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Historic Religious Buildings of Nizhny Novgorod

As the fifth largest city in Russia, Nizhny Novgorod is an important economic and administrative center for the Nizhny Novgorod oblast. Divided into two distinct parts by the Oka River, and with a history stretching back to 1221, Nizhny Novgorod has a host of historical and cultural attractions to visit. In fact there are more than six hundred architectural, historic and cultural monuments in the city, among which are a large number of churches, monasteries, abbeys, cathedrals and other houses of worship.

With its pure white walls, tall steeples, and green and black onion domes topped by ornate crosses, the Pechersky Ascension Monastery is said to date back to 1328, having been founded by St Dionysius. Over the years the original building was extended, and today it consists of the Ascension Cathedral, the Church of Domitian of Our Lady, the Church of Saint Venerable Euthimios of Suzdal, the Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the Bishop's residence and the Monks' residence.

Many of the churches in Nizhny Novgorod were built under the direction of the Stroganov family – a powerful and wealthy family of merchants, landowners, industrialists and statesmen who influenced Russian history. These include the Church of Our Lady of Smolensk and the Virgin's Nativity Church. Other churches in the city include the Savior Cathedral, designed by Auguste de Montferrand and Agustin de Betancourt in 1822; the Church of the Nativity of John the Precursor, completed in 1683; the Church of the Holy Wives, built in 1649; the Church of Saint Elijah, built in 1656; and the Assumption Church on St Elijah’s Hill, built in 1672. The Shrine of the Old Believers – those who separated from the Russian Orthodox Church after 1666 – is located at the Bugrovskoe cemetery.

Although in more recent years, many Jews have reportedly returned to Israel, there is still a Jewish community in the city which is served by the Nizhny Novgorod Synagogue, built between 1881 and 1883. The two-story cream and white building includes a kindergarten, youth club and education facilities, in addition to the synagogue.

During the Soviet Era, many churches fell into disuse, or were used for other purposes. Some have since been restored, and all are part of the culture and history of Nizhny Novgorod.


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