Nikolaev - The City of Brides
There is an opinion that Nikolaev is not interesting to tourists, because there is nothing to see here. And indeed the city doesn’t have the sights well-known all over the world. But Nikolaev is known far beyond Ukraine and tourists coming to the city will have a unique experience.
“The City of Brides” attracts them because of the beautiful women living here. A lot of local marriage agencies are involved in organization of “wedding” tourism. According to various sources the number of agencies is about 150.
According to the words of one of the girls it works as follows. It all starts with the emails on the Internet, chat, and then a tourist comes to Nikolaev and continues communication or does not do it. It happens that some couples are getting married (about 5-10%). But the majority of the tourists prefers just to have a good time and leaves the city afterwards.
The girls are mainly students, who want to enjoy themselves, go to restaurants, etc. or ladies of thirty-year age who wish to marry. Although, the students are also getting married. The tourists come mainly for a week from various countries, but mostly from the US and Europe.
This business involves a lot of local people: young photographers, students, programmers, owners of rented apartments, luxury hotels, restaurants, clubs, saunas and other entertainment venues. Therefore, the status of Nikolaev as the “city of brides”, and now also the center of the marriage tourism services, is not only justified, but grows stronger every day and is confirmed in the minds of not only the citizens of Ukraine, but also far abroad.
Nikolaev travel tips - Our expert’s advice
How to get to Nikolaev
There is an international airport located near Nikolaev. According to the official site of the airport there are regular flights to/from Moscow (Russia). Also there are chartered flights to/from Istanbul (Turkey). Unfortunately for the moment there are no flights to/from Kiev.
There are numerous trains available going from Kiev railway station to Nikolaev, time in travel is about 8-10 hours, the price of the ticket starts from about 45 USD.
You can also go to Nikolaev by a flight from Kiev (Borispol airport) to Odessa (1 hour) and from Odessa there are several regular buses/trains going to Nikolaev (3-4 hours). And Odessa city is worth visiting by itself. The distance between Odessa and Nikolaev is 150 km. You can also use the service of local taxi companies and go directly from Odessa airport to Nikolaev (70-150 USD depending on the model of the car).
Where to stay in Nikolaev
The city has various hotels of different levels of comfort and prices:
Super business class hotels: Cezar, Palace Ukraine, Koral. The price for the single/double number starts from about 70 USD per day.
Business class hotels: Gostiniy dvor, Pilgrim, Golden Fazan, Metallurg, Technokontract, Admiral Greig, Reikartz River, Aleksandrovsky, Continent, Ingul. The price for single numbers starts from 35-60 USD per day.
Economy class hotels: Shale, Nikotel, Turist, Na Admirala Makarova, Nakhodka, Nikolaev.
The other most commonly used way to stay in Nikolaev is to rent an apartment. The market offers a lot of different apartments (mostly one-bedroom apartments in multi-storey buildings located close to Nikolaev city center). In most cases you can rent an apartment on daily basis from individuals - owners of the apartments, or special agencies.
The average cost is about 30-40 USD per day, which is comparable with the cost of the room in local hotels of low-medium price range. The interior, quality of repairs in the apartments are often better than in hotel rooms of similar cost. On the downside you will not have any additional services usually offered by the hotels like parking, laundry, dry-cleaning, etc.
Nikolaev was founded in 1788 during the Russian-Turkish war of 1787-1791 as a naval base after the Russian annexation of the Black Sea coast, near the site of ancient Greek settlement Olbia. Nikolaev was a shipyard from where the town developed and which was named Nikolaev in 1789.
Till 1862, Nikolaev was a military port only. In 1862, commercial harbor was opened and in 1873 the railway was built to the port. Soviet power was established in Nikolaev in 1918.
More about the history of the city
Nikolaev is now one of the most important Ukrainian Black Sea ports, serving Krivoy Rog area and extensive steppe grain lands. Machine-building and metal-working are main industries in the city, there are such branches as ship-building and power machine-building.
Nikolaev is one of the largest shipbuilding centers of Ukraine. Ship-building is presented by 3 plants which are able to produce any type of ships. Several plants provide production of ship equipment.
Nikolaev also has a wide range of other engineering and consumer-goods industries. An alumina-processing plant utilizing imported bauxite was built in the 1970s in the northern suburb of Zhovtnevoye. Nikolayevsky alumina plant is one of the largest plants in the city, it produces alumina – raw for aluminum production.
Light industry is presented by numerous sewing plants. Food industry is also one of the leading branches of industry in Nikolaev.
Nikolaev is a modern city in appearance, laid out on a gridiron pattern of broad streets. The city is an important cultural center of Ukraine. It has ship-building and teacher-training institutes.
