Cruel solution to ‘beautify’ the historic Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod

IZHNY NOVGOROD: The Volga River slept under a thick blanket of ice on the Volga River, and the distant endless forest was covered in silver. This past weekend, fishermen figures, each stuck in the snow with their holes, looked like black birds from the top of the right bank of the river. If you travel to Nizhny Novgorod and need a place to meet a friend, don’t think twice: Meet George Tower, in this ancient castle, founded in the 13th century by Prince Yuri of Vladimir II had kept. This year the city is celebrating its 800th anniversary.

People here always admire the view, watching the sun set over the Strelka or the arrow cape, which crosses Europe’s two largest rivers, the Volga and the Oka. Alexander Nevsky’s yellow cathedral is a milestone on the tip of the cape, as well as a football stadium built exclusively for the 2018 World Cup matches. Thousands of foreign fans traveled to Nizhny Novgorod this summer to find traces in the Latin alphabet of the best hipster bars from around the world: Hophead, Rebel, Boroda, or Show Bar.

The castle wall and its firing harbor run down a steep hill to the embankment, where couples dance tango and salsa in the evening. Russian poets and writers, including Alexander Pushkin, Maxim Gorky, Vladimir Korlinko, Boris Sadovsky, and Ivan Rukovishnikov, admired the view of the river and the Taiga forest to the horizon. Sadly, many houses and neighborhoods are falling apart these days. Just before the New Year, city organizers on the eve of the 800th anniversary came up with an immediate cleaning solution: demolish the run-out districts. The news broke the hearts of many historians, ethnographers, and Tom Sawyer movement volunteers, who are fighting for the preservation and restoration of old buildings.

Russian volunteers restore old buildings across the country. Following in the footsteps of Mark Twain, who turned hard work into play, he organized and entertained his friends to whitewash his aunt’s fence. Russian Tom Sawyer is touring the country, building expensive wooden houses in 26 areas, including Serbia and the Urals. Nizhny Novgorod volunteers have set up seven historic buildings with wooden ornaments, carvings and decorations.

The history of Nizhny Novgorod is the history of Russia. Ever since Wisconsin was the Vikings’ trade route to Asia, the Volga was Russia’s main road. In the 16th century, Ivan Terrifier’s forces sent their heavy artillery to Kazan to fight Russia and free it from Mongol gambling. Some of Tsar Ivan’s heavy artillery, along with soldiers, sank under thin snow 16 km from Nizhny Novgorod on an unusually hot and cold day. In the next century, the city’s nobles and merchants raised money for a volunteer army and expelled Polish-Lithuanian troops from Moscow, ending the Russian political crisis or the Time of Troubles.

The Marriott Hotel, located on pedestrian Pokrovka Avenue ($ 60), the current Kremlin, would be a great place to explore the palace, designed in its present form by an Italian architect, Petro Francisco, in 1500. There is a hip modern art museum, Arsenal. , Inside the palace. The city is planning a 19th-century architectural project this summer. It will take passengers down the hill to the old town, Rozhdestvenskaya Avenue.

Beginning in 1816, Nizhny Novgorod was home to some of Europe’s greatest goods from China, India, and Persia: the Yarmarka wall on the Cape, or welcoming merchants, inventors, and engineers from all over the world. Fortunately, Yarmarka’s beautiful building, now a department store, and the Yarmarka Church have survived many demolitions by architect Augusta de Montferrand.

American engineers from the Ford Motor Company came to the city in the 1930s and built a huge automobile factory, Gorky Automotive Works. There was an American village near the factory, which was full of foreigners. During the war, the Nazis bombed the factory, which produced a number of strategic weapons and tanks. After the war, the ancient city was named Gorky after author Maxim Gorky, but the word translates as “bitter.” Soviet authorities closed the city, so no foreigner could spy on its military factories. The KGB deported Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov to Gorky. Its a must see museum. At the time, ships on the Volga with foreign tourists only passed through the city at night, close to 1.5 million, as if the city did not exist.

Boris Nemtsov, the first governor after Perestroika, opened Gorky to foreign tourists and renamed the city Nizhny Novgorod. Margaret Thatcher praised the work of the young and associated reformist governor during her visit to the young city. But corrupt officials eventually replaced Nemtsov, a prominent opponent of Vladimir Putin. Nemtsov was assassinated outside the Kremlin wall in Moscow in February 2015. “If you spend your childhood there, you can only love this city, if you kiss a girl for the first time in this corner. Then you will never think of demolishing this street, “Nemtsov told me in 2012.

Tourists are not attracted to newly constructed glass malls or concrete blocks. They are the same all over the world. Visitors to the old town of Nizhny Novgorod, where windows and doors in beautiful 19th-century gates reflect the true beauty of Russian historical architecture. From your auditorium, across Minneapolis Square, walk along Pokrovka Avenue to the small islands of old wooden and stone houses that now remain, and now to historical conservationists, ethnic graphers and workers on one side and It has become a battleground between developers. Sadly, the city administration is rapidly “cleaning up” the city center before the birthday in August.

Some of the older districts are hard to identify: apartment blocks, giant malls and office buildings have replaced some of the beautiful old streets of original wooden architecture on Sennaya and Liadova squares. This year, the 19th Century New Soldiers District of Slaboda will disappear.

Local historians urge the government not to destroy history, because the spirit of Russia lives here. “Time works against us, if it hadn’t been for the anniversary, we would probably have managed to save more buildings from destruction,” Anna Davydova, a local architect, said in an interview. The city has decided to demolish 140 collapsing buildings, he said. Officials say some wooden buildings are too old, dilapidated and too expensive to be protected. “City guards are of the opinion that there is nothing more valuable than the actual architecture. A group of Tom Sawyer volunteers are looking for charitable funds to restore the old buildings. They just need time.”

The number of young people embracing their cultural heritage is growing. It is hoped that the dynamic local civil society will arrange a dialogue with the authorities. Before saying goodbye to Nizhny Novgorod, return to your meeting place, where artists come to have a spectacular sunset at the confluence of two mighty rivers.

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