Veliky Novgorod

Situated 190 kilometers south of St. Petersburg on the banks of the Volkhov River and beautiful Lake Ilmen, Novgorod is a medieval treasure declared a world heritage by UNESCO. This ancient city was founded in 859 by the Vikings who traded between the Baltic and Black Seas and named Holmgard. The princes of Novgorod constituted the Kievan Rus, the first Russian state. In medieval times Novgorod accumulated considerable wealth thanks to its trade links with the Hansa, exporting timber and fur to all of Europe. Novgorod controlled a vast area of land in what was called the Novgorod Republic, enjoying great privileges and independence from the rest of Russia in a democratic regime unique at the time. During this period Novgorod enjoyed the peak of its prosperity and was also a great cultural center. In 1478 the city was conquered by Muscovites and annexed to the Duchy of Moscow, and in 1570 Novgorod was savagely sacked and looted by the Russian troops of Ivan the Terrible, who suspected the city of betraying him to the enemies of Russia. The city never recovered from this blow and entered a long decline. Partly thanks to that, many of its medieval treasures have been preserved and can be admired even today.

Panoramic tour of Novgorod. Discover the most prominent sights of the city: laid out across the banks of the Volkhov River lies the Museum of Wooden Architecture, featuring twenty civil and religious buildings brought here from different parts of the region, all excellent examples of typical Northen Russia architecture. Nearby the beautiful golden domes of St. Georges Monastery, also known as Yuriev Monastery, tower above the scenary. Inside the city, its former medieval centre is the Yaroslavl Court where we will admire the churches dedicated to the saint patrons of different professional guilds, such as St. Nicholas Cathedral. On the opposite bank of the Volkhov River seats the city heart: the magnificent Kremlin.

Visit to the Novgorod Kremlin. This medieval fortress, also named the “Detinets”, was built in 1044 and contains some of the most ancient monuments of Russia: its oldest clock and bell towers and oldest civil palace, called the “Chamber of the Facets.” Tts crown jewel, however, is undoubtely the oldest church in Russia, the magnificent St. Sophia Cathedral, built in 1050 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise and boasting splendid frescoes from the 12th century and its famous Bronze Gates. Other monuments inside the Kremlin are the Eternal Flame and the Millennium of Russia.