Novosibirsk: Things to do
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.
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.
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.
Do you like horses? Don’t miss a chance to go for a ride in the pine forest, even in winter.
The idea of this post was suggested by one recent tourist from Malaisia who liked some of the churches in Novosibirsk so much that he asked me if there is a special ‘church tour’ of the city. There wasn’t any before that question was asked, as there are very few churches in the city, the majority of which built only recently. This is understandable, because Novosibirsk was built and developed mainly during the Soviet period, when religion was as good as prohibited and all churches built before the Revolution 1917 were either destroyed or turned into something else. During the Perestroyka the situation changed, all the remaining church buildings were returned to the Orthodox community and a lot of new churches were constructed, mainly, of course, Russian Orthodox, but Catholic churches and mosques, too.
You are coming to Novosibirsk for several days and have a spare one? There are many opportunities. You can visit a museum or two and go to the Opera in the evening or you can just wander along the broad streets of the Siberian capital. But what if you have already done all that? There are many variants of day trips. If you choose one of them, you will see life in an ordinary village or in a small town, or you will enjoy natural landscapes typical for the Western Siberia. Some of these day trips may include an easy hiking tour.
The ‘Ice Town’ at the embankment of the Ob river is a good old Novosibirsk tradition, and each year it is devoted to a certain theme. This year we are celebrating 55 years of the first space flight done by Yuriy Gagarin, the Soviet cosmonaut.
For some the notion of ‘banya’ sounds totally unfamiliar, while others think it is just a Russian word for a sauna. However, banya and sauna are two different things. Besides, for Russians a banya is a symbol of health, purification, joy of body and soul.
The center of healthy recreation MIRA opened in Novosibirsk in the fall 2013 and since then it has been the best place to relax in the city.
If you are traveling with kids, don’t miss these objects. Such kinds of entertainment are new, but they are so popular now, that you can find them in multiple places in the city.