Nizhny Novgorod Fair

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Exhibition Hall of the Fair in Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod Fair (old name — Makaryev Fair) (Russian: Нижегородская ярмарка) was a fair in Russia held annually every July near Makaryev Monastery on the left bank of the Volga River from the mid-16th century to 1816. Following a massive fire in 1816, it was moved to Nizhny Novgorod, but for some decades thereafter it still was commonly referred to as Makariev Fair. It attracted many foreign merchants from India, Iran, and Central Asia.

According to Durland, a journalist who visited the fair in 1905, the fair dates from "before the discovery of America." The fair was established by Muscovite princes to compete with, and draw commerce away from, a fair held since 1257, at Kazan, the Tartar capital. At the time Durland visited the fair, it consisted of 60 buildings, 2,500 bazaars and 8,000 exhibits, with goods for sale, along with a broad range of performances for the public.

This fair was a commerce centre to sell up to half the total production of export goods in Russia. The fair ceased in 1929. A society named Nizhegorodskaya yarmarka (Russian: Нижегородская ярмарка, Nizhny Novgorod fair) was created in 1991 with its headquarters in the former main fair building. However, today it is not actually a fair, but an exhibition center.


  • Munro-Butler-Johnstone, Henry Alexander, A trip up the Volga to the fair of Nijni-Novgorod, Oxford: J. Parker and co., 1876.
  • Fitzpatrick, Anne Lincoln, The Great Russian Fair: Nizhnii Novgorod, 1840-90, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan, in association with St. Antony’s College, Oxford, 1990. ISBN 0-333-42437-9
  • Jules Verne, "Michael Strogoff: The Courier of the Czar" — This historical novel contains an interesting description of the fair at Nizhny Novgorod.

Durland, Kellogg. "The Red Reign, The True Story of an Adventurous Year in Russia." New York: The Century Company, 1908, 320-329. Another interesting description of the fair, which the author, a journalist, visited in 1905 just after the dissolution of the first Duma.

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Coordinates: 56°19′42″N 43°57′39″E / 56.32833°N 43.96083°E / 56.32833; 43.96083