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Veliky Novgorod
August 5, 2015 00:39


Novgorod – the great new and ancient city. Once it was the first Russian “window to Europe”, the predecessor of St. Petersburg.

The residents of Novgorod were quite advanced by medieval standards. They began to pave the streets earlier than in London and Paris, called princes and sent them away when they wanted to, and the commoners quickly corresponded with each other via birch-bark letters. So many cultural layers have grown over a thousand years that the first floors of ancient cathedrals went under the ground, being knee-high for adult passers-by.

The two “sides” of the historic centre - the Trade and Sofia Sides stretch on the hills on both sides of Volkhov. There are benches on the embankments with a plump bronze bear sitting on one of them, looking at the river with interest. It looks like one of the two heraldic animals on the coat of arms of Novgorod.

It is convenient to take a shoot of you with this bear or just seat there in case you have no other companions.

Another popular sculpture - a monument to the tired tourist - sits on the pedestrian bridge near the right bank of the river. The girl sits there with her shoes taken off. They shine like the nose of the dog at the “Ploshchad Revolutsii” metro station in Moscow. Obviously, they have same function: bring good luck.

Tourists wander through the two bridges and along the embankments. They check with guidebooks, read labels, find out the names of the churches. There are a great variety of churches and monasteries in the city – all of them have been built since the XI century. You can plot a route, focusing on the domes like on road signs. But if by chance you come here on a tour, the first thing to do is to escape this tour. There is no need to turn in a copy of the monument to the tired tourist. Wander through the quiet streets of Novgorod. Their names are already attractions themselves: Rozvazha, Rogatitsa, Desyatinnaya... The farther from the well-trodden routes, the more interesting.

If you walk through the pedestrian bridge from the river, from the Trade Side, the Kremlin will slowly grow, becoming higher and more significant with every step. And if you approach the Kremlin park from the broad Sennaya Square, the fortress which is initially barely visible through the trees will suddenly appear as a whole, in all its glory and power. But the best look of the Novgorod Kremlin can be perceived from the water - if you sail along Volkhov from Ilmen Lake, the red brick walls and towers of the Kremlin can be seen already from the Gorodishche (ancient settlement, in comparison to which the fortress built in X century became known as Novgorod, which means “new city”). Then you gradually begin to discern the details – loopholes of the towers, battlements of the walls, ancient and relatively new buildings. The chimes of the bells are carried by the water to tens of kilometers, strengthening the sense of timelessness.

St. Sophia in the Novgorod Kremlin (Detinets) has been the main cathedral of the city and Novgorod land for nearly one thousand years. When the borders of Novgorod, stretching from Pskov to the White Sea, from Torzhok to the Urals, were attacked, the severe Novgorod residents took up arms to “stand up for St. Sophia”. According to Novgorod guides, their St. Sophia Cathedral is the best of all, everything started with it. Let’s specify: you cannot call the Novgorod Sophia the most ancient Russian cathedral, the oldest Orthodox cathedral, and even the oldest surviving Christian cathedral in Russia.

Read more about Veliky Novgorod...

Local pecularities

The climate in Veliky Novgorod is humid, close to marine climate. You can enjoy white nights here from May to July. The average temperature in January is -7 °, in July + 16 °.

Events and festivals

April - May - Rachmaninoff International Festival of Russian Classical Music. June - International Festival of Historical Reconstruction “Lord Novgorod the Great”. August - International Festival of Bard’s Song “Nord-West”. September - International Festival of Bell Art “Zlatozarnye Zvony”. September 21 – the Day of the City, October - International Festival of Chamber Performances based on the works of F.M. Dostoevsky.

What to bring from Veliky Novgorod

Krestetsky stitching - snow-white embroidery on a white  lattice background. Wickered, half-woven, woven belts which have a sacred meaning and function as talismans. Birch baskets, jewelry boxes, salt cellars, birch bark boxes, self-woven blankets, wood products, bones and horns - hairbrushes, combs, knife handles, crosses, icons. Crafts of wood and clay - toys, whistles. And, of course, birch bark caps.






Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Veliky Novgorod     

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