Photo by: Marywhotravels, Creative Commons

When going to new places, especially out of the country, one of the things you look for really is beauty, and not just the comfortable sensation of being away from the office or your home. You want to walk through parks at night and zoos and gardens during the day. You wish to visit museums and gaze at historical artifacts, if those interest you, or simply appreciate paintings, sculptures and other forms of art in an art gallery. When visiting Russia, your eyes cannot leave the place unsatisfied, especially if it’s Novgorod you step into.

Novgorod, also known as Veliky Novgorod (literally “The Great/Big New City”), is North-Western Russia’s foremost historic city. It is the heart of the Novgorod Oblast’s administration. Its current population is over 200,000.

Novgorod is unlike other Russian or Ukrainian cities in terms of medieval monuments. The best-preserved of the eleventh century churches is the St. Sophia Cathedral, constructed between 1045 and 1050 under Vladimir Yaroslavich (son of Yaroslav the Wise)’s patronage, likely the oldest structure in Russia which is still in use, and the first one to represent Russian architecture’s original features. Traditionally referred to as the Detinets, the Novgorod Kremlin houses the oldest palace in Russia (the Chamber of the Facets), the oldest bell tower and clock tower in Russia.

Three large churches stand outside the Kremlin walls. The St. Nicholas Cathedral contains frescoes of Mstislav the Great’s family and graces the former chief square of Novgorod, Yaroslav’s Court. The Yuriev Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in the country. A three-domed cathedral similar to that contained in the Yuriev Monastery was built in the Antoniev Monastery on the orders of its founder, Antonii. Some fifty other medieval and early modern churches are scattered about the city. The greatest early Novgorod architecture masterpiece is the Savior Church situated at Nereditsa.

Traveling to and around Novgorod isn’t complicated as it has many connections to the country’s two largest cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg, via the federal highway M10. You can take the railway route or ride a trolleybus or bus to your other in-city destinations.

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