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 any sights that are well-known all over the world.
But the city is known far beyond Ukraine and tourists coming here will have unique experience.
“The City of Brides” attracts them because of beautiful women living here. A lot of local marriage agencies are involved in organization of “wedding” tourism.
According to the words of one of the girls, it works this way. It all starts with emails on the Internet, chat, and then a tourist comes to the city and continues communication or doesn’t do it.
It happens that some couples get married (about 5-10%). But most tourists prefer just to have a good time and leave the city afterwards.
The girls are mainly students, who want to enjoy themselves, go to restaurants, etc. or ladies of thirty-year age who want to get married. Although, students sometimes get married too. Tourists usually come for a week from various countries, but mostly from the US and Europe.
This business involves a lot of local people: photographers, students, programmers, owners of rented apartments, hotels, restaurants, clubs, saunas and other entertainment venues.
Nikolaev travel tips
The climate of the area is of moderate continental type with mild winters and hot summers.
The average temperature is 10 degrees C above zero. It is the lowest in January (3,1 degrees C below zero) and the highest in July (22,3 degrees C above zero).
How to get to Nikolaev
There is an airport located nearby but there are no regular flights at the moment.
A lot of trains run from Kiev railway station to Nikolaev. Travel time is about 8-10 hours, the price of the ticket starts from about 15 USD.
Also, you can fly from Kiev (Boryspil airport) to Odessa (1 hour). There are several regular buses/trains going from Odessa to Nikolaev (3-4 hours).
The distance between Odessa and Nikolaev is 150 km. You can use the services of local taxi too and go directly from Odessa airport (70-150 USD depending on the car model).
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 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. Nearby, you can find a sports and swimming complex and 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”. This hotel and entertainment complex is 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. The multi-storey hotel building stands in the parkland on the riverbank.
86 rooms of different categories. All rooms have beautiful views of the river. The restaurant complex includes a classic Irish pub on the ground floor. The 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”. It is a 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.
Another 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 the city center).
In most cases, you can rent an apartment on daily basis from individuals - owners of apartments, or special agencies.
The average price is about 30-40 USD per day, which is comparable with the price of the room in local hotels of low-medium price range. Usually, the interiors and quality of repairs are better than in hotels with similar price.
On the downside, you won’t have any additional services offered by the hotels (parking, laundry, dry-cleaning, etc.).
Nikolaev mayor office and Lenin monument
The Catholic Church of St. Joseph. The church was built on 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.
The 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 believers in 1992. 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 Ukrainian monuments of national importance. Faleevskaya Street, 4.
The Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin. It is the oldest survived church in the city, built on the donations of 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 believers. Lyagin Street, 10.
The Church of All Saints. This church is one of the oldest temples in Nikolaev. 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.
The 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.
The Headquarters of the Navy (the Shipbuilding Museum). The building of the Black Sea Fleet Headquarters was constructed in the style of Russian classicism in 1794.
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. More than 100 models of ships of the 18th-20th centuries are presented. Also, among the exhibits are some fragments of ancient ships, navigational instruments, rare maps and documents.
The diorama “The construction of the first sailing ships in Nikolaev shipyard” is one of the most interesting exhibit. The alley of the admirals (the 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.
The Museum of Art. Nikolaev Regional Art Museum of Vereshchagin has more than 9 thousand works of art including 148 paintings of the famous artist of battle scenes V. Vereshchagin. Also, works of V. Tropinin, A. Venetsianov, K. Bryullov, V. Serov are presented.
The museum is located in one of the best buildings in Nikolaev - 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 are the objects found during archaeological research of the ancient settlement of Olbia, Kievan Rus times tools, the Cossacks’ arms. In the yard, there is a collection of ancient stone Polovtsian sculptures. Decembrists Street, 32. Opening hours: 8:30-17:30.
The Museum of the Strategic Rocket Forces is located in Pobuzhskoye village.
The Admiralty. The complex of buildings of the Navy Department (the Admiralty) includes Staroflotskie barracks, built in classical style, the shipyard with walls and gates, as well as the gymnasium building housing the construction college.
Usually, when the locals talk 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.
The Officers’ Club. This two-storey building, constructed in classical style, is an example of civil architecture of the 19th century. Today, the building hosts the House of the officers of the fleet. Artilleriyskaya Street, 7.
Shukhov’s Tower. In one of the highest places in the city, on the top of Spassky hill, a unique hyperboloid water tower stands for over a hundred years. For the first time this architectural form was introduced by the 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 meters. Rumin Street, 9.
Other places of interest
Nikolaev Zoo, founded in 1901, is one of the best in Europe. Today, it has about 5700 animals of 460 species; a lot of species living there are listed in the Red Book.
The enclosure for domestic animals “Grandfather’s hut” is decorated in a folk style. It is 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).
More Interesting Places…
Naval Boulevard. It is a shady pedestrian promenade above the Ingul River, vaguely reminiscent of Primorsky Boulevard in Odessa. The boulevard offers views of the river, bridges, and the Yacht Club. In honor of the foundation of the city, an old gun was placed there.
Nikolaev Yacht Club. It is a coastal recreation area located in the northwestern part of the city on the Southern Bug River. The oldest in Ukraine yacht club was established in the city in 1887. In 1904, a new stone building of the yacht club was opened. This building is still standing. Sportivnaya Street, 7.
The Children’s Town “Fairy Tale”. This playground is sometimes called the 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 a marketplace. 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 a marine harbor with a sailboat “Buyan”, which is a model of the first ship built in Nikolaev.
In addition, there are two beacons, an old engine, a carousel with a cat and a mermaid from Pushkin’s tales. Recently, two new carousels, a Ferris wheel and a motor racing track were added. Decembrists Street, 38-a.
The Water Park “Vodoley” is one of the first water parks in Ukraine, opened in 1997 on the basis of a water-sports complex. The park offers several pools of various depths and lengths, slides, fountains, waterfalls.
There is a special pool for children with fountains and a water umbrella. Among the other services are a cafe-bar, sauna, and gym. Private swimming lessons are available. Oktyabrskiy Avenue, 323.
The 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 was 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. The ancient settlement “Dikiy Sad” (“the wild garden”) is the remains of the Cimmerian settlement of the 12th century BC.
This town located at the confluence of the Ingul and the Southern Bug rivers was founded in the days of the legendary Troy. The remains of the walls of ancient buildings, two stone bridges, and a temple were excavated.
In the northern part, a fragment of the defensive wall and a watchtower were found. The town was a well-fortified Black Sea port, an important administrative and trade center. Naberezhnaya Street.
The Monument of St. Nicholas. The sculpture of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of Nikolaev, was opened in Kashtanoviy public garden to commemorate the 216th anniversary of the city in 2005.
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 research institution, the oldest observatory in Ukraine. It was founded by the admiral A. Greig, who, in 1821, served as the governor of Nikolaev. The observatory provided the Black Sea Fleet navigational information and equipment, trained the navigators of the fleet.
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 a unique old telescope made in Germany in the middle of the 19th century. Observatornaya Street, 1-a.