Arzamas (also spelled Arsamas) is a city of Russia located in the center of the right-bank part of Nizhegorodskaya oblast, in the hilly area on the high right bank of the river Tesha (tributary of the Oka), about 110 km from Nizhny Novgorod and 410 km from Moscow, at the railways crossroads.
It is the city with long architectural, city-building and historical past. Arzamas is included into the list of Russian cities with great historical and cultural importance and its location on tourist ways makes it attractive for tourists.
Arzamas population is about 106,000 (2012) on the territory of 42 sq. km.
The phone code is +7 83147; the postal codes - 607220-607233.
There are several versions of Arzamas name derivation, in their stems they all have words of Erzya language. According to traditional legend the name is derived from the names of two brothers Arzay and Masay who met Ivan the Terrible with gifts and were the first to adopt Orthodox faith in the tsar’s presence.
The city was founded as a city-fortress by the order of Tsar Ivan the Terrible in 1552 when he was on his expedition to Kazan. The official date of the city foundation was 1578. The fortress was founded on the place of the ancient Erzya settlement. Arzamas fortress played an important part in defending the south-eastern boundaries of the Russian State; this fact is reflected in the coat of arms of the city.
In 1719, Arzamas was the main city of the province which was a part of Nizhegorodskaya gubernia. The population of the city was almost 7,000 in 1737, a bit smaller than that of Nizhny Novgorod. From the 17th century, Arzamas became an important transit point on the way from Moscow to south-eastern parts of Russia.
In the 18th century, a dozen of important trade ways crossed Arzamas. It was the time of rapid growth of the city - population grew, trade increased, industry developed. This period in the city history is known as “the golden age” which began in the mid 18th century and lasted for almost a century.
There was very active construction of the churches and by the early 19th century, 36 church buildings were erected. Resurrection (Voskresensky) cathedral built in memory of the victory in the Patriotic War of 1812 became the main decoration of Arzamas. This cathedral preserved till nowadays and it dominates in the outlook of the historical center of the city.
In 1901, Maxim Gorky lived in exile in Arzamas. On January 6th, 1954, Arzamaskaya oblast was separated from Gorkovskaya oblast, but 3 years later, in April 1957, it was abolished.
On June 4th, 1988, when cargo train approached the station “Arzamas-1”, 3 cars with 118 tons of industrial explosives blew up. 250 meters of the railways were destroyed as well as the railway station, station buildings and nearest houses. 160 industrial sites were in the area destroyed by explosion which also destroyed 954 houses, 180 of them could not be reconstructed.
Arzamas streets views
There are 18 large and 36 small plants in Arzamas: machine-building, radio- and gadget-building, food industry. The industrial sector prevails in the city economics, it makes about 73%.
Present day city is one of the most interesting cultural centers in Nizhegorodskaya oblast. There are 3 museums (historical, A.P.Gaidar memorial, M.Gorki memorial), drama theater, A.P.Gaidar Recreation Park, sports museum at the stadium “Znamya”, private museum “World of Ancient”.
In Arzamas, there is a unique nature corner - arboretum where about 100 types of trees and bushes are grown, they represent the flora of Europe, Asia, America and Australia.
Monuments of ancient times are main places of interest in the city. At the end of the 19th - early 20th centuries, there were 36 churches and 4 monasteries. Resurrection (Voskresensky) and Transfiguration cathedrals, magistrate, Gostiny Ryad remind of the golden age of Arzamas (1775-1850). Arzamas is among 116 historical cities of Russia.