The 13th century was the time when the princes were engaged in active reclaiming the new lands. The small cities-fotresses were constructed to fortify in conquered territories as better as it was possible. The most significant factor that was taken into account during the construction was a geographical position. The place situated between two great rivers could not remain without any attention. Here “the New City in a mouth of the river Oka” (it was the primary name of Nizhniy Novgorod) was founded in 1221. Its founder was the great Vladimir prince Yury Vsevolodovich.
Less than 10 years later in the city the white-stone Archangel cathedral began to be built. It was the serious reason for leadership among the other cities. The favourable position contributed to Nizhniy Novgorod’s rapid expanding. The Tatar-Mongolian invasion prevented from the intensive city’s developing. Nizhniy Novgorod completely almost was ruined. However, the town-dwellers quickly restored destroyed city.
In 1341 the city became the capital of the independent the Suzdal-Nizhniy Novgorod princedom that occupied extensive enough territory. In 1377 Tatar-Mongolians again attacked the city. Russian people were defeated during the battle on the river Piana and the city was burnt. In spite of the difficult times, historians consider this period the beginning of the city’s development. It was this time that the well-known «the Great Volga way» appeared. The first mention about this way was in 1366, accordingly, by the moment of Tatar- Mongolian attack it was actively used. Right at the end of the XIVth century Nizhniy Novgorod was seized. In the XVth century the city constantly was exposed to attacks of strangers. It was attacked by temnik of Golden Horde, Edigey, and then by armies of the Kazan khan.
Subsequently both Ivan III and Vasily III made Nizhniy Novgorod the outpost in struggle against attacks of strangers. It was here that princely armies gathered for campaigns against Kazan khanate.
During the conquest of new territories, the role of Nizhniy Novgorod as large commercial center increased, and after conquering Kazan by Ivan the Terrible, the military role of the city became insignificant at all. The epoch of the city’s development began. During The Time of Troubles the role of the Nizhniy Novgorod levy en masse became decisive. Two its leaders Kuzma Minin and Dmitry Pozharsky set free Russia from the Polish aggressors, having written down Nizhniy Novgorod in the history of famous victories.
Naturally, the city not once took part in the large events happening in the territory of the country. So, during the church split of the XVIIth century a lot of Old Believers directed to Nizhniy Novgorod. In the city the mitropolitstvo was established to eradicate them. Gradually, Nizhniy Novgorod turned into one of the largest cities all over Russia. The annual fair also promoted it. Established in 1524, it received the status of all-Russian fair. In 1641 it was transferred to the St. Makariy monastery.
In 1722 Peter the Great visited Nizhniy Novgorod in twice and, moreover, he celebrated the 50-years anniversary here. By that time, according to results of administrative and territorial reforms, Nizhniy Novgorod became the provincial city. In 1721 at once two educational institutions were opened: namely, Slavic-and-Russian and Greek-Latin schools.
Some changes were connected with the Peter’s epoch. Firstly, Peter the Great actively involved the Nizhniy Novgorod town-dwellers in ship-building and in fleet, consequently the city became empty. Secondly, emperor actively developed the new trading ways through the Baltic. It reduced the commercial role of the city. Following changes were connected with Catherine II and her reforms. In 1775, on her order, the vicegerancy was established in Nizhniy Novgorod, but it existed only till 1800. During this time in the city the drugstore, a printing house, hospital and school opened. The beginning of the XIXth century again changed the life of Nizhniy Novgorod. The Makarevskaya fair that was already well-known behind the borders of the Volga, was transferred to Kunavino – the small settlement situated on the opposite bank of the river Oka. It attracted to the city a lot of new people. Nizhniy Novgorod began to develop by rapid rates. Alexander I considered that fair played an important role in the life of the country that’s why a year later, in 1818, the construction of an architectural ensemble of the Nizhniy Novgorod fair was started. It was, really, huge: the total area exceeded 500 thousand square kilometers. The talented engineer A. A. Betankur was at the head of this construction.
The construction was finished 4 years later. In 1849 in the village Sormovo the first industrial enterprise Sormovsky plant started its work; the plant initially produced the river steamships, then steam locomotives, trams and railway cars. In 1862 due to the work of this factory the transport communication with Moscow was arranged, the railway was constructed.
The All-Russian commercial and industrial exhibition spent in 1896 improved the reputation of Nizhniy Novgorod as large trading center. In honour of this event the tram line started to work. It is interesting to note that it was a rare situation for the Russian cities of that time.
The becoming of the Soviet authority told, first of all, on two settlements – Sormovo and Kunavino. They received the status of the cities, and later on according to the decision of the government were included in Nizhniy Novgorod.
In 1932 the country celebrated the 40 anniversary of literary activity of Maxim Gorkiy. In this connection they decided to rename Nizhniy Novgorod into Gorkiy. A year later the city became the center of the new Gorkiy region. One can consider 1930s to be the period of developing the transport communication in Gorkiy. The bridge across Volga was built during this time; it essentially facilitated the road to Siberia and to the Urals. One more constant bridge connecting the right and the left banks of Oka arose. In the same 1932 one of the largest enterprises of the country - the Gorkovskiy automobile factory, that played the important role in the defensive industry within the Great Patriotic War started to work.
In 1982 the underground was opened. In 1990 the city was returned its initial name – Nizhniy Novgorod.