Veliky Novgorod is a city-museum of Ancient Rus', as well as the birthplace of Russian statehood and democracy. It was here that Rurik came with his retinue, later the Novgorod Republic arose and flourished here, and for the first time the bell rang, convening a people's assembly. Veliky Novgorod is also a unique place in terms of architecture. Only here a huge number of monuments of the 11th - 16th centuries have been preserved, massively lost on the territory of the rest of Rus'. Ancient churches and monasteries, powerful defensive towers of the Novgorod fortress, wooden houses 400 years old - all this splendor awaits tourists who decide to visit this wonderful city.
What to see and where to go in Veliky Novgorod?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
The Novgorod fortress stands on the left bank of the Volkhov River in the historical center of the city. The first mention of it dates back to the beginning of the 11th century, in the 12th century it became the stronghold of the Novgorod veche republic. In the 15th century, when the city became part of the Moscow principality, the complex was significantly rebuilt. More towers, ancient temples and sections of the stone wall have survived to this day.
Yaroslav's Court and Torg
An architectural complex located on the opposite side of the Volkhov River from the fortress. Monuments of the 12th-16th centuries have been preserved on its territory, among which are St. Nicholas Cathedral built in 1113 and the Praskeva Pyatnitsa Church dating back to the 13th century. The place was named after Prince Yaroslav the Wise. In ancient times, noisy fairs were held here. The latest building is the Gostiny Dvor arcade, which consists of several dozen white stone arches.
Saint Sophia Cathedral
The cathedral is considered one of the oldest temples of Rus'; it appeared on Novgorod land at the beginning of the 11th century and for many centuries was the spiritual center of the republic. In subsequent years, it was repeatedly rebuilt and expanded. The architecture of the temple is quite unique, of particular interest is the belfry of the XV century, consisting of five bays. Only three such structures were built.
Monument "Millennium of Russia"
A monument erected in 1862 in honor of the 1000th anniversary of the calling of the Varangians. The monument is made in the form of a large ball - the royal orb, standing on a pedestal. In total, 128 figures can be distinguished here, arranged in tiers: at the very top is an angel - the personification of Orthodoxy and a woman depicting Rus', below are images of princes, church hierarchs and enlighteners.
The monument was erected on Catherine's Hill in 1974 on the day of the 30th anniversary of the liberation of Veliky Novgorod from the German invaders. The sculptural group consists of a rider on a horse, crushing a swastika under him, and a tower with a boat on top, inside of which there is a spiral staircase. The warrior holds a sword in his hand and, as it were, personifies the collective image of all the defenders of the Russian land.
Museum of Wooden Architecture, located a few kilometers from the city. It is named after the village that was located here from the 12th to the 18th centuries. The open-air exposition appeared in 1964. Residential buildings were brought here - wooden architectural monuments, industrial buildings, a church. Folklore festivals and festive festivities are held on the territory of the museum.
Churches and temples of Veliky Novgorod
The architecture of Veliky Novgorod is unique in that many ancient temples have been preserved here, many of which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. In total, there are about 30 religious buildings in the city. Many of them were erected in the period from the 11th to the 16th centuries, others belong to a more modern stage. Among the most ancient are the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin with 800-year-old frescoes, the Church of Paraskeva-Pyatnitsa at Torgu, the Nikolo-Dvorishchensky Cathedral and the Church of Theodore Stratilat on the Creek. Many buildings were rebuilt at a later time while maintaining ancient architectural forms. In some churches, wall paintings have been preserved, which are of great cultural value.
Monasteries of Veliky Novgorod
The monastic cloisters of the Novgorod land are valuable monuments of religious architecture of the period of the 12th-15th centuries. These include the Peryn Skete, the Varlaamo-Khutynsky Savior-Preobrazhensky Convent, the Nikolo-Vyazhishchsky Convent, the St. Yuriev Monastery, the Holy Trinity Mikhailo-Klopsky Monastery and others. There are few places in Russia where you can see such a large number of ancient architectural monuments, but in Veliky Novgorod, many of them have not only successfully survived to this day, but have also been preserved in excellent condition. Today, Novgorod monasteries are not only religious centers, but also popular tourist attractions.
The first residence of the Novgorod princes, where, according to legend, Rurik settled with his retinue after calling him to the kingdom. The construction of the settlement dates back to the 9th century. Previously, in its place were more ancient settlements. During archaeological excavations, elements of military equipment and clothing of the Varangians (Scandinavians), as well as princely seals, coins from different countries, jewelry and fragments of dishes were found here.
The building is located on the territory of the Novgorod citadel. It was erected in the 18th century instead of the command chamber. It housed the courts, the treasury and other administrative institutions. Today, the premises are occupied by a museum exposition with historical and art collections. The building has a classic appearance and harmoniously fits into the surrounding architecture. At the entrance there are statues of lions made of cast iron, brought here from the estate of Count A. A. Arakcheev.
Calling the hour
The clock tower, located in the northwestern part of the Novgorod citadel. The building was built in the 17th century; earlier, another tower, built in the 15th century, stood in its place. Unfortunately, the name of the author of the project has not been preserved. Presumably, the chime served as the bell tower of the church of St. Sergius of Radonezh. The tower is the tallest building in the Kremlin, so it immediately attracts attention.
