The sights worth seeing in Novosibirsk
What to do in Novosibirsk?
- Appreciate the Arts: Being the cultural capital of Siberia, there’s always something to do on a rainy (or, rather, snowy) day. Its theatre is the bigger than the Sydney Opera Hall!
- Wonder at Architecture: Novosibirsk is as far away from St Petersburg architecturally as it is physically; even the churches have eastern elements in them.
- Step back in time: Though as its name implies Novosibirsk is rather young, but before the city there were native tribes whose history is as captivating as any European medieval city.
- Have fun: Siberians are known for their toughness, so why not join them in their dogged pursuit of enjoying life no matter what the weather?
Siberia is a land of mystery and mind-blowing proportions. Within this one region of Russia there are over 100 cities, a swamp larger than Switzerland and the infinite depths of the taiga and, of course, the yet deeper depths of Lake Baikal. At its southern border with Kazakstan lies the unofficial heart of this immensity: Novosibirsk (new Siberia).
The State Art Museum
Even those who can’t see sense in standing still and staring at pictures ought to visit Novosibirsk’s Art Museum as it is one of Siberia’s most highly-regarded museums. There are over 10,000 exhibits, covering everything from religious icons to landscapes, local handicrafts to modern art. Though the building itself may not look anywhere near as beautiful as the Hermitage, the collection of artwork housed inside would not cower in shame if put side by side its famed St Petersburg sister.
Address: 5, Krasny Prospect, Novosibirsk
Opening hours: 12:00 - 18:00 Tue-Sat
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Built at the time of when the Trans-Siberian railway was still under construction, this cathedral was one of the first stone buildings in Novosibirsk. Its ochre-red stone and massive golden dome along with arched windows, smaller domes and towering archways result in a mishmash of shapes and styles; making it more reminiscent of an Arabic mosque than a European church. This is to Novosibirsk what the Red Square is to Moscow (read: a must-see!).
Address: 1a, Krasny Prospect, Novosibirsk
Opening hours: 08:00 - 19:00
Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre (NOVAT)
The largest theatre in Russia is larger than even the great Sydney Opera Hall and its repertoire is no less impressive; holding world-class performances throughout the year.
For those who have been to Moscow, the classical columns supporting the grand dome may bring back memories of the Bolshoi theatre; except the fact that the whole of the Bolshoi theatre could fit under just one of NOVAT’s three performance halls! The excessive size of the NOVAT does not, as one might expect, result in undecorated corridors and sub-par furnishings. On the contrary, NOVAT’s gold and red interiors are no less extravagant than that of the Bolshoi.
Address: 36, Krasny Prospect, Novosibirsk
Opening hours: 10:00 - 21:00
Logically enough for a city that has ‘new’ in its name, it is less conservative than other Russian cities. New money, hungry for new ideas to invest in, pours into the city from the oil-plains stretching through Siberia. One such investment was the Sphere; a four-story, futuristic ball entirely composed of glass panels which was inspired by “The Gherkin” or St. Mary Axe Tower in London.
Address: 1a, Kamenskaya ulitsa, Novosibirsk
Central Siberian Botanical Garden
Being part of Novosibirsk’s Akademgorodok (academic town), it is little wonder that this summer-lounging spot is first and foremost a research ground. But instead of detracting from the wildness of nature, the scientists further enhance the park’s natural beauty by running world-class conservation programs. On any given day, you’ll be sure to find silvery hares and foxes as well as chipmunks and roe deer enjoying the verdant park land that is more than twice the size of Moscow’s Solkoniki Park.
Address: 101, Zolotodolinskaya Ulitsa, Novosibirsk
Opening hours: 08:20 - 17:00 Mon-Fri
Novosibirsk Train Museum
Novosibirsk owes its very existence to the Trans-Siberian railway, so it is only fitting that it should have one of the most extensive collections of trains in Russia. With trains of all sorts and types, from the very first steam engines to soviet diesel speed-machines, and royal carriages galore, the 100 or so trains at this museum ought to occupy a good part of the day. So as to be able to see the collection in its entirety it is recommended to organize a tour in advance.
Address: 54/1, Raz’ezdnaya Ulitsa, Novosibirsk
Opening hours: 10:00 - 17:00 Wed-Sun
Water (and ice!) sports
What the locals call Ob sea, is in fact a giant dam speckled with a handful of forested islands and lined with beaches. In the summer, the waters of this ever-popular dam are as coveted as those of Cannes with sail-boats aplenty and even more kite and wind surfers. In winter, the action doesn’t stop and intrepid locals repurpose their kite-surfing gear for ‘snow-kiting’, which is done on the dam’s frozen surface by skiing or snowboarding while holding on to a kite.
Novosibirsk State Museum of Local History and Nature
After the art museum, the local history museum of Novosibirsk has to be the local favorite. The exhibitions are so richly detailed and cover so many interesting and seldom discussed parts of Siberian history— especially the history of the native tribes— that a day could easily be spent wandering open-mouthed through the exhibitions. Unfortunately, as the great majority of placards are only in Russian, a tour guide or a reliable version of google-translate is a tourist’s only hope of enjoying the museum as much as the locals.
Address: 23, Krasny Prospect, Novosibirsk
Opening hours: 10:00 - 18:00 Wed-Sun