. From 1932 to 1990, it was known as Gorky, after the writer Maxim Gorky, who was born there. The city is an important economic, transportation, scientific, educational and cultural center in Russia and the vast Volga-Vyatka economic region, and is the main center of river tourism in Russia. In the historical part of the city there are a large number of universities, theaters, museums and churches. Nizhny Novgorod is located about 400 km east of Moscow, where the Oka empties into the Volga. Population: 1,250,619 (2010 Census); 1,311,252 (2002 Census); 1,438,133 (1989 Census).
The city was founded in 1221 by Prince Yuri II of Vladimir. In 1612 Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky organized an army for the liberation of Moscow from the Poles. In 1817 Nizhny Novgorod became a great trade center of the Russian Empire. In 1896 at a fair, an All-Russia Exhibition was organized.
During the Soviet period, the city turned into an important industrial center. In particular, the Gorky Automobile Plant was constructed in this period. Then the city was given the nickname "Russian Detroit". During the World War II Gorky became the biggest provider of military equipment to the front. Due to this, the Luftwaffe constantly bombed the city from the air. The majority of the German bombs fell in the area of the Gorky Automobile Plant. Although almost all the production sites of plant were completely destroyed, the citizens of Gorky reconstructed the factory after 100 days.
After the war, Gorky became a "closed city" and remained one until after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1990. At that time the city was renamed Nizhny Novgorod once again.
In 1985 the metro was opened. In 2016 Vladimir Putin opened the new 70th Anniversary of Victory Plant which is part of the Almaz-Antey Air and Space Defence Corporation.
The Kremlin – the main center of the city – contains the main government agencies of the city and the Volga Federal District.
The demonym for a Nizhny Novgorod resident is "нижегородец" (nizhegorodets) for male or "нижегородка" (nizhegorodka) for female, rendered in English as Nizhegorodian. And never - Novgorodian (demonym for a Veliky Novgorod), because it is considered disrespectful to the citizens.
Originally the name was just Novgorod ("Newtown"), but to distinguish it from the other, older and well-known Novgorod to the west, the city was commonly called "Novgorod of the Lower lands". This land was named "lower" because it is situated downstream, especially from the point of view of other Russian cities such as Moscow, Vladimir and Murom. Later it was transformed into the contemporary name of the city that literally means "Lower Newtown".
In 1817, the Nizhny Novgorod Fair, one of the liveliest in the world, was transferred to Nizhny Novgorod, and started to attract millions of visitors annually. By the mid-19th century, the city was firmly established as the trade capital of the Russian Empire. The world's first radio receiver by engineer Alexander Popov and the world's first hyperboloid tower and lattice shell-coverings by engineer Vladimir Shukhov were demonstrated at the All-Russia industrial and art exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod in 1896. According to official Imperial Russian statistics the population of Nizhny Novgorod as of 14 January 1913 was 97,000.
The largest industrial enterprise was the Sormovo Iron Works which was connected by the company's own railway to Moscow station in the upper part of Nizhny Novgorod. The private Moscow to Kazan Railway Company's station was in the lower part of the city. Other industries gradually developed, and by the start of the 20th century the city was also a first-rank industrial hub. Henry Ford helped build a large truck and tractor plant (GAZ) in the late 1920s, sending engineers and mechanics, including future labour leader Walter Reuther.
The climate in the region is continental, specifically humid continental (Dfb), and it is similar to the climate in Moscow, although colder in winter, which lasts from late November until late March with a permanent snow cover. Average temperatures range from +19 °C (66 °F) in July to −9 °C (16 °F) in January.
A maximum temperature of +38.2 °C (100.8 °F) was recorded during the 2010 Northern Hemisphere summer heat waves.
Nizhny Novgorod is one of the centers of the IT Industry in Russia. It ranks among the leading Russian cities in terms of the quantity of software R&D providers. Intel has a big software R&D center with more than 500 engineers in the city, as well as a major datacenter. In Nizhny Novgorod there is also a number of offshore outsourcing software developers, including Bell Integrator, Itseez, Tecom, Luximax Systems Ltd., MERA Networks, RealEast Networks, Auriga, SoftDrom, and Teleca, and many other smaller companies specializing in the delivery of services to telecommunication vendors.
There are twenty-five scientific R&D institutions focusing on telecommunications, radio technology, theoretical and applied physics, and thirty-three higher educational institutions, among them are Nizhny Novgorod State University, Nizhny Novgorod State Technical University, Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy, as well as Nizhny Novgorod Institute of Information Technologies, that focuses on information technologies, software development, system administration, telecommunications, cellular networks, Internet technologies, and IT management.
Nizhny Novgorod has also been chosen as one of four sites for building an IT-oriented technology park—a special zone that has an established infrastructure and enjoys a favorable tax and customs policy.
Much of the city downtown is built in the Russian Revival and Stalin Empire styles. The dominating feature of the city skyline is the grand Kremlin (1500–1511), with its red-brick towers. After Bolshevik devastation, the only ancient edifice left within the kremlin walls is the tent-like Archangel Cathedral (1624–31), first built in stone in the 13th century.
There are more than six hundred unique historic, architectural, and cultural monuments in the city.
There are about two hundred municipal and regional art and cultural institutions within Nizhny Novgorod. Among these institutions there are eight theaters, five concert halls, ninety-seven libraries (with branches), seventeen movie theaters (including five movie theaters for children), twenty-five institutions of children optional education, eight museums (sixteen including branches), and seven parks.