Opposite the River Station, closing Markina area (formerly Smirnoff) on the south side, one of the most significant buildings stands on the Rozhdestvenskaya street – it is a passage of Blinov merchants.
Of all the houses on the street, this is perhaps the most "inhabited": such amount of offices, institutions and residents you can not find in any other house. However, it was originally built as a large profitable house.
In the middle of the XIX century the south side of the Sofronovsky square in Rozhdestvenskaya street was built up by apartment houses, which were bought up by merchants and industrialists, Aristarchus and Nikolai Blinov. Brothers owned a total of five stone houses, two flour and two cereal plants in Zavolzhie. Not only houses of Sofronovsky area were associated with Blinov name but also a park, which was called Blinovsky..
Arrangement of Sofronovsky area cost to Blinov 40 thousand rubles. As Nizhny Novgorod ethnographer Nikolai Hramtsovsky wrote in the late XIX century: "The whole area between Rozhdestvenskaya street and waterfront was occupied with the home of merchant Blinovwhich had benches where the householder arranged a horse mill for grinding eltonsk salt, with which he lead a considerable bargaining."
The passage was built in 1876-1878 years by the architect Kileveyn and designed by St. Petersburg architect Bruni. Commissioned by Blinov, it was a huge four-floor passage, arts and artistic decoration of which were styled as an Ancient Russia using special instruments which were boxed set, Machicolation in the attic, etc. Contemporaries in the 80s of the XIX century noted that with the construction of the passage there was a «claim to grace ... the huge height, mirror glass,» but behind all this hiding «bast coolies, barrels of kerosene and bottles of something».
Some experts believe that Blinovsky passage was a specific profitable house. In contrast to other houes of the beginning of the XIX century it included mainly commercial and business premises.
The central bulk was occupied by the restaurant, shops with offices, banks,and on the top floor there was a lucrative housing. In the left side the hotel was placed, in the right - Telegraph. In the perimeter of the yard there were two-storey shop offices. The main central entrance led to the passage, which was logged in the yard and buildings which used for the commercial premises and Exchange Commission.
In 1864, Nizhny Novgorod was visited by the heir to the throne Nickolay, who personally honored by his visit Blinov brothers and their business at Sofronovskaya area. In honor of this event Blinov allocated 25 thousand rubles for the building a public bank, which was named Nikolaev. Blinov brothers contributed large sums to the initial capital of the bank by financing shelters, almshouses, hospitals, high schools, colleges, libraries, on the maintenance of which the bank annually deducted considerable funds. The Bank also provided money for municipal services, including the water supply, sewerage, electricity, telephone network, as well as it allocated funds for scholarships and grants to fire victims.
In Blinov passage, there was a main office of land bank of Nizhny Novgorod – Samara joint stock which was opened in Nizhny Novgorod in 1872. The Bank ensured increased at the end of the XIX century the need for a mortgage by making its financial operations throughout eastern Russia. In Blinovsky passage there was also the office of Nizhny Novgorod Post and Telegraph District, which was opened on October 1, 1886 the first in the Volga region. By the way, Blinov brothers were one of the first people in Nizhny Novgorod who had a phone. Overall, in 1885, there were no more than 50 numbers in the city.
In 1894, the Association "Electron" made an autonomous electric lighting in the building of passage. In 1898, the house was under the reconstruction.
In the hotel of Blinovsky passage an artist Konstantin Makovsky stayed during the work on the famous "Appeal Minin"; and from the local restaurant Maxim Gorky was escorted in exile.