"The real Russia" Novosibirsk by jorgejuansanchez
Novosibirsk Travel Guide: 198 reviews and 405 photos
If you go to Russia, please, do not miss Novosibirsk.
I know that Novosibirsk (the third russian city by population), does not have an impressive Kremlin like Moscow, or a beautiful avenue like Nevski Prospek in Saint Petersburg. Nevertheless, Novosibirsk is more russian than those two cities. In Novosibirsk you will feel thousands of kilometers away from Europe, in the middle of Asia, and will notice that their people keep the old russian traditions. Furthermore, siberians are very mixed with local races, with tatars and from other republic people of the old Soviet Union.
In winter, under 30 below zero, many people will dig a hole in the frozen river Obi and will spend hours fishing, listening to the radio or drinking beers. It is also common that in winter days, early in the morning, many citizens will have a cold shower in the street, almost completely naked.
Novosibirsk was founded recently, only in 1893, when the russian government was constructing the transiberian train. But now the population is over one and a half million souls. They have a Metro, a central market , very exotic, full with asiatic people from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan selling tropical fruits, natives from the Caucasus offering flowers (russians love flowers very much, at any time), honey from the Altai republic, etc., and the greatest Opera and Ballet of Russia (do not miss a ballet or opera, for a few rubles).
You can sleep very cheap in the same railway station. They will offer you dormitories with 2 or 3 beds for 8 hours or half a day. In theory you need to show your train ticket, but in the practice they will allow you to spend the night there if you are a foreigner. You will not pay more than 6 or 7 euros for a bed. The showers are in the corridor, but the place is clean, warm and safe. If you can afford 20 or 25 euros for a single, then, in front of the station you will find a huge hotel, but with cold atmosphere and full of speculants.
People in Novosibirsk are very hospitalary and anxious to make friends with foreigners. A good place to make friends is the central "Biblioteka" (Public Library), in the ulitsa (street) Sovietskaya, where many people join every evening to practice foreign languages, such as german, english, french and spanish. You will be more than welcome if you visit the "biblioteka", and inmediately will offer you "chai" and "sladki", or tea and biscuits. Probably they will also offer you accomodation in their homes and will give you good information about the city and help, going with you to the places that you want to visit. I tell you: people in Novosibirsk are specially nice and helpful, much more than in Moscow or Saint Petersburg.
By the way, I never met anybody from Novosibirsk wishing to move to Moscow. They all love their city, with their nature, quiet life and old traditions, and if somebody needs to go to Moscow for work, he will be unhappy and will always dream with returning back to Novosibirsk. Siberians feel themselves like "foreigners" in Moscow or "Peter", two cities that are becoming like others big towns in Europe.
While in Novosibirsk you should visit the central painting gallery, with many fantastic paintings by the russian artist Nikolai Roerich, who was born in Saint Petersbourg and died in India, in the Himalaya mountains. He loved Sibir (Siberia), and believed that near Novosibirsk, in the Altai mountains, you can find Shambhala, or the mitic Shangri-la.
Another tourist attraction is the orthodox cathedral.
The main boulevard is called Krasny Prospekt.
Novosibirsk is a very convenient stop in your journey to or from Europe to Asia. From Novosibirsk you can reach Alma Ata or Tashkent by train, the "Transturkestan". There is also a regular flight to Urumuchi, in Sinkiang, China.
Of course, the most interesting call in Siberia is Irkutsk, near the Baikal lake, and maybe Ulan Ude too, in Buriatia, but Novosibirsk is also a must in your journey along Siberia.
Main Square in Novosibirsk with the Theatre of Opera and Ballet.
Look at the statue of Lenin.
- Pros:friendly people
- Cons:very cold in winter
- In a nutshell:pleasant stop in the Transiberian train
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