Updated: Jun 7, 2020
Novokuznetsk is best known for its numerous factories, which accounted for one-third of the country’s metallurgical production during the second world war. Industry aside, Novokuznetsk will be on your way if you go to Altay or Sheregesh.
Photo credit Yuriy Lobachev
Novokuznetsk hosts numerous metallurgical combines, ferroalloy and aluminum plants, chemical industries and mines. Well, the ecology question becomes irrelevant, doesn’t it? But, the city itself is quite sophisticated, with wide streets, new estate here and there, modern shopping malls and business centers. The city attracts many tourists because of its geographical location: the world-renowned resort Sheregesh is only a couple of hours away, and the foothills of the Altai Mountains are not far behind as well.
You can start your discovery of the city by watching this short and fun video that we made :)
Novokuznetsk was built in 1618, and its history is typical for most Siberian towns. First a fortress, protecting local people from attacks, it has gradually grown into a small town that didn’t attract the authorities’ attention up to the 1930s. At that time, the Soviet leaders were starting to implement their ambitious plan for the industrialization of the country, and Novokuznetsk was chosen as one of its centers. A few huge metallurgical plants were built over several years, entailing the construction of many new estates, cultural facilities, roads and infrastructure in general.
I recommend you to start acquaintance with the city from the old part.
To my mind, it’s a great starter if you want to learn the city story. This is where it started. The fortress was built in the 1800s to protect the local population from a potential Chinese attack. Ironically, it has never been put to its intended use, but the fortress remained an important symbol of the city. In the latter half of the century, it was even used as a prison, but just for a short time, and then was burned down by partisans from Altai. The restoration of the fortress didn’t start until the 1990s.
Today, the fortress hosts a museum. Tourists can see bastions, barracks, sergeant housing, and armories. The museum is open for visitors 7 days a week, and an entrance ticket will cost you up to $3 per person. Note that you can enter the fortress for free, and visitors are required to pay for access to the museum only.
The fortress is located in the old part of the city, on the hill. You can take a bus from the city center and then walk uphill, or take a cab to the fortress. By the way, the sight is popular with newlyweds, as they come there to take a pic, so at weekends, it might be crowded. Learn more on the Trip Advisor website.
The Spaso-Preobrazhensky cathedral
Built in the 18 century, the cathedral is designed in the Siberian baroque style. In the 20 century, the Soviet power closed it for the public and allowed for its partial destruction. For many years, its territory was used for a bread factory, but in the 1980s the cathedral was finally returned to the worshippers, and in 1991 it held the first service.
Photo credit Yuriy Lobachev
To go inside, Orthodox parishioners cross themselves three times and do the same thing on their way out. Men enter bareheaded, while women are supposed to tie a scarf around the head and wear a skirt. Learn more from tourists reviews on Trip Advisor.
Dostoevsky Memorial Literature Museum
For all I know, everyone has even once heard of this Russian genius. Dostoevsky is an undeniable part of our culture and his works enclose readers in a world of a mysterious Russian soul. The building hosting a museum was earlier home to Dostoevsky. Among all the Siberian towns, Novokuznetsk had a special place in Fedor Dostoevsky’s heart: this is where he married the love of his life, Maria Isaeva. Check visitors’ reviews about this place on Trip Advisor.
The Sports Ground “Dvorets Sporta Kuznetskikh Metallurgov”
This is the main sporting arena in the city, built in 1984. It hosts hockey games, ice shows, concerts, martial arts championships and more. This is the home arena of the hockey club “Metallurg.” Hockey is among the most popular hobbies of Russian people, and during the match the stands are usually full. Explore visitors’ reviews on Trip Advisor.
The park "Sad Metallurgov" ("The garden of metalurgists")
The park was built in the 1930s, together with metallurgical combines. The reason for creating such a place is quite simple: the city full of plants wouldn't survive without greenery. Sad Metallurgov was reconstructed a few times, but its location and the role of the main city entertainment area remained the same.
It's time to discover the World War II heritage that many Russian towns carefully keep, and Novokuznetsk is not an exception.
The combine construction began in the 1930s, when the Soviet power was looking for new industrialization centers. The construction started a few kilometers away from the old part of the town, but both sides soon met halfway, as population grew fast as well. Novokuznetsk accounted for one-third of metallurgical production for the Soviet defense industry during the World War II. You can see a tank monument at the entrance of one of plants.
Now that we've seen most important historical sights, let's move on to more modern parts of the city.
This is one of the most sophisticated areas in the city, with new estates, a 4-star hotel, City Hall and a beautiful park. Also, there is a museum of vintage cars, that I am going to present later.
Photo credit Andrey Doronchenko
Museum Retro Park
Opened in 2018, Retro Park is the largest museum of vintage autos in Siberia, featuring over 40 different cars, motorcycles and even a jet. Alexander Govorov, the museum creator and owner, was manually picking the exhibits from around the globe. For instance, the legendary Ford T was bought in the United States. The entrance costs $3 per person. Also, there is a nice cafe Sweeter where you can take a cup of coffee or lunch right behind the exposition. Here you can learn more about the museum’s collection. Also, check the review on Trip Advisor.
The Cathedral of the Nativity
Remarkable is the first thing that visitors call the cathedral. It was built in 2012 in memory of a tragic death of 67 miners in 1997. Check visitors reviews on Trip Advisor.
Apart from the Orthodox cathedral, the city features a catholic church, two mosques and a synagogue.
To be continued...