An architectural monument of the 15th century, a building built in a style similar to brick Gothic. It is the oldest surviving civil building not only in Veliky Novgorod, but throughout Rus'. Previously, the chamber was part of the Vladychny Court complex. According to the Novgorod chronicle, German architects took part in its construction, so its appearance turned out to be a bit European.
Gate tower of Gostiny Dvor
The building is also known as Yaroslav's Tower and Gridnitsa. Experts still have not come to a consensus on why it was built. At various times, a shelter, administrative institutions, a school, an archive, and even residential apartments (under Soviet rule) were located here. Today, the Gate Tower houses a museum exposition with a variety of Christian artifacts.
The only surviving structure of the Roundabout City is the ring of external defensive structures of Veliky Novgorod. It was erected in the 16th century. The thickness of the walls of the building reaches 4.5 meters, the height of the tower is about 15 meters, and the diameter is 17 meters. By the beginning of the 20th century, the construction fell into decay, but the restoration was carried out only in the 1990s, giving the building a historical look.
V. I. Povetkin Center for Musical Antiquities
Museum and cultural center, created by the artist-restorer V. I. Povetkin and named after him. In this place, they restore the appearance and sound of ancient instruments of the 10th-15th centuries, as well as teach traditional crafts. Also here you can hear the traditional tunes of the Novgorod, Vologda and Pskov regions, ancient ritual songs and forgotten motifs performed on the harp and whistle flute.
The museum exposition is located on the territory of the former Noble Assembly in the house - an architectural monument of the 19th century. The collection is dedicated to Russian art of the 17th–20th centuries. Here are collected paintings, drawings, miniatures and sculptures, there are even works by Aivazovsky, Shishkin, Repin and Bryullov. Most of the exhibits came here after the confiscation of property from the estates of aristocrats in the 1920s.
Museum of Artistic Culture of the Novgorod Land
The museum opened in 2002 in one of the buildings of the Tithes Monastery, built in the 14th century. The exposition is made up of works by Novgorod artists of the late 20th - early 21st centuries. In addition to paintings, visitors can look at porcelain and glass products made by local craftsmen in accordance with ancient traditions. For those who wish, master classes and thematic classes are held.
Academic Drama Theatre. F.M. Dostoevsky
The building of the Drama Theater, built in 1987 according to the project of Yu. S. Somov, deserves special attention of tourists. The architect combined in his creation modern trends with the classical traditions characteristic of urban planning in Veliky Novgorod. He took the forms of ancient churches and towers as a basis, adding columns, arches and vaults along the way. The result is an interesting mix of styles.
Novgorod-on-Volkhov is the main railway station of the city. The first wooden station was built at the expense of the merchant A.I. Vargunin, it stood until the Great Patriotic War itself. The modern building was erected in 1953; in the early 2000s, it was completely reconstructed. Trains depart from here towards Moscow, Murmansk, St. Petersburg and Minsk.
The park is located in the historical center of Veliky Novgorod, on three sides it surrounds the Novgorodsky Detinets fortress and is adjacent to its walls. The park was founded at the beginning of the 19th century on the site of former earthen fortifications. In 1885, a wooden theater building was built here. During the Second World War, the plantations were almost completely destroyed, as the German troops used the trees for firewood. The park was restored in the post-war years.
Fountain "Sadko and Princess Volkhova"
"Sadko and Princess Volkhova" is the main city fountain located in the central part of Veliky Novgorod. The sculptural composition was placed in 1978 on the site of Stalin's bust. It consists of two figures of famous heroes of Russian epics. The group is set in the middle of a mosaic bowl into which jets of water flow. In 2009, for the 1150th anniversary of the city, the landmark was restored.
The Hanseatic fountain became a symbol of the cultural and economic forum held in Veliky Novgorod in 2009. The composition is made in the form of a granite circle with mosaic coats of arms of 16 states that are members of the Hanseatic League of Modern Times. It kind of symbolizes the negotiating table. Water flows smoothly over the smooth surface of the fountain, completely covering it with a thin film.
A sandy strip on the banks of the Volkhov River, stretching along the walls of the city fortress. In summer, this place turns into the main recreation area for residents of Veliky Novgorod. It has all the necessary infrastructure: changing cabins, sports grounds, children's slides, umbrellas to protect from the sun. On sunny days, the beach is quite crowded. The place is perfect for swimming and sunbathing, as well as for admiring the surrounding landscapes.
The bridge spanning the Volkhov and connecting the Trade and Sofia sides. It is located near the Novgorod citadel. According to the Novgorod Chronicle, already in the 12th century there was the Great Bridge on this site, which existed until 1944, until the retreating German troops blew it up. The modern pontoon was erected in 1987. Its length is just over 220 meters.
Volkhov River and Lake Ilmen
The Volkhov River flows out of Lake Ilmen, flows in a northerly direction and flows into Lake Ladoga. Its total length is 224 km. Since ancient times, people settled in Priilmenye, many legends and tales are associated with this place. It was in these parts that Rurik founded his first settlement, that is, the Russian state went from here. The river and the lake are picturesque natural sights of Veliky Novgorod.