Officially, Novgorod was founded in 859 and the Varangians led by Riurik came there in 862. However, originally, ancient gorodishches including the famous Riurik gorodishche were located in the other places. The first records of wooden fortifications on the site of today Kremlin date back to 1044.
The most ancient detinets was on the site of the Episcopal courtyard in the north-west of the today Kremlin. The construction of wooden walls began in 1044, under Prince Vladimir, a son of Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise. The Cathedral of St. Sophia was also erected about that time.
At first the citadel was quite small and had only two gates. According to chronicles, the city walls reached the height of 10 meters. However, in spite of those rather strong fortifications, the Kremlin was still captured in that time. The fortifications of Novgorod were most severely damaged during the storm of the city by the troops of Polotsk prince Vseslav in 1065.
The extension of the detinets began in 12 century, under prince Mstislav, a son of Grand Prince Vladimir Monomakh. By 1116 it was enlarged in the southern direction and reached the size of the today Kremlin but the walls remained wooden.
The construction of stone walls, which began only in 14 century, lasted for a hundred years. Besides, in 1437 as a result of a large flood some part of the wall as well as the bell tower of the Cathedral of St. Sophia collapsed and they had to rebuild it. In 1478 Novgorod was included in the Grand Duchy of Moscow. And in the same year the complete reconstruction of the city walls began, with a glance at the then emerging artillery. The new walls, which survived to our days, were finished by 1490.
The Novgorod Kremlin stands on a 10-meter hill over the Volkhov river. It has an oval shape. The length of its walls is 1487 meters. The following 9 towers survived to our days: Prechistenskaya, Mitropolichya (Metropolitan’s), Knyazhya (Prince’s), Dvortsovay (Palace), Zlatoustovskaya (Chrysostom), Spasskaya (Saviour), Voskresenskaya (Resurrection), etc. The highest of them, Kokuy (38 meters), was built under Peter the Great.
One can ascend onto the wall of the Kremlin in two places: the bell tower of the Cathedral of St. Sophia and the Kokuy Tower. In both places there are viewing platforms. One can also have a walk on the wall.