Talking about Russia means talking about the most weird, bizarre and extreme things. Even if the world is becoming more and more globalized, everything we learn about Russia always seems surreal.
Those differences make the world and the different cultures something very interesting. Because if we all did the same things, though the same things and behaved the same, what interest would that have? The best thing about travelling to distant countries is discovering their traditions, so different from ours, and thus enriching ourselves.
For that reason, let us talk about Novisibirsk, administrative centre of Novosibirsk Oblast that, even if it’s not one of the best-known cities of this huge country, it is one of the most important ones.
Novosibirsk is one of the most important cultural centres of Russia; it has several theatre creative centre, a philharmonic and an enviable list of museums of all kinds and for every taste.
There are many ways of discovering the best of Novosibirsk, but today we want to share with you a list of the museums that you definitely cannot miss if you decide to visit this city. Some of them are historical classics that you must know to understand the history of the region and country and others, well, they are a little bit weirder, but aren’t Russian people known for their eccentricity, among other things?
West Siberian Railway History Museum
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Also known as the “Train Museum”, this is a classic you cannot miss. Even if you have never done it (I totally recommend you to do it), it is popular knowledge that the best way to traverse and discover Russia is the Trans-Siberian Railway (Trans-Mongolian Railway if you take it or leave it in Mongolia; Chinese Eastern Railway if you take it or leave it in China).
If it is already impossible not associating Russia with trains, the principal reason why Novosibirsk was erected and became what it is today is that it was one of the most important train stops in Russia; not only in economic terms, but also because Novosibirsk connects Russia with Central Asia and the Caspian Sea. So if we want to understand deeply the culture of the country, a museum exclusively dedicated to explaining how the most impressive railroad network of the world works is the best place to do it.
This museum has locomotives, machines and cabins used throughout the years, as well as photographies and collection items of some of the engine drivers and people who worked making history in the railway sector. In addition to visiting the exhibition, you can go inside some of the trains to take pictures and to see what they like are.
The museum and its collections are displayed on the outside so we recommend you to visit it in a good weather.
The museum is 25 kilometres away from the Novosibirsk city centre, on the route to Akademgorodok, but there are trains and buses that can take you there. You can also reach it by taxi.
Address: Ulitsa Shamshurina, 39, Novosibirsk, Novosibirskaya oblast’, Russia, 630004.
Novosibirsk State Museum of Local History and Nature
Another important factor in the history of Novosibirsk are the natives that inhabited this region more than 300 years ago and this museum is a great place to learn about them.
This museum is located in one of the most ancient and historic buildings of this city, which makes it an attraction in its own right, and it also is one of the most interesting in this city. It was closed for two years for renovations, but it has reopened with totally renewed exhibition rooms. Nowadays it is one of the most popular museums thanks to its permanent exhibition “Siberia in Ancient Times”, which is about the native communities that inhabited Novosibirsk 300 years ago, it is really complete and it helps to understand how Novosibirsk became the city that it is today. The exhibition has photographs, collector’s items and clothes from the natives.
The museum is about the history and culture of Novosibirsk, its surroundings and Siberia.
Although the museum has some pieces with its explanation in English, most of the descriptions are in Russian, so if you want to learn and go in depth into the history of the city, we recommend you to book a guided visit.
Krasnyy Prospekt 23, Novosibirsk 630099, Russia. It is right in front of the Lenin Square metro station.
World Funeral Culture Museum
As its name anticipates, this museum is dedicated to the funeral culture and all that implies. One morning the owner of the local crematorium woke up with an idea and he decided to build a museum with the intention of making death a common issue and of helping us to understand that death is as part of life as life itself. In addition, it allows us to see and learn how other countries around the world experience death and how rituals and traditions change depending on the different cultures.
This museum is the most complete one about this matter in the world, with more than 8000 pieces that range from books explaining the different kinds of rituals, cremations and embalming to life-size collection pieces such as coffins from another era. The complex is huge and, in addition to the museum, we can also see some parks full of funeral carriages for different eras and a crematorium.
Voyentorgovskaya Street, 4/16, Novosibirsk 630530, Russia.
Siberian Birch Bark Museum
The Siberian Birch Bark Museum has to be one of the most beautiful ones in the area. It opened in 2002 and it is located in a wooden building from 1900. It is a relatively small museum, but it has a large amount of pieces made by great Siberian and local artists specialized in this discipline.
There are several thematic rooms in which everyday life objects are displayed, as well as characters from Russian literature and even a room with objects not suitable for children.
Each one of the pieces displayed on the museum was hand made using the technique of birch wood.
The museum is located in the city centre and, if you did not know anything about this kind of art, you have to make time to visit it.
Ulitsa Sverdlova, 21, Novosibirsk, Russia.
Wonder Park Galileo
This museum, which has many optical illusion activities, is one of my favourites (after the Funeral Culture Museum, obviously, but this is not something I can easily admit). If you ask for the Wonder Park Galileo in Novosibirsk, they will probably asume that you are travelling with kids and that you are looking for something to entertain them, but if you ask me, I would say that it is for all ages. In fact, I think that you will enjoy it more as an adult. Or maybe it’s just me, because I like this kind of attractions, but even then, you should give it a chance.
It has different entertainment rooms that range from optical labyrinths, logic games, physics and chemistry experiments, to gravity rooms where you can stand in weird ways. Don’t you thing that it is a great place to spend one afternoon in Novosibirsk (without kids, but with friends)?
Dobrolyubova Street 16a, Novosibirsk 630009, Russia.
Novosibirsk State Art Museum
This is the most important museum of the city and, therefore, you have to visit in even if art is not your thing. Moreover, this is another museum located in an ancient building designed by a Siberian architect, a work of art in its own right.
The collection of items on display includes photographies, paintings and sculptures, and they are related to the Siberian art.
The interesting thing about this museum is that it does not have works of art typical from the ancient artist that we all know, but, in addition to local artists, we can find rooms dedicated to Japanese art, Korean art and Asian art in general.
Krasnyy Prospekt, 5, Novosibirsk, Novosibirskaya oblast’, Russia, 630007.
Russia is one of the most interesting countries that we can discover, and I swear that I am being impartial in this matter and I am not saying this because I have travelled around it and fell in love with every city. To be able to understand how this country works, it is necessary to go far from the typical Russian cities, which are the ones located in the European Russia.
If you want to get to know this country in depth, you have to go into Siberia and the city of Novosibirsk, because it is the one that links both worlds. That is why it is the perfect destination. And besides the typical soviet buildings, which are predominant in the local architecture, the museum world is so diverse that it helps us to understand this very interesting culture.
Imágenes: Martha de Jong-Lantink, Russian Museums y Funeral Portal.
Where to change money in Russia
You will need Russian rubles for travelling to Novosibirsk. You can exchange your money for this one before your trip, at any of the Global Exchange branches around the world or in your own country. In fact, you can do it at the Koltsovo International Airport, in Yekaterinburg. Check the location of their branches in the following map: