Novgorod is not only an ancient Russian city, but also the cradle of Russian democracy, a medieval trade and craft center, a major partner of the Hanseatic League of the 12th-17th centuries, and a connecting link between Rus and Europe. The word “Novgorodians” was first recorded in the chronicle in 859. Unfortunately, the date of the formation of Novgorod, as well as the location of the Old Town, is still not known. Some tourists suppose that the ancient town was located at the site of Gorodische, on the right bank of the Volkhov River, not far from the modern city. The residence of Duke Rurik was probably located here. He was on reigning in Novgorod in the 11th century. Exactly he founded the dynasty of the Rurikids.
In the 10th century, the city was transferred to another place and was named Novgorod. When Kiev was conquered by Duke Oleg with his Novgorod retinue and Kievan Rus’ was formed, Novgorod became the second important center of the new country. Once, legendary Vladimir the Great and then his son Yaroslav the Wise reigned here. Since 1136, Novgorod had gained a right to choose which duke to invite to reign.
In 1478, the Novgorod Republic disappeared from the face of the Earth. That happened because the Moscow troop beat the Novgorod one on the Shelon River. At that time, all its lands, including Novgorod, came to Muscovite Rus’ and the territory of the country increased five-fold. Novgorod became an important trade and craft center before the 18th century primarily due to its advantageous location, as Novgorod was located at the crossroads of trade routes from the Baltic states to the Mediterranean Region. The trade relations of the city spread from Hanseatic cities and Flanders to the Yugorsky Peninsula and from Scandinavia to Constantinople and Astrakhan. Today, travelers associate the modern city with a rich cultural heritage, picturesque streets and wonderful nature.
Among main historical symbols of Veliky Novgorod, the magnificent old fortress called the Detinets (or Citadel) is worth being mentioned. The exact date of its constructions is unknown. The first written references to it date back to the beginning of the 11th century. The complex was extensively reconstructed in the 15th century when Veliky Novgorod became a part of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Today, the visitors of the historical attraction can see beautiful old towers, the preserved fragments of the medieval stone wall, and ancient temples.
The most visited religious monument of the city is the Cathedral of St. Sophia. It was built at the beginning of the 11th century too. Today, it is one of the oldest churches in Russia. The religious construction is distinguished by unique architecture. Its bell tower has remained unchangeable since the 15th century.
The indoor museum called “Vitoslavlitsy” is very popular with tourists and children. It presents interesting samples of “wooden” architecture transferred here only from the Novgorod Region. Some wooden constructions you can see today in the territory of the museum were built in the 12th century. The museum was opened in 1964. Today, interesting themed holidays and folk festivals are regularly held here.
Granovitaya Palata is a unique architectural monument of the 15th century. According to the chronicles, its construction involved German architects, so the brick building has quite an unusual exterior. Now, its visitors will have an opportunity to walk along its spacious halls with vaulted ceiling and admire unique exhibits presented here.
The most extraordinary culture venues in the city is the Center of Musical Antiquities. It was founded by V. I. Povetkin, a famous artist and restorer, whose name the museum has born since its opening. The center doesn’t resemble ordinary museums. Here, you can not only admire interesting exhibits, but also master Russian crafts. The museum houses collections of Old-Russian tools of different periods. Here, specialists restore them. Music performances are also often held in the museum.