The Chkalov Staircase is a monumental construction and a unique architectural embellishment of Nizhny Novgorod.
Located at the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers in Nizhny Novgorod, the Chkalov Staircase is among the top attractions of the city. Originally it was known as the Volga Staircase, but was later renamed in honor of a Soviet test pilot, Valery Chkalov. In 1937 Valery Chkalov completed the first non-stop flight through the North Pole from Moscow to Vancouver (State of Washington, USA). You can see the monument to Valery Chkalov at the top of the staircase, in Minin Square, overlooking the river.
The construction of the staircase took place during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) when resources were very limited. But the head of Nizhny Novgorod Aleksander Shulpin managed to do something practically impossible: he developed the idea and achieved the financial backing for such an enormous and costly project. Architects A.A. Yakovlev, L.V. Rudnev and V.O. Mints designed the staircase. It was devoted to the Soviet victory at Stalingrad. But records revealed that the cost of the project, which continued from 1943 through to 1949, came to almost eight million rubles. This fact was so displeasing to the Soviet government that they expelled Shulpin from the Communist party and sentenced him to prison.
Nowadays the staircase is a popular leisure spot with locals and visitors. It provides a spectacular view of the surroundings and the left bank of the Volga. It also connects Nizhny Novgorod with the waterfront. On a pedestal at the foot of the staircase there is a boat that was part of the military fleet involved in the Great Patriotic War’s Battle at Stalingrad.