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 it 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 the city 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
The climate of the area is of moderate continental type with mild winters and hot summers. Average temperature is 10 degrees C above zero, it is the lowest in January (3,1 degrees C below zero), the highest in July (22,3 degrees C above zero).
How to get to Nikolaev
There is an airport located nearby. Unfortunately, nowadays, there is no information about regular flights.
There are numerous trains available going from Kiev railway station, time in travel is about 8-10 hours, the price of the ticket starts from about 45 USD.
You can also fly from Kiev (Boryspil airport) to Odessa (1 hour) and from Odessa there are several regular buses/trains going to Nikolaev (3-4 hours).
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 (70-150 USD depending on the model of the car).
The city has various hotels of different levels of comfort and prices.
According to some reviews, here are the best Nikolaev hotels.
Hotel “Nikotel”. This hotel is located in the center of the business, cultural, entertainment and shopping complexes of Nikolaev.
Additional services: conference room for 50 people, parking, shuttle service, room service, Wi-Fi, laundry and dry cleaning service, booking of air and railway tickets, excursions, car rental.
91 rooms of different categories, restaurant (Ukrainian cuisine). Lenin Avenue, 120. Phones: +380 512 76 52 71, +380 512 76 52 72, +380 512 76 52 73.
Hotel “Metallurg”. The hotel is located in Korabelny district of Nikolaev (center). Nearby, you can find sports and swimming complex, a shopping mall.
53 rooms with central air conditioning, mini-bar, TV, phone. The price includes breakfast, swimming pool. Oktyabrsky Avenue, 319-a. Phones: +380 512 48 96 67, +380 512 48 96 68, +380 512 63 40 56.
Hotel “Palace Ukraine”. Hotel and entertainment complex located in the heart of the city. It includes a casino, a restaurant and a billiards room.
Superior rooms are equipped with everything you need including natural wood furniture. Lenin Avenue, 57. Phone: +380 512 58 27 00.
Hotel “Reikartz River Nikolaev”. It is located in the historic part of the city, near the Yacht Club. Multi-storey hotel building stands in parkland on the riverbank.
86 rooms of different categories. All rooms have beautiful views of the river. Restaurant complex includes classic Irish pub on the ground floor. Restaurant “Stargorod” (French, Italian, Japanese, Ukrainian, intercontinental cuisine).
The price includes breakfast, Wi-Fi, parking, mail delivery, storage, service “alarm clock”, a safety deposit box. Sportivnaya Street, 9. Phone: +380 51 270 14 30.
Hotel “Koral”. Luxury two-storey hotel located in the central part of the city. 11 rooms with satellite TV, phone, mini-bar, individually controlled air conditioning and heating. Admiral Makarov Street, 22. Phones: +380 512 36 67 85, +380 512 47 97 77.
Mini-Hotel “Golden Fazan”. It is located in the business and cultural center of Nikolaev, close to historical monuments.
7 rooms with modern furniture, satellite TV, phone, mini-bar, internet, bathroom. Each room has its unique color scheme. Luxury classic restaurant. The price includes breakfast, Wi-Fi. Navarinskaya Street, 8. Phone: +380 51 237 94 19.
The other most commonly used way to stay in the city is to rent an apartment. The market offers a lot of different apartments (mostly one-bedroom apartments in multi-storey buildings located close to the 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 mayor office and Lenin monument
Catholic Church of St. Joseph. The church was built on the means of local Catholics in 1896. Bolsheviks closed the church in 1934. Since 1992, the church resumed worship. In recent years, the church holds regular organ music concerts. Decembrists Street, 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. Sadovaya Street, 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. Faleevskaya Street, 4.
Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin. It is the oldest survived church in the city built on donations from local merchants in 1800. The cathedral was closed in 1938. The building housed a garrison house of officers. In 1992, the church was returned to the believers. Lyagin Street, 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. Stepnaya Street, 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. Lenin Square.
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. Admiralskaya Street, 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. 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. Bolshaya Morskaya Street, 47. Opening hours: 9:00-17:00, days off - Monday, Friday.
Local History Museum. It was established in 1913. Today, the 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. Decembrists Street, 32. Opening hours: 8:30-17:30.
Museum of the Strategic Rocket Forces located in Pobuzhskoye village.
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 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. Near the entrance, there is a monument to the founder of the city Prince G. Potemkin. Naberezhnaya Street, Communards Square.
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. Artilleriyskaya Street, 7.
Shukhov Tower. In one of the highest places in the city, 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. Rumin Street, 9.
Other places of interest
Nikolaev Zoo founded in 1901 is one of the best in Europe. Today, it has 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. Leontovich Square. Opening hours: 9:00-18:00 (in summer); 8:00-17:00 (in winter).
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.
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 the city in 1887. In 1904, new stone building of the yacht club was opened. This building is still standing. Sportivnaya Street, 7.
More Interesting Places…
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. Decembrists Street, 38-a.
Water Park “Vodoley” is one of the first water parks in Ukraine, 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. Oktyabrskiy Avenue, 323.
Public Garden of Pushkin with the monument to the writer was opened 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. Pushkin Street, 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. Naberezhnaya Street.
Monument of St. Nicholas. The sculpture of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of the 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. Sovetskaya Street.
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 the city. 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. Observatornaya Street, 1-a.