The great Russian Oka and Volga rivers meet in Nizhny Novgorod, the region's capital whose architecture has amazed its visitors for centuries: the Kremlin, numerous Orthodox churches, and skillfully made carvings on the windows of wooden houses. Lovers of literature visit Bolshoe Boldino, a place where Alexander Pushkin spent three productive creative seasons. Nizhny Novgorod Oblast is also famous for the Russian Khokhloma folk craft (wood painting handicraft). In the town of Semyonov you can see how Khokhloma items are made and have a go yourself; the process hasn't changed since ancient times.
Nizhny Novgorod Oblast contains many architectural, historical, and cultural monuments, including, according to legend, the mythical city of Kitezh at the bottom of Lake Svetloyar. This is obviously a legend, but Pavel Ivanovich Melnikov brought it to life in his novel In the Forests, while Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov used it for his opera The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya. The village of Bolshoe Boldino inspired Alexander Pushkin: He finished Eugene Onegin, the Belkin Tales, and Little Tragedies here, and he wrote the poem The Little House at Kolomna and 30 lyric verses.
Nizhny Novgorod Oblast has also inspired unnamed artisans: the region produces about 20 different folk crafts. The most popular Russian souvenir—Khokhloma—is made in the town of Semyonov and the village of Syomino. Every year the Golden Khokhloma Festival is held in Semyonov. At the height of the festival, the town's main square is turned into a colorful crowd of artisans and tourists.
The town of Bogorodsk is a center of ceramic art. Pottery has been made here since 1570 and the work of local artisans became famous around Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Every year, at the end of June, the town holds the Pottery Town festival. In the town's central square, the best works by the most famous artisans in Russia are displayed together with an exhibition of master classes and a show. Professional potters demonstrate how to make objects on a potter's wheel, to refine their shape and fire them—in other words, all stages for making Bogorodsky ceramics.
The merry, bright, and very decorative Gorodets painting is classified as naive art. It has been famous since the mid 19th century. By the way, this place is not only famous for painting: gingerbread biscuits and children's whistles are made here, and embroidery is also popular. Gorodets is also famous for its hollow wood carvings, which are sometimes called Goredetsky. Examples of this type of carving have been preserved on wooden houses in the town. On the last Sunday in July, the Brotherhood of Folk Masters festival is held in Gorodets, where almost all of Russia's preserved folk arts and crafts are displayed.
Pilgrims and lovers of architecture visit Serafimo-Diveevsky and Zheltovodsky Makaryev Convents. While people who prefer outdoor activities can descend into the Ichalkovsky Caves and the Peshelan Gypsum mine or raft along Nizhny Novgorod Oblast's rivers.