As one of Russia's most modern and vibrant cities, Novosibirsk has a lot to offer travelers. As is the case with most destinations though, there are attractions that are a "must," no matter if you’ve come here for a couple of hours,or for a couple of days. For the visitor who has never been to Siberia's capital, here's a top 10 list of places you won't want to miss.
The State Opera & Ballet Theater
The largest such theater in all Russia, this mega attraction is know as "The Siberian Colosseum," or the "Bolshoi of Siberia." The magnificent edifice is one of those places you have to see with your own eyes to believe actually. The hall seats 2,000, and is large enough to house the entire Bolshoi inside the main chamber. Here guests witness classical ballet performances, operas, and other entertainment events. Completed in 1944, recent modernizations have also made the theater the most technologically advanced in Russia as well.
Anyone knows by now that the country Russia and famous leader Vladimir Lenin are inseparable terms. Well, during the Soviet era hundreds of Lenin statues decorated our whole country, even in the smallest villages. Then during Perestroyka times, many of them were destroyed or moved away from central squares and streets. Novosibirsk was lucky enough to keep all Lenin figures, including the huge one right in front of the Opera and Ballet Theatre. Today the statue, which is one of the largest Lenin statues in Russia, is a meeting point for bikers, skateboarder and even romantic couples.
The Railway Bridge Monument
Novosibirsk owes its existence to the Russian railway system. The city has developed into such a metropolis thanks owing to the crucial role it played in connecting points along the world famous Transsiberian Railway. The bridge across the mighty Ob River is also one of the crucial connective features of this system. In use since 1896, the bridge was in use until the early 1980s, when it was replaced by a newer version. Most of the old bridge was melted down for scrap metal, but the section visitors see now was preserved as a museum.
The Novosibirsk Zoo
A competitor in the competitor "Seven Wonders of Russia," the Novosibirsk Zoo reached the final stage of the contest, but failed to win. Still, the locals of the city love the zoo and its marvelous animals. Residents and guests of the city both spend the hours here, taking time to roam among the 60 hectares. One of the largest zoos in Russia, there are any cafeterias and other amenities to enjoy while overlooking the artificial lake. Kids will enjoy the animals a lot, but they can also ride merry-go-rounds, visit a Dino Park, and even make a short trip along the ‘Children Railway’. One highlight of the zoo is a unique animal called a liger, the rare offspring of a tiger and a lion.
The Central Market
Our Central Market, or Food Hall, is where all the locals go to buy such organic foods as; fresh cedar nuts from the Siberian taiga, salmon caviar, honey produced in the Siberian meadows and taiga, fresh dried ceps, nuts and dried fruit from the former Soviet republics, and a lot local produce.
Monument of Glory
Novosibirsk was not the scene of any battles during the Great Patriotic War, but the city played an essential part in the final victory. During that gruesome period, factories here produced thousands of weapons, and innumerable soldiers from our city died protecting their Motherland. Their names are engraved on the huge grey plates next to the eternal fire. This monument is a tribute to their memory.
The Ob Sea
Novosibirsk is a long distance away from any natural sea, but we are proud to have the artificial reservoir we call ‘the sea’. Standing on its shore in Academgorodok we forget sometimes that we are in the middle of continent, as one can hardly see the far shore of the lake. Built at the end of the 1950s, the reservoir is now one of the biggest artificial lakes in Russia. More than 300 settlements were submerged in order for the lake to be created. The hydro power station here provides for more than 20% of the electricity for the city needs. The reservoir is a popular place for summer recreation, with its numerous beaches, camping spots, resorts and hotels.
A visit to Academgorodok is a must for everyone interested in science and technology. This is also the place for people ready for a bit of something different, outside the hustle of the city center. Here you'll find a different Novosibirsk experience, a peaceful, relaxed and green area, filled with unusual people, or "geeks", as the inventive types of the world are so often called. Technopark is a new image of Russian science, offering a fully-equipped launch spot for start-up companies, with an architecture to match the idea of inventiveness.
The Siberian Birch Bark Museum
This museum is proud to present the unique collection of items made from birth bark, including dishes, mugs, cups and other containers, icons, decorations and objects representing characters, spirits and ghosts from Russian fairy-tales and myths. The guides here explain the technology of making crafts from birth bark, and describe exciting facts about evil and good ghosts inhabiting banyas, forests and houses. A special treat is the 18+ hall here.
Central Siberian Geological Museum
If you are planning a visit to Academgorodok, be sure not to forget about this museum. Founded back in 1958, this marvelous museum houses a collection that includes numerous minerals and ores found in Siberia such as; diamonds, precious and semi-precious stones, including the rarest stone charoit. as well as an impressive collection of gold. The museum is located in Prospect Koptyuga 3, and is well worth a visit, especially if the kids are along.
I am a freelance interpreter, translator, and tour guide in Novosibirsk. Me, my husband, and our three sons dearly enjoy our lifestyle surrounded by all the wonder that is Siberia's biggest city. Outside my tourism and Mom duties, I also maintain a website where guests can ask questions about Novosibirsk.