Learn more about Velikiy Novgorod
- For other cities named Novgorod see Novgorod (disambiguation).
Velikiy Novgorod (Russian: Вели́кий Но́вгород) is the foremost historic city of North-Western Russia. It is situated on the M10 federal highway connecting Moscow and St. Petersburg. "Novgorod" is the Russian word for "new city", whereas "Velikiy" means "the Great". The administrative centre of Novgorod Oblast, the city lies along the Volkhov River just below its outflow from Lake Ilmen. Its population in the 2002 census was 216,856.
In 882, Rurik's successor, Oleg of Novgorod, captured Kiev and founded the state of Kievan Rus. In that state Novgorod was the second city in importance. According to a custom, the elder son and heir of the ruling Kievan monarch was sent to rule Novgorod even as a minor. When the ruling monarch had no such son, Novgorod was governed by posadniks, such as legendary Gostomysl, Dobrynya, Konstantin, and Ostromir. In Norse sagas the city is mentioned as the capital of Gardariki (i.e., the East Slavic lands). Four Viking kings — Olav I of Norway, Olav II of Norway, Magnus I of Norway, and Harald Haardraade — sought refuge in Novgorod from enemies at home.Of all their princes, Novgorodians cherished most the memory of Yaroslav the Wise, who promulgated their first written code of laws (later incorporated into Russkaya Pravda) and sponsored construction of the great St Sophia Cathedral, standing to this day. As a sign of gratitude for helping him to defeat his elder brother and obtain the Kievan throne, Yaroslav conferred numerous privileges on the city. On the other hand, Novgorodians named their central square after Yaroslav.
In 1136, Novgorod merchants and boyars seceded from Kiev, banished their prince and proclaimed the Novgorod Republic. The powerful city state controlled most of Europe's North-East, from today's Estonia to the Ural Mountains. The most important figure in Novgorod was the Posadnik, an official elected by the popular assembly (called Veche) from the city's aristocracy. The Novgorod court was formally presided over by the Prince (also elected by the Veche), but his verdicts had to be confirmed by the Posadnik to become binding. In the 13th century, the city joined the Hanseatic League.
Throughout the Middle Ages, the city thrived culturally. Most of the population was literate and used birch bark letters for communication. It was in Novgorod that the oldest Slavic book written north of Bulgaria and the oldest inscription in a Finnic language were unearthed. When Paris and London were drowning in mud, Novgorod was praised by foreigners for its paved embankments and clean streets. Some of the most ancient Russian chronicles were written in the city. The Novgorod merchant Sadko became a popular hero of Russian folklore.
The city's downfall was a result of its inability to feed its large population, making it dependent on the Vladimir-Suzdal region for grain. The main cities in this area, Moscow and Tver, used this dependence to gain control over Novgorod. Eventually Ivan III annexed the city to Muscovy in 1478. Novgorod remained the third largest Russian city, however, until Ivan the Terrible sacked the city and slaughtered thousands of its inhabitants in 1570. The city's merchant elite and nobility were deported to Moscow, Yaroslavl, and elsewhere.Time of Troubles, Novgorodians eagerly submitted to Swedish troops led by Jacob De la Gardie in summer of 1611. The city was restituted to Russia only six years later, by the Treaty of Stolbovo and regained a measure of its former prosperity by the end of the century, when such ambitious buildings as the Cathedral of the Sign and the Vyazhischi Monastery were constructed. The most famous of Russian patriarchs, Nikon, occupied the metropolian see of Novgorod between 1648 and 1652.
In 1727, Novgorod was made an administrative centre of the Novgorod Governorate of the Russian Empire, which was detached from Saint Petersburg Governorate (see Administrative divisions of Russia in 1727-1728). This administrative division has existed until 1927. Between 1927 and 1944 the city has been a part of Leningrad Oblast, and then became an administrative center of the newly formed Novgorod Oblast.
During the Second World War, on August 15, 1941 the city was occupied by the German Army. Its historic monuments were systematically annihilated. When the Red Army liberated the city on January 19, 1944, out of 2536 stone buildings less than 40 were still standing. After the WWII, the downtown has been gradually restored. Its chief monuments are declared the World Heritage Site. In 1998, the city was officially renamed Velikiy Novgorod, thus partly reverting to its medieval title "Lord Novgorod the Great".
No other Russian or Ukrainian city may compete with Novgorod in the variety and age of its medieval monuments. The foremost among these is the St Sophia Cathedral, built in the 1040s at the behest of Yaroslav the Wise. It is the best preserved of 11th century churches, and the first one to represent original features of Russian architecture (austere stone walls, five helmet-like cupolas). Its frescoes were painted in the 12th century and renovated in the 1860s. The cathedral features famous bronze gates, made in Magdeburg in 1156 and reportedly snatched by Novgorodians from the Swedish capital Sigtuna in 1187.
