Nizhny Novgorod colloquially shortened as Nizhny, is the fourth largest city in Russia, ranking after Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kazan. It is the economic and cultural center of the vast Volga-Vyatka economic region, and also the administrative center of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast and Volga Federal District. The two major rivers of Nizhny are the Oka and Volga.
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. In 1817, the Makaryev Fair, one of the liveliest in the world, was transferred to Nizhny Novgorod, which there upon started to attract millions of visitors annually. By the mid-19th century, the city on the Volga was firmly established as the trade capital of the Russian Empire. The world’s first radio receiver of engineer Alexander Popov and the world’s first hyperboloid tower and lattice shells-coverings of engineer Vladimir Shukhov were demonstrated at the All-Russia industrial and art exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod in 1896.
Public transport within the city is provided by a small subway system (Nizhny Novgorod Metro), tramways, marshrutkas or minibuses, buses and trolleybuses. Electric and diesel commuter trains run to suburbs in several directions.
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. There are 25 scientific R&D institutions focusing on telecommunications, radio technology, theoretical and applied physics, and 33 higher educational institutions, among them are Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy.
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.
There are more than six hundred unique historic, architectural, and cultural monuments in the city; that gave grounds to UNESCO to include Nizhny Novgorod in the list of 100 cities of the world which are of great historical and cultural value.
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.