The Kremlin

The Nizhni Novgorod Kremlin is the central part of the ancient town which occupies a relatively small territory on a hill dominating the confluence of the Oka and the Volga rivers.

The first wooden fortress was built here in 1221. At the time of the Nizhni Novgorod Principality erection of the stone walls began. The walls that you now see date as far back as 1500 - 1511. Construction of the Kremlin wall on the steep hillside was initiated by the Italian architect Peter Friazin. During the XVI century the Kremlin endured 4 sieges. Originally the Kremlin wall was about 1,5 miles long, just some 200 yards less than that of the Moscow Kremlin. Eleven of the original thirteen towers have survived.

There are several legends associated with the Koromyslova (Yoke) Tower. According to one of them the Tower was named after a yoke used by a young girl as a weapon to fight the Tartars. She was the first and the last citizen to meet the enemy as she went to the river early in the morning. Invaders decided to retire after the rebuff from the girl choosing not to try their fortune with men defending the Kremlin.

The Ivanovskaya Tower was the center of the lower Kremlin defence. It protected the trading quarter. The cannons of the Ivanovskaya swept with fire the riverside approaches to the town.

Chasovaya (Clock) Tower was used as an observation post. The city tower clock appeared in 16th century.

The Dmitrovskaya Tower was the defence center of the upper Kremlin. It is the highest and the most fortified tower of the Nizhni Novgorod Kremlin. The Dmitrovskaya Tower is used as a bank office now.

There are several picturesque buildings within the Kremlin. The House of Soviets is situated to the right of Dmitrovskaya Tower's entrance. This building is a sample of constructivism in N.Novgorod (built in 1929-31, architect A.Grinberg). It looks like an airplane from a bird's-eye view and is the seat of the City Council.

Not far from it you can see what used to be the Governor's house (from 1840 to 1917), then it became the seat of the Regional and City Communist Party Committee, and from 1990 it houses the Art Museum with a rich collection of icons, paintings and sculptures.

On the left of Dmitrovskaya Tower you can see the exhibition of the Second World War military equipment produced in N.Novgorod. In the main square of the Kremlin there are some interesting places. You can see the oldest church of our city - Archangel Michael's Cathedral (built in 1631 by L.Vozoulin and D.Konstantinov) in the center of the square.

If you go further you'll discover a splendid view of the Volga and the Lower part of the city.Two historical monuments are situated here: a memorial in honor of N.Novgorod citizens who perished during the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 (two stelae, eternal flame and T-34 tank) and an obelisk in honor of K.Minin and D.Pozharsky, the leaders of the N.Novgorod people's volunteer corps in 1612, built in 1828 by sculptor I.P.Martos and architect A.I.Melnikov-Pechersky.

There is a fine Concert Hall in the right wing of the Regional Administration building. The A.D.Sakharov International musical festival is held here annually in early fall.