Novosibirsk (Russian: Новосиби́рск nuh-vuh-see-BEERSK) is a city in Novosibirsk Oblast, Siberia, Russia. Its main interest to travellers is as a stop-off on the Trans-Siberian Railway, two days out from Moscow.
The course of the Trans-Siberian Railway was dictated by where it was possible to span the great rivers of Siberia, and this altered as engineering techniques advanced. To cross the mighty River Ob, they eventually chose the village of Krivoshchekovskaya, founded in 1696. A new town grew up, at first called Novonikolayevsk (Новониколаевск), in honor both of Saint Nicholas and of the reigning Tsar Nicholas II. At the time of the bridge's opening in 1897, Novonikolayevsk's population was 7800; by 1907, when the population exceeded 47,000, it was granted town status with full rights for self-government.
In the 1950s, the Soviet Government directed that a center for scientific research be built in what was now Novosibirsk, and in 1957, the multi-facility scientific research complex of Akademgorodok was constructed about 30 km south of the city center. The city expanded rapidly, reaching a population of one million in 1962.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Novosibirsk is a typical Soviet-era city, laid out on a grid pattern with medium-rise slabby blocks. It's far from beautiful but there's plenty to see to occupy a day or two here. People seldom speak English, but as the Trans-Siberian tourist industry has built up they've become used to foreigners and are generally helpful.
The climate is Siberian. Summers in Novosibirsk are typically warm, but sometimes cool and rainy. Winters are cruel, with temperatures routinely dropping to -20° C and sometimes down to -40° - your life is at risk if you're not properly prepared for such conditions.
- 1 Tolmachevo Airport (OVB IATA also known as Novosibirsk International Airport) (is 16km from the city centre), ☏ . The airport serves over 4 million passengers per year. There are regular flights to many major Russian cities including Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Krasnodar, Omsk, Ulan-Ude, Samara, Ufa, and Yekaterinburg as well as international flights to Dushanbe, Istanbul, Baku, Prague, Yerevan, Beijing, Almaty, Osh, Bishkek, and Dubai.
To travel between the airport and the city:
- Bus #111 (35 руб) operates between the airport and the main train station "Novosibirsk-Glavny" (Новосибирск-Главный) and Avtovokzal (Автовокзал), the bus terminal (30 minutes).
- Minibus #312 operates between the airport and the main train station.
- Bus #112 (30 руб) operates between the airport and shopping mall "Mega" (IKEA).
- A taxi takes around 30 minutes and should cost 500 руб if negotiated in advance.
- See also: Trans-Siberian Railway
All Trans-Siberian trains stop at Novosibirsk Vokzal-Glavny Station. You can take this train as far as Moscow, Beijing, Ulaan Baator, or Vladivostok. Additionally, there are regional trains from most nearby cities. Timetables and fares can be searched for on the RZD website. See Russia#By train for general advice on travelling in Russia by train.
The main station, 2 Novosibirsk-Glavny (Новосибирск-Главный) is on Ulitsa Shamshurina, metro station Garina Mikhailovskogo (Гарина Михайловского) is nearby.
The city center is fairly compact and a walk from the railway station to Lenin's square takes around 20 minutes.
By public transportEdit
Public transport includes a Metro system in the city centre as well as buses, trams, marshrutkas, and trolleybuses. A ride on intra-city public transport costs 35 руб or less.
- 1 Novosibirsk Museum of Regional Studies (State Museum of Local History and Nature, Museum of History and Ethnography, Новосибиркий Государственный Краеведческий Музей), Krasnyi Prospekt 23 (Metro: Ploschad Lenina), ☏ . We & Fr 10:00-18:00, Th 12:00-20:00, Sa & Su 13:00-18:00, closed Mo & Tu. History of Novosibirsk and Siberia and its peoples from Mammoth-hunting days, thru Russian colonisation, the coming of the railway, communism, and today. Audioguide via izi.travel app. Temporary exhibitions on the top floor. 200 руб.
- 2 Novosibirsk State Art Museum (Новосибирский государственный художественный музей), Krasnyi Prospekt 5 (short walk S from Lenin Sq). Tu-F 10:00-18:00, Sa Su 12:00-20:00, closed M. Extensive permanent collection, the Roerichs being especially striking, plus exhibitions. 120 руб, concessions 60 руб.
- 3 Novosibirsk Zoo (Новосибирский зоопарк), ☏ . Daily 09:00-21:00. With 10,000 animals, it is one of the largest zoos in Russia. Adults: 300 руб; Children/Students: 150 руб.
