The city of Nizhny Novgorod is a beautiful postcard city in the banks of River Volga, just 259 miles away from the Russian Capital Moscow, nowadays a become hot spot for the passionate football fans around the world, the streets around the Volga are filled with people having different culture you will get there English,Mexicans, people from Panama it’s a like city is under the multicultural party.
City already witnessed the extreme drama of football when this is the only place where Croatia upset the might Messi’s Argentina, and now on Saturday it will host the huge Army of English fan when England play Panama.
But what makes this city different from other host cities in Russia is its history that very distinct from others
Whole around 1980s Andrei Sakharov the famous Nuclear physicist and man behind bringing the concept of disarmament world was Gorkhy ( Now called Nizhny Novgorod ) most famous resident in the Soviet era.
He is an intellectual phenomenon by genes as a son of a physicist father and gymnastics teacher who also very well home-schooled him.
He soon joined selected group of physicists and engaged in the task of developing the hydrogen bomb, and he succeeded, by developing the RDS-37 and made Russians ahead of western powers in nuclear power.
But turning point came when he saw first testing of bomb in the winters of 1955 ,Sakharov was stunned and horrified by seeing the potential of bomb in destruction he understood on that point they were making weapon which has the capability to end whole humanity , he got to learn this from when a child from the other town was killed after the blast shattered the windows.
From that point he became a loud and effective voice of peace and human rights that led him to won Nobel peace prize in 1975 and also he enforced to exile to Gorky, city of Gorky now Nizhny Novgorod was a perfect, landscape to hide him from outside world and prevent him from all social connections like giving interviews, articles and foreign press, from that movement city, became a hub for military production and most interestingly it was entirely closed for foreigners from 1950 to end the of the 1980s.
Today when you search for the remains of Sakharov like his home it’s very difficult to find without a help: when you go closer to his house you find small sign behind a heavy metal door at the rear of an anonymous apartment block. All visitors whether Russian or Foreigners must take the cruise ship that at the stop that the city port to visit the apartment, although today very few football fans coming to see the apartment, it more seems like they just to drink and cheer and enjoy the party they nothing do with Sakharov history.
Just look the experience one of German fan according to him, It was Last week on Tuesday morning it was 30 degrees, and the city soon come under the dark shadows of thunderstorms for saving themselves most people hiding in the under the big arches of the Kremlin fortress also known as the historic jewel of the city.
Amond one them was Marcus from Hamburg Germany. He wore his German jacket to protect himself although the fact he arranged his ticket by other means for the match between Sweden and South Korea because there nobody was checking the ticket number against the fan id. He was also found himself only German in the city on that day.
He had been treated very warmly in a city, he was a good welcomed by Airbnb hosts: having piled with Vodka by few locals whom he met on the first night. Marcus was shocked not by warmth and love of the people he getting by what he thought could an opposite experience as city history suggests.
How unique it must be for locals who lived through when the city was closed for 30 years for outside world now suddenly people from all around the world coming to city waving different nations flags on the streets bringing few colours to the city.
Now after the 3 decades of transition and swift: the city revert its pre-soviet union name of Nizhny and Sakharov’s apartment now turned into the museum in early 1991. Sakharov himself died in 1989.
But his struggles and legacy still quite unknown in the newest part of the city and now city going under new modern development: the $290 million Novogrod stadium on the scenic river Volga giving few feel to the stadium. But the haunting is part is that once the big football matches will pass and world cup party gets over all the foreign faces, colours accents would disappear from the city and Nizhny will return to its normal days.