Novgorod means “new town” but it is one of the oldest Russian cities. It was founded in 859. In 862 the Varangian Prince Rurik came here with a bunch of Varangian Norsemen to establish the first Russian state. Thus, Russian history began here. For several centuries Novgorod principality was a republic. A ruling prince was elected by people not inherited the throne. The elected prince could be fired for mismanagement or other wrong doings. The main sight of interest is the old kremlin overlooking the Volkhov River. According to the chronicles the kremlin already existed in 1044. The brick walls and towers which still stand today date back to the 14th century.

Masonry and brickwork of different centuries.

The entrance to the kremlin.

The year of Novgorod's foundation.

Let's look inside the kremlin walls. The Cathedral of St. Sophia was built in 1045-50. It is the oldest stone cathedral in Russia.

The 12th century doors feature small-size biblical scenes.

The 15th century belfry of the St. Sophia's Cathedral.

The 16th century Intercession Church.

The 15th century St. Andrew Church.

The 17th century Clock Tower.

Another noticeable landmark is the Millennium of Russia Monument unveiled in 1862. Remember that the Varangian Prince Rurik came to Novgorod in 862. The monument depicts figures of Russian rulers, statesmen, artists, writers, scholars who contributed greatly to Russia’s fame and glory over the last millennium.

The Varangian Prince Rurik (in the center) and Prince Vladimir of Kiev (with a cross) who introduced Christianity in 988.

Prince of Moscow Dmitry Donskoy trampling a Mongol.

Russian tsars: Alexander I (stands) and Nicholai I (seated).

Young Mikhail Romanov is being elected Tsar in 1613.

Catherine II with her lovers.

Peter I (walks with hands crossed).

Cossack Yermak (sits in the center) the conqueror of Siberia.

Famous writers and poets: Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, Nikolai Gogol, etc.

Patriarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Inside the kremlin.

Novgorod is packed with old churches. Quite a number of them is concentrated in a relatively small area on the east side of the Volkhov River called Yaroslav's courtyard and the former marketplace. The access from the kremlin is by the pedestrian bridge across the river.

The 18th century trade arcade.

The 1113 St. Nicholas Cathedral. At its walls citizens used to hire and fire Novgorod's ruling princes.

The 17th century Gate Tower.

The 17th century Our Lade of the Sign Church.

The 1510 Church of St. Myrrh Bearers & the 1374 Transfiguration Church.

The 1374 Transfiguration Church.

The 12th century Assumption Church.

The 1207 Church of St. Parasceva.

Many churches are scattered all over the city. The Trinity Church.

The St. Theodore Church.

The central square. The local government office.

The world famous composer and pianist Sergey Rakhmaninov was born in Novgorod Oblast in 1873.

The music school named after him is in the kremlin.

A happy girl.

A floating restaurant.

Streetscapes of Novgorod.

A babushka playing an accordion.

World War II memorial.

Young partisan Leonid Golikov died fighting Germans in 1943 at the age of 16.

The Volkhov Hotel.

The Victory Monument.

The city beach is right at the kremlin walls. On hot summer days the beach is crowded with sunbathers.

yuriev monastery

The Yuriev Monastery founded in the early 12th century is located in the southern outskirts of Novgorod. The monastery makes a magnificent view in combination with the surrounding landscape, especially when viewed from the Volkhov River.

The entry to the monastery is through the bell tower.

Attached to the monks’ cells is the 1763 Church of Exaltation of the Cross.

The Cathedral of St. George was built in 1119. It seems to be carved out of one large white rock.

The original brickwork.

The 1823 Saviour Church.

Monks arrange guided tours.


valdai - валдай

The Valdai Monastery is located on a small island in Lake Valdai. The lake is on the way from Novgorod to Moscow.

staraya russa - старая русса

The world famous Russian writer Dostoevsky lived in this quiet town for quite a time and wrote his The Brothers Karamazov here. Dostoevsky’s house is now a museum that contains authentic things which once belonged to Dostoevsky and his family.

Staraya Russa was the setting for The Brothers Karamazov. Tourists can visit the churches the novel's characters once frequented.

The 1371 Saint Nicholas Church.

The 1410 Saint George Church.

The 1696 Resurrection Cathedral.


Staraya Russa has been a spa resort since 1828. Those who could not afford a trip to Karlovy Vary or Baden-Baden treated themselves to medicinal waters and medicinal muds here.

The drinking gallery.

Mud baths.

korpovo - корпово

In 1941-44 Novgorod Oblast was a scene of fierce battles between the Red Army and the allied Hitler troops. In the village of Korpovo there is a German military cemetery.

Big and small war memorials are quite common all over the place.