17/08/2022

1817 Nizhny Novgorod RS

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1817, Nizhny Novgorod

Name:Makaryev Fair
Dates:July
Days:Forty
Venue:Nizhny Novgorod
Theme:Export
Exhibitors:8,000 (in 1905)
Awards:
Visitors:c 160,000 – calculated from bread sales
Legacy:Today the main building is an exhibition centre

The Makaryev Fair was held annually, every July, near Makaryev Monastery on the left bank of the Volga River from the mid-16th century to 1816.

Nizhny Novgorod Fair in 1870s

Following a fire in 1816, it was moved to Nizhny Novgorod, but for some decades thereafter it was still referenced as Makaryev Fair. It attracted many foreign merchants from India, Iran, and Central Asia.

The fair’s main building featured classic architecture and with a series of administrative buildings it formed central square. To protect from floods of the nearby river, a 3.5 m high dam was built.


General view of Fair site

Main Fair building

During the two months of the fair, the population of the city Nizhny Novgorod swelled from 40,000 to 200,000 – the daily count of additional visitors was calculated from the amount of bread sold. The equivalent of $200m dollars’ worth of goods was sold or exchanged in six weeks.

Machines Hall

By the end of the 1880s, the Main Fair Building was outdated and it was completely rebuilt. The new building was in the style of ancient Russian architecture of the 17th century. It became the administrative centre, containing the governor’s apartment, fair the fair office, committee rooms, a branch of the state bank and others. The first floor provide a passage for retailing.

1896 Nizhny Novgorod exhibition

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 sixty buildings, 2,500 bazaars and 8,000 exhibits, with goods for sale, along with a broad range of performances for the public.

This fair routinely sold up to half the export goods of Russia until it finished in 1929. Today it is used as an exhibition centre.
(Text/image Sources: Wikimedia commons and Suzanne Massie, Land of Firebird – The Beauty of Old Russia).

Main building 2012

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