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Okolny Gorod
July 19, 2016 15:43


Earth walls of the Okolny Gorod of the city of Novgorod can be seen by everyone who walks from the station to the center. Shapeless mound covered with grass in the summer, winding paths and household waste, does not produce the most vivid impression. However, this semicircle of earthworks, sometimes added by the remains of the moat is the oldest fortification of Novgorod; even the Kremlin is younger than it by the whole century.

Earthworks have surrounded the city at the end of the XIV centur, for example; in Moscow since that time nothing was left (the basement of the Kremlin Church of the Nativity of the Virgin is not taken into account. There still no one is allowed). And in Novgorod it is quite possible to walk by ancient fortifications an hour or two, looking down on the city and the church dome. Getting lost is impossible: all streets intersecting the earthworks lead to the Kremlin.

Stone towers - a tempting novelty for the rest of Russia of that time – was called by the Novgorod chroniclers habitually as "stone fires", from the Latin castrum (fortress, castle). Still now the bases of the towers are hidden in the earthworks, here and there leaning out. They are well studied by the archeologists. They are the rectangular structures of pink sandstone: from the bottom there are passage gates with lifting guards and from the top there are martial chambers with loopholes and with gable roof like a conventional house.

All this was very similar to the medieval fortress of the neighboring Baltic countries. A ditch, laid down on the surrounding city creeks and ravines, is now overgrown and littered become not only an obstacle to the enemy, but it also drained the area around the walls and served as a convenient waterway - just like a Venetian canal. The towers stood at each street to the earthworks - more than two dozen - and were kept at the expense of the residents of these streets. 


Author: Anna Dorozhkina


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