Catholic Church of St. Joseph. The church was built on the means of local Catholics in 1896. Bolsheviks closed the church in 1934. In the next building the museum of local history is located - one of the first museums related to the ancient history on the territory of the Russian Empire (founded in 1803). Since 1992, the church resumed worship. In recent years, the church holds regular organ music concerts. Address: Nikolaev, Decembrists Str., 32. Opening hours: 8:30-17:30.
Cathedral of the Image of the Casper Blessed Virgin Mary. The cathedral built in 1872-1915 is notable for its ancient Russian architectural forms. In Soviet times, the building served as the club of the shipyard. The cathedral was returned to the believers in 1992 and was reconstructed. Address: Nikolaev, Sadovaya Str., 12.
St. Nicholas Church. This stone church was built in classical style in 1813. The ornaments and paintings of the 19th century were preserved. Since its consecration the church was never closed for a long time, even in the midst of the struggle against religion. The cathedral is in the list of monuments of national importance. Address: Nikolaev, Faleevskaya Str., 4.
Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin. It is the oldest survived church of Nikolaev built on donations from local merchants in 1800. In 1876, a huge bell weighing over 8 tons was placed in the bell tower. The cathedral was closed in 1938. The building housed a garrison house of officers. In 1992, the church was returned to the believers. Address: Nikolaev, Lyagin Str., 10.
Church of All Saints. The church is one of the oldest temples of the city. The founder of Nikolaev shipyard M. Faleev was buried in the crypt of the church. Nearby, at the Old Cemetery, there is a crypt of the founder of Kharkov University V. Karazin. Address: Nikolaev, Stepnaya Str., 35.
Chapel of St. Nicholas. The chapel was built on Lenin Square in 2004. Before the revolution, near this place, at the intersection of Admiralskaya and Sovetskaya streets, the main church of Nikolaev was standing - a majestic Admiralteyskiy cathedral. The height of the chapel is 16 meters. Address: Nikolaev, Lenin Square.
Nikolaev mayor office and Lenin monument
Headquarters of the Navy (Shipbuilding Museum). The building of Black Sea Fleet Headquarters was constructed in 1794 in the style of Russian classicism. The residence of the chief commander of the Black Sea Fleet was located there for some time. Since 1978, it is the museum of shipbuilding and fleet.
The exposition demonstrates the development of shipbuilding in the northern Black Sea coast from the earliest times to the present day. There are over 100 models of ships of the 18th-20th centuries presented. Also among the exhibits are the fragments of ancient ships, navigational instruments, rare maps and documents.
One of the most interesting exhibits is the diorama “Construction of the first sailing ships in Nikolaev shipyard”. The alley of admirals (busts of F. Ushakov, M. Lazarev, F. Bellingshausen, P. Nakhimov and others) can be found in front of the museum. Address: Nikolaev, Admiralskaya Str., 4. Opening hours: 9:00-16:00, day off – Monday.
Museum of Art. Nikolaev Regional Art Museum of Vereshchagin has the collection of more than 9 thousand works of art including 148 paintings of famous artist of battle scenes V. Vereshchagin. The exhibition shows the artist’s personal belongings, furnishings of his studio. Also the works of V. Tropinin, A. Venetsianov, K. Bryullov, V. Serov are presented. The museum is located in one of the best buildings in the city, an architectural monument of the second half of the 19th century. Address: Nikolaev, Bolshaya Morskaya Str., 47. Opening hours: 9:00-17:00, days off - Monday, Friday.
Local History Museum. Nikolaev Regional History Museum was established in 1913. Today the museum’s collection includes more than 160 thousand exhibits. Among the exhibits, in particular, are the objects found during archaeological research of the ancient settlement of Olbia, the Kievan Rus times tools, Cossacks’ arms. In the yard there is a collection of ancient stone Polovtsian sculptures. Address: Nikolaev, Decembrists Str., 32. Opening hours: 8:30-17:30.
Museum of the Strategic Rocket Forces located in Pobuzhskoye village.
Naval Boulevard. It is a shady pedestrian promenade above Ingul River, vaguely reminiscent of Primorsky Boulevard in Odessa. The boulevard offers views of the river, bridges, and Nikolaev Yacht Club. In honor of the foundation of the city an old gun was placed there. In 2002, the monument to Colonel M. Faleev, who supervised the construction of the city and the shipyard, was erected nearby. At the other end of the boulevard there is a monument to Admiral S. Makarov (1976), famous scientist and naval commander. Address: Nikolaev, Naval Boulevard.
Nikolaev Zoo is one of the best in Europe, part of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). The zoo was founded in 1901. Today the collection includes about 5690 animals of 460 species; a lot of species living there are listed in the Red Book. Enclosure for domestic animals “Grandfather’s hut” is decorated in a folk style. It is a kind of a museum of rural life in the Southern Ukraine.
