➤ Arrive Nizhny Novgorod
➤ Meet & greet at the train station
➤ Transfer to the hotel and guaranteed early check-in. Time to have breakfast and refresh after the train ride
➤ Gorodets full-day guided tour including Samovar museum, Pryaniki museum and of course Russian Samovar tea ceremony!
➤ Overnight at the hotel (Nizhny Novgorod)
On the steeply sloping banks of the Volga, 53km upriver from Nizhny Novgorod, lies the quaint historic town of Gorodets, considered to be one of Russia's oldest settlements. The town has been linked with the semi-legendary city of Little Kitezh, supposedly destroyed by the Mongol Hordes, whilst its sister city Greater Kitezh escaped by sinking into the depths of Lake Svetloyar, leaving behind only the echoes of ghostly singing that, with a large dose of wishful thinking, can still be heard today. Today, it is a centre for the folk crafts for which the entire Nizhny Novgorod region is famed. Small, elegant nineteenth-century streets hark back to a time. Any souvenir you've bought in Russia - there's a strong chance it was made in Gorodets.
In 1341, after the death of Russin Tsar Ivan Kalita, Khan Uzbek divided the main territories of North-Eastern Russia. Part of the land, which included Nizhny Novgorod, Gorodets and Unzha, became the property of Suzdal Prince Konstantin. An independent Nizhny Novgorod-Suzdal Principality was formed, which occupied a vast territory.
In 1377, the Horde attacked Nizhny Novgorod. In the battle on Pyana River, the Russian army suffered a severe defeat from the Horde prince Arapsha. Dmitry of Suzdal, who remained without troops, fled to Suzdal, one of the Golden Ring gems which we will be visiting in a few days. The Nizhny Novgorod army fled to the neighboring Gorodets. On August 5, 1377, the Horde army conquered Nizhny Novgorod. The entire city was burnt. A year later, on July 24, 1378, the city was re-conquered.
After the Battle of Kulikovo, the Horde Khan Tokhtamysh, in 1382 with a large army went to Moscow. When the Tatar army approached Nizhny Novgorod, Prince Dmitry Konstantinovich, wishing to save his land from ruin, sent his sons Vasily and Semyon to him, who went with the army and persuaded Moscow to surrender.
Today, we travel to now peaceful Gorodets settlement and tomorrow will explore Nizhny Novgorod and its cultural treasures.
As there was an abundance of woods around the town, becoming a woodcarver or carpenter was always considered the best option for a profession. Today Gorodets is known as the “town of masters” – a place where numerous crafts are plied. The famous Gorodets painting style, gold embroidery, wood carving, honey cake baking, pottery and basket weaving all still flourish here.
In a largely illiterate society, Gorodets has gained a reputation of “museum-town’. Russian Samovar tea ceremony with the town's speciality, “pryaniki” – hard honey-rich cakes, it is your quintessential Russian experience of the day!