Nizhny Novgorod (nyēshˈnyĪ nôfˈgərəd) [key], formerly Gorky or Gorki, city (1989 pop. 1,438,000), capital of Nizhny Novgorod region and the administrative center of the Volga federal district, E European Russia, on the Volga and Oka rivers. A major river port and a rail and air center, it is one of the chief industrial cities of Russia. Heavy machinery, steel, chemicals, and textiles are produced. The city is the site of one of the largest automobile factories in Russia. Nizhny Novgorod stretches along the Volga and Oka rivers and is surrounded by large satellite towns such as Bakna Bor, Pravinsk, and Kstovo. In 1221 a prince of Vladimir founded the city as a frontier post against the Volga Bulgars and Mordovians. It became a major trading point for Russia and the East. In 1350 it became the capital of the Suzdal–Nizhny Novgorod principality and was annexed in 1392 by Moscow. From 1608 to 1612 the city was the rallying point for the Russian army that defeated the Polish, Lithuanian, and Cossack armies. Nizhny Novgorod was famous for its annual trade fairs, held from 1817 to 1930, except during the Bolshevik Revolution and the civil war. Its turreted stone kremlin dates from the 13th cent. There are two 13th-century churches, a palace (1625–31), the Uspensky church (1672–74), and the Stroganov and Christmas churches (late 17th-early 18th cent.). The university was founded in 1918. Nizhny Novgorod was named Gorky from 1932 to 1991 for Maxim Gorky, who was born there.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: CIS and Baltic Political Geography