Dear visitor from whatever corner of the world!
I am happy to welcome you in this blog!
My name is Olga Tkachenko, I work and live in Novosibirsk, Western Siberia, Russia, together with my husband and three sons. I am a freelance English-Russian and German-Russian interpreter, translator and tour guide, and all three occupations are more than my work, they are my life.
My translation and interpreting career started in 2000, and for several years I was an in-house translator at several different companies. In 2004 my first son was born, and I switched over to freelancing. In 2006 I started tour guiding in Novosibirsk, and since then it has been my greatest pleasure.
The idea of blogging came to me when in Autumn 2010 I realized that people do not know much about Novosibirsk and Western Siberia in general, and do not find my home city to be an exciting travel destination. I felt a push to do something about it, to tell people how interesting life here is. This is how it all started.
In the «About Me» page you can read what has become of it.
And ask your questions about Novosibirsk.
Thanks to Academgorodok (Academic Town) Novosibirsk is known as a city of ‘great brains’. No wonder that it is here, in the heart of Russian science, where an unprecedented campaign called ‘Total Dictation’ was born. It all started in 2004, when professors of the Novosibirsk State University (NSU), one of the best in the country, decided to check how well their students and staff know their mother tongue. The campaign was called ‘The Total Dictation’, though at that time it was not total at all and concerned only the NSU. A piece of text written by one of the Russian classics (Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev) was dictated to the people and then spelling and punctuation were checked.
The idea to write this post came to me a week ago when I guided a group of Thai tourists. We had planned a great itinerary for 8 hours, including a visit to a nearby village to get an idea of the rural Russia, a visit to Academgorodok to see how people of science live surrounded by the forest, and a lot more. But we had to go to the market and the shopping mall instead as the day was impossibly dull — snow-rain, grey sky, dirty melting snow… Novosibirsk refused to show its best to this Thai group, apart from one of the Beerman restaurants, which are exceptionally good all year round.
But these travelers read about Novosibirsk in a blog of another Thai traveler, who was lucky to come to Novosibirsk on a beautiful December day. It was about -20 that day, it was snowing, but we had a great time exploring the pine forest, and the village, and the city covered in sparkling snow.
For many long years the aquapark was one of the most anticipated things in Novosibirsk. Numerous design projects replaced each other; the location was changed many times. Smaller neighboring cities like Omsk and Barnaul already had aquaparks, so we had to go there to have some water fun. But finally all details were settled and coordinated, and a huge construction started several years ago to be finished by summer 2016. Now Kvarsis Aquaworld (this is the aquapark’s name) is the largest of the kind in the country and one of the ten largest in the world.
If you arrive to Novosibirsk by train, the first building you see is the railway station, and even if you don’t see anything else in the city but this building, you will still see enough. The Main Railway Station (Novosibirsk-Glavny in Russian) is one of the main city attractions and one of the largest railway stations in the country with the total area of more than 29000 m2. Its shape resembles a locomotive heading eastwards.
The Zoo in Novosibirsk is one of the main attractions and a big part of the social and cultural life of all citizens. During the summer 2016 the zoo faced several important changes.
Coffee Collective is one more coffee shop close to the downtown. It’s hard to surprise visitors with good coffee, as it is good nearly everywhere, so coffee shops try to surprise with exclusive service, trendy interiors and specialties.
Russia values its tradition, and in summer Novosibirsk attracts lots of visitors to different events related to folk arts, crafts, music and traditions. The previous week offered two events of the kind, both demonstrating how important and valued Russian and Slavic traditions are and how many people are into them.
The concept of edutainment is not new in terms of schools and educational institutions, but it is definitely a new way of spending free time with benefits for the mind. As a city of science, Novosibirsk just can’t be behind the rest of the world, so today it has two big edutainment centers visited mostly by families with kids, but visitors of any age feel excited to be there, to see with one’s own eyes what the Pythagoras theorem means or a gyro sensor is.
Memorial Ensemble devoted to heroic deeds of Siberians in the Great Patriotic War.
The Monument of Glory is one of the most impressive sights in Novosibirsk, but it is hardly ever included into the standard guided tours. One of the reasons is that it is situated on the left side of the Ob River far from all other attractions, but many guides and locals also suppose that heroic deeds of Russians during the War just can’t be interesting for foreign visitors. However, I try to bring people there every time, and nearly always we spend long minutes walking along the shady alleys speaking about war and peace. In my opinion, this park is one of the most ‘philosophic’ destinations in the city, as it reflects the most dramatic periods in history of our country.