The ticket price: for adults - 25 hryvnas (about 3 USD), for children - 15 hryvnas (about 2 USD), for children under 6 years - free of charge. One can get to the Zoo by municipal transport: trolley-buses #1, #2, trams #6, #7; get out on the stop “Bus station”. Address: Nikolaev, Leontovich Square. Opening hours: 9:00-18:00 (in summer); 8:00-17:00 (in winter).
Children’s Town “Fairy Tale”. This playground is sometimes called Ukrainian “Disneyland”. Every building of the cultural-game complex located in the center of the city is associated with a well-known fairy tale or folk character.
Before 1982, the territory was occupied by market place. After it was moved the city authorities decided to open a children’s amusement park there. First, a large pavilion for concerts was opened, then a wooden fortress and a medieval stone castle were built, as well as marine harbor with sailboat “Buyan”, which is a model of the first ship built in Nikolaev.
In addition, there are also two beacons, old engine, carousel with cat and mermaid from Pushkin’s tales. Recently, two new carousels, Ferris wheel, motor racing track were added. Address: Nikolaev, Decembrists Str., 38-a.
The Admiralty. The complex of buildings of the Navy Department (Admiralty) includes Staroflotskie barracks built in the classical style, shipyard with walls and gates, as well as the gymnasium building housing Nikolaev Construction College. Usually, when local people are speaking about the Admiralty they mean the current main office building of the Shipyard named after 61 Communards, which has a high spire. Before the entrance there is a monument to the founder of Nikolaev Prince G. Potemkin. Address: Nikolaev, Naberezhnaya Str., Communards Square.
Nikolaev city frigate view
Nikolaev tank T-34 monument
Nikolaev Yacht Club. It is the coastal recreation area located in the northwestern part of the city on the river Southern Bug. The oldest in Ukraine yacht club was established in Nikolaev in 1887. In 1904, new stone building of Nikolaev Yacht Club was opened. This building is still standing. In 2009, a monument to G. Potemkin was placed on the waterfront. Address: Nikolaev, Sportivnaya Str., 7.
Water Park “Vodoley” is one of the first water parks in the country, opened in 1997 on the basis of water-sports complex. The park offers several pools of various depths and lengths, slides, fountains, waterfalls. There is a children’s pool with fountains and a water umbrella. Among the other services are cafe-bar, sauna, and gym. Private swimming lessons are available. Address: Nikolaev, Oktyabrskiy Ave., 323.
Public Garden of Pushkin with the monument to the writer was opened in Nikolaev in 1988. It is located at the intersection of Pushkin and Naberezhnaya streets. In 2011, the public garden has been reconstructed; the fence around it is covered with paintings depicting scenes of fairy tales and episodes from the life of the writer. Address: Nikolaev, Pushkin Str., 1.
Dikiy Sad. Ancient settlement “Dikiy Sad” (“wild garden”) is the remains of the Cimmerian settlement of the 12th century BC. This town located at the confluence of Ingul and Southern Bug Rivers was founded at the times of legendary Troy. The remains of the walls of ancient buildings, two stone bridges, and temple were excavated. In the northern part the fragment of the defensive wall and watchtower were found. The town was a well-fortified Black Sea port, an important administrative and trade center. Address: Nikolaev, Naberezhnaya Str.
Monument of St. Nicholas. The sculpture of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of Nikolaev city, was opened in Kashtanoviy public garden in 2005 to commemorate the 216th anniversary of the city. It is one of the favorite places of recreation of people living in Nikolaev. The sculptures of lions are placed at the entrance to the public garden. Address: Nikolaev, Sovetskaya Str.
Nikolaev Observatory. The observatory is a historical research institution, the oldest observatory in the territory of Ukraine. It was founded by Admiral A. Greig, who in 1821 served as governor of Nikolaev. The observatory provided the Black Sea Fleet navigational information and equipment, trained the navigators.
Built almost two centuries ago, the building of the observatory survived to this day unchanged. The museum has a unique collection of astronomical instruments including unique old telescope built in the middle of the 19th century in Germany. Address: Nikolaev, Observatornaya Str., 1-a.
Officers’ Club. This two-storey building constructed in the classical style is an example of civil architecture of the 19th century. Today the building hosts the House of officers of the fleet. Address: Nikolaev, Artilleriyskaya Str., 7.
Shukhov Tower. In one of the highest places in Nikolaev, on the top of Spassky hill, unique hyperboloid water tower is standing for over a hundred years. For the first time this architectural form was introduced by famous Russian engineer Vladimir Shukhov. He designed a lot of similar structures built in Russia and abroad, including the famous television tower in Moscow on Shabolovskaya Street. Today the tower is not used for its intended purpose. The height of the construction is 25 m. Address: Nikolaev, Rumin Str., 9.