- 4 Monument to the laboratory mouse (Памятник лабораторной мыши). Bronze statue by local artist Andrey Kharkevich in the park in front of the Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, erected on 1 July 2013, coinciding with the 120th anniversary of the founding of the city. It commemorates the sacrifices of mice in genetic research to understand biological and physiological mechanisms for the development of new drugs and curing of diseases. The sculpture depicts a laboratory mouse wearing a pince-nez on the tip of its nose, sitting on a granite pedestal. The mouse holds knitting needles in its paws, as if it is knitting a DNA double helix. Viewers will immediately notice that the helix is wound left, whereas DNA is taught in schools to wind right. This is done intentionally to indicate the DNA helix knitted by the mouse is the still poorly understood Z-DNA, as opposed to the wider known B-DNA taught in biology classes.
Monuments & churchesEdit
- As in every Russian city, there are multiple monuments to heroes of the Great Patriotic War (World War II), including an eternal flame guarded at special ceremonies by youths with replica Kalashnikovs.
- In front of the Opera & Ballet House, Lenin's Square is adorned by a big grey statue of Lenin. His cloak billows out behind like Marilyn Monroe's skirt, as if to show where the Metro passes beneath.
- The exact geographical center of the former Soviet Union just south of Lenin Square is marked by the Chapel of St. Nicholas. It was built in 1915 to commemorate 300 years of Romanov rule, destroyed in 1930 and rebuilt in 1993. The Chapel is tiny, sitting on a traffic island like a clock-tower, yet regular services are held within.
- A little further S, past the Art Museum, is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral at 1A Krasnyi Prospekt. Big as it is, you won't see it until you're upon it, as it's somewhat set back from the street.
- 1 km north of Lenin Sq is Ascension Cathedral, at the corner of Sovietskaya & Gogolya.
A visit to Akademgorodok, built in the 1950s as a mecca for academics but suffering from neglect in the post-Soviet years, is still pleasant as a day trip. This formerly elite institution is about 30 km south of the city and features several museums and nice, tree-lined streets.
While you're in the area, you might also visit one of several nice beaches on the Ob Sea, the large body of water created by a dam on the Ob River.
Also south of the city, about 2 km north of Akademgorodok, is the open-air West Siberian Rail Museum. There are about 90 historical trains and rail cars there.
- 5 West Siberian Rail Museum (south of the city, about 2 km north of Akademgorodok, is the open-air West Siberian Rail Museum.). 250 руб.
- 1 Opera House (Novosibirsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater) (In the city centre), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Many of the performances are famous works and it is interesting to see the Siberian interpretations. Recommended to purchase tickets in advance.
- Since there is plenty of snow in Siberia during the winter, going skiing or ice skating could be a lot of fun in Novosibirsk. There are a lot of ice arenas in the city. Some of them are free of charge, but those don't usually rent skates. The ones that rent skates may be not free of charge. One of the centrally located stadiums is "Spartak".
There are a lot of malls, shops, boutiques and stores in Novosibirsk. They offer a lot of goods from all round the world and you can have a great time while shopping. However, be careful when buying anything there - always check what you buy, before you pay. Sometimes the goods you buy may be produced not by a brand company but by a company in an Asian country that has a license for producing products under this brand name. Sometimes the quality of these goods doesn't correspond to the quality of the original brand. This may be especially applied to the European brands. For example, the same scents may have a different aroma in Novosibirsk and somewhere in Europe. It doesn't mean that the goods have bad quality and you shouldn't shop. But be careful if you want to purchase anything.
You could have a lot of fun if you go to markets like Central Market ("Центральный рынок") or "Baraholka". There you'll see people from around the world selling stuff that is not brand but it may have a good quality. Be careful there as well, as you may run into pocket pickers. You may even find some local food there and try some specials. There are a lot of different markets in the city but the most famous are Central Market and Baroholka. You may buy nothing there but what you see, you'll see nowhere in the world. It literally looks like an Asian market with only difference it's in the Russian way.
There are many good dining options and many local chain restaurants. Lenin Square is a popular place to eat. Italian food, sushi, and Russian food are all very popular. Many cafes offer lunch specials on weekdays.
- Beerman. Friendly beer restaurants with several locations in the city: Beerman&Grill (1 Vokzalnaya Av., Novosibirsk Hotel), Beerman&Pelmeni (7 Kamenskaya St., Hilton Hotel), Beerman&Pizza (7 Karla Marksa Sq.) Great food and in-house beer.
- Pechki-Lavochki (Печки-Лавочки), 11 locations. Rustic "Traktir"-type restaurants with typical Russian cuisine — grilled and/or smoked beef and pork, sausages. Several kinds of fish dishes. Wide selection of hot and cold appetizers, and hearty soups like Solyanka and Borscht. Their most central location is at 1 Lenina St. Mains: 450 руб.