Novgorod kremlin, traditionally known as Detinets, also contains the oldest palace in Russia (the so-called Chamber of the Facets, 1433), the oldest Russian bell tower (mid-15th cent.), and the oldest Russian clock tower (1673). Among later structures, the most remarkable are a royal palace (1771) and a bronze monument to the Millennium of Russia, representing the most important figures from the country's history (unveiled in 1862).
Outside kremlin walls, there are three cathedrals constructed during the reign of Mstislav the Great, the last monarch of united Rus. St Nicholas Cathedral (1113-23), containing frescoes of Mstislav's family, graces Yaroslav's Court (formerly the chief square of Novgorod Republic). The Yuriev Monastery (probably the oldest in Russia, 1030) contains a gloomy Romanesque cathedral from 1119. A similar three-domed cathedral (1117), probably designed by the same masters, stands in the Antoniev Monastery.There are numerous ancient churches scattered throughout the city. Some of them were blown up by the Nazis and subsequently restored. The most ancient pattern is represented by those dedicated to Sts Peter and Pavel (on the Swallow's Hill, 1185-92), to Annunciation (in Myachino, 1179), to Assumption (on Volotovo Field, 1180s) and to St Paraskeva (at Yaroslav's Court, 1207). The greatest masterpiece of early Novgorod architecture is the Saviour church at Nereditsa (1198).
In the 13th century, there was a vogue for tiny churches of three-paddled design. These are represented by a small chapel in Peryn (1230s) and St Nicholas' on the Lipnya Islet (1292, also notable for its 14th-century frescoes). The next century saw development of two original church designs, one of them culminating in St Theodor's church (1360-61, fine frescoes from 1380s), and another one leading to the Saviour church on Ilyina street (1374, painted in 1378 by Feofan Grek). The Saviour' church in Kovalevo (1345) admittedly reflects Serban influence.
During the last century of republican government, some new temples were consecrated to Sts Peter and Paul (on Slavna, 1367; in Kozhevniki, 1406), to Christ's Nativity (at the Cemetery, 1387), to St John the Apostle's (1384), to the Holy Apostles (1455), to St Demetrius (1467), to St Simeon (1462), and other saints. Generally, they are not thought so innovative as the churches from the previous epoch. Several 12th-century shrines (i.e., in Opoki) were demolished brick by brick and then reconstructed exactly as they used to be.
Novgorod's conquest by Ivan III in 1478 decisively changed the character of local architecture. Large commissions were thenceforth executed by Muscovite masters and patterned after cathedrals of Moscow Kremlin: e.g., the Saviour Cathedral of Khutyn Monastery (1515), the Cathedral of the Sign (1688), the Nicholas Cathedral of Vyaschizhy Monastery (1685). Nevertheless, some parochial churches were still styled in keeping with traditions of local art: e.g., the churches of Holy Wives (1510) and of Sts Boris and Gleb (1586).
In Vitoslavlitsy, a location on the bank of the Volkhov River, on the road to the Yuriev Monastery, a picturesque museum of wooden architecture was established in 1964. Over 20 wooden buildings (churches, houses and mills) dating from the 14th to the 19th century were transported there from all around the Novgorod region.
 Intercity transportLeningradsky Rail Terminal, by night trains), St. Petersburg (to Moscow Rail Terminal and Vitebsk Rail Terminal, by suburban trains) and major cities of northwestern Russia such as Pskov and Murmansk.
 Local transport
The local transport consists of a network of buses and trolleybuses. The trolleybus network which currently consists of 5 routes started operation in 1995, and is the first trolley system opened in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Velikiy Novgorod is home to Novgorod State University established in 1993.
 Sister cities
- Image:Flag of France.svg Strasbourg, France
- Image:Flag of the United States.svg Rochester, New York, USA
- Image:Flag of Germany.svg Bielefeld, Germany
- Image:Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Watford, UK
- Image:Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Zibo, China
 See also
- The Archaeology of Novgorod, by Valentin L. Yanin, in Ancient Cities, Special Issue, (Scientific American), pp 120–127, c 1994. Covers, History, Kremlin of Novgorod, Novgorod Museum of History, preservation dynamics of the soils, and the production of Birch bark documents.
 External links
- Novgorod the Great site
- Velikiy Novgorod for tourists
- The Faceted Palace of the Kremlin in Novgorod the Great site
- (Russian) Velikiy Novgorod's architecture and buildings history
- (Russian) The Millennium of Russia memorial site
- (Russian) Velikiy Novgorod city administration site
- Novgorod the Great for a businessman
- (Russian) Velikiy Novgorod news
- (Russian) Velikiy Novgorod.ru news agency
- (Russian) Novgorod State University
- Photos tagged with
novgorodon Flickr, photos likely of Novgorod the Great
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