Nizhny Novgorod owes its name “the pocket of Russia” to Nizhny Novgorod Trade Fair. The Fair is often called Russian national property. Its history is more than 400 years. Companies that were founded over four centuries ago are very few in Russia and in the world nowadays.
Nizhny Novgorod Trade Fair replaced the famous Makaryeskaya Fair near Makariev Zheltovodsky monastery situated on the Volga bank not far from Nizhny Novgorod. It was burnt down in 1816. A new Fair was decided to be removed to the city. In July 1882 the Fair banners were raised and bargaining began.
In the XIX century the Fair had a very important role in Russian economics. This was the place where the West met with the East and the prices on the main goods were established. At the end of the XIX century the Fair was the largest one in Europe. It looked like a small European city - wide streets were electrically lighted, there were 8 squares with fountains and parks, numerous shops and stores, offices, 9 banks, theatres and restaurants. At the banks of both the Oka and the Volga rivers there were quays with ships. The "population" of the Fair comprised up to 400 000 people.
The Main Fair House (1889) and Spassky cathedral (1817-1822, architect O. Monferan) are the only buildings survived. The Main Fair House was built with distinctive elements of the old Russian architecture reminding us of Russian medieval cities.
Spassky cathedral was designed by O. Montferrand, the architect of St. Isaac’s cathedral in St. Petersburg. He worked on both projects at the same time that is why the two cathedrals are so much similar in composition and style.
Today Nizhny Novgorod Trade Fair is a large exhibition centre. It has everything to hold exhibitions, congresses and conferences. It occupies the territory of 75,135 m2. It has six exhibitions and a square of outdoor exhibitions, five conference halls. Nizhny Novgorod Trade Fair possesses a lot of exhibition equipment of European class, modern means of communications. A bank, a hotel, restaurants and cafes, a shopping mall and a guarded parking lot are at disposal of its guests.
Annually on regular basis various national and global exhibitions are held at the Fair, it is visited by half a million people.