- Old Irish Pub, Krasny prospect #37, ☏ . 12:00-02:00.
- People's Grill & Bar, Krasny prospect #17 (Down a stairway opposite St. Nicholas Chapel), ☏ . 12:00-02:00. Celebrity hangout. Serves burgers, wraps, pasta, pizza, sushi, fajitas and cocktails.
- Pub 501, ul. Lenina, 20, ☏ . Serves great food as well as drinks. Prices are higher than most places..
- Truba Jazz Club (Труба), pr. Dimitrova, 1, ☏ . 19:00-06:00. Visit if you want to meet Novosibirsk's "underground" culture. Foreigners usually like this place.
The Russian café chain Coffee House (Кофе Хауз) has several locations in Novosibirsk, but the food is considered to be subpar and overpriced.
- Travelers Coffee, Several locations. Good selection of tea and coffee. English menu is available. Some light snacks such as sandwiches, wraps, and cheesecakes, muffins and cookies. Free WiFi and plug sockets for your laptop. Very good service.
- Kardamon, ул. Чаплыгина (Chaplygina) 39. An alternatively looking tea room with nice travellers' atmosphere. Tea for 100 руб, light meals for 100-150 руб.
With the exception of some high-end hotels, all hotels and hostels offer free WiFi and many have computer terminals. Almost all accept credit cards. Hotels and hostels will usually provide a visa invitation and registration for an additional fee.
- [dead link] Central Hostel of Novosibirsk, Ordzhonikidze st. 33 - 4 (In the centre, two minutes away from metro station Ploschad Lenina.), ☏ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 13:00. The staff is always pleased to help with everything. 3 bedrooms; capacity is 16 customers. Dorm bed: US$12-20; Double: US$50-57.
- Dostoevsky Hostel, ulitsa Maksima gorkogo, Apt. 85 (City center near the Opera House; across the road from Rechnoy Vokzal metro station), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A modern hostel with excellent security. The owners are very welcoming and look after all the guests. Dorm bed: 350-700 руб.
- FunKey Hostel, Frunze st. 5/2 (5 minutes walk from Lenina Square), ☏ . Very spacious and beautiful hostel. Each room is issued in individual style. Spacious drawing room, kitchen. Staff is very friendly. Dorm bed: 500-700 руб.
- Zokol Hostel, Shchetinkina st. 34 (2 minutes walk from the main street, Lenina St; 10 minute walk from the train station), ☏ . Very comfortable rooms, more akin to a hotel, with single beds and a nice communal kitchen/living area. The staff speaks excellent English and are extremely friendly, helpful and enthusiastic. Dorm bed: 500-900 руб.
- Azimut Hotel Siberia, Lenina Street #21, ☏ . Check-out: exactly 24h after check-in. In a concrete tower. Breakfast buffet. Sauna. From 1600 руб.
- Centralnaya / Tsentralnaya Hotel, Lenina street 3 (On the street opposite the opera/ballet house.), ☏ , . Check-in: anytime(?), check-out: exactly 24 hr after check-in. TV, fridge, and sink in the room. Grim, shabby Soviet-era accommodations for hardy, budget-conscious travelers. Not recommended for families. From 1200 руб; shared bathroom.
- Metelitsa Hotel, Dobrolyubova, 195, ☏ . Restaurant serves European, Russian, and Japanese cuisine. From 2500 руб, breakfast included.
- Park Inn by Radisson Novosibirsk, ul. Dmitriya Shamshurina, 37, ☏ . From 3200 руб.
- River Park. Formerly known as the Ob Hotel, on the bank of the Ob River, is situated close to the Metro just southeast of the city center. After being gutted by fire in the 1990s, it has been refurbished, with reasonably clean rooms, a business center, and a nice Russian restaurant on the first floor. Don't look for English-language television or air conditioners, but there are plenty of rooms with private bathrooms. Single: 2800 руб; Double: 4000 руб.
Many cafes and restaurants offer either free or paid WiFi. There is also WiFi available in the main train station, public libraries, shopping malls, cinemas, universities and other establishments.
Internet cafes and computer clubs are also commonly found.
- Germany, Krasny Prospekt, 28, ☏ , , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M-Th 08:30-16:00; F 08:30-15:00.
- Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Malta, and Spain (EU Visa Center), Sibirskaya street, 57, ☏ . M-F 09:00-16:00.
- Italy, Lenina street, 52, ☏ , fax: . M-F 09:00-16:00.
While it's better to stay away from some run-down areas the overall situation is not bad. Pervomayskiy rayon and far-off neighborhoods of Leninskiy and Kirovskiy rayons should be avoided at any time.
The safest place is the center (nearby Lenin Square), stay there and you will be all right.