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Veliky Novgorod in UNESCO list

Veliky Novgorod was founded in 859, so you can consider it the oldest Russian city. The other date, 862 is at least as significant. This year the Varangian prince Ruyrik and his men came to the lands of Russia, married the daughter of Novgorod`s elder statesman and took the lead of Novgorod lands. This year is assumed to be the foundation date of the first Russian dynasty and Russian statehood.

In Veliky Novgorod, many ancient architectural monuments have been preserved, which in 1992 were included in the UNESCO list of Cultural Heritage:

  • Novgorod Kremlin
  • Yaroslavovo Dvorishche
  • Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour
  • Yuriev Monastery
  • Church of the Savior on Nereditsa

Click on the hyperlinks to read in detail about each attraction and see a large number of photos

Novgorod Kremlin

The Novgorod Kremlin is located on the bank of the Volkhov River. Prince Rurik first settled on the left bank of the river, but those places were on the flood meadows, so after a few decades he was moved to a new place and the city was named so: Novgorod, that means New City.

The first mention of the Novgorod Kremlin dates back to the 11th century. Inside the Kremlin is the most ancient temple of Russia - St.Sophia Cathedral and belfry, as well as the monument "Millennium of Russia".

In Veliky Novgorod, there are many ancient monuments of architecture, both in the Kremlin and outside its walls, including St. Sophia Cathedral - the oldest stone cathedral in Russia, which was built in 1045-1050.

Yaroslavovo Dvorishche

On the bank of the Volkhov river opposite the Kremlin you can see at least as curious place – the Yaroslavovo Dvorishche (Yaroslav`s Court) or the Trade Mart. The Court appeared in the 11 century as a market and veche square. Now there are 8 ancient churches and cathedrals on the small area of the Court. St. Nicholas Cathedral, founded by Mstislav the Great in 1113, may be considered the main attraction of the Trade Mart. 

The other churches, the Church of St. Paraskeva the Friday, the Church of the Myrrh-bearing Women, the Church of St. Procopius, the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in the Trade Mart, the Church of St. George in the Trade Mart, the Church of St. John the Baptist-on-Opoki, date back to 12-13 centuries.

Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour

The Church of the Transfiguration on Ilyina Street is in the far side of the trading quarter of Velikiy Novgorod (Novgorod the Great). It is of exceptional cultural value for Russia, as only in this church there remained the original frescoes of a great Russian icon painter Theophanes the Greek.

Theophanes the Greek is one of the three prominent Russian icon painters including Andrei Rublev and Dionysius. In 1378 the artel of Theophanes the Greek received the order for painting the Church of the Transfiguration on Ilyina Street from a rich Novgorod boyar Vasily Danilovich. The most famous work of Theophanes the Greek is the monumental fresco of Christ the Almighty in the dome of the church.

Yuriev Monastery

As Veliky Novgorod is one of the oldest city in Russia, Yuriev monastery is one of the most ancient monasteries in Russia. According to legend, the monastery was founded in 1030 by Yaroslav the Wise whose Christian name was George (that is Yuri). One of the important destinations of the Yuriev monastery was to protect the city of Novgorod from the side of Ilmen Lake.

Prince Vsevolod had the Cathedral of St. George built on the territory of the monastery in 1119. With three aisles and six columns, its appearance is very characteristic to those of northern churches: very strong and tall walls (20 meters) with ceremonial choirs and low domes. The chronicles retained the name of its architect: «the master Peter worked at the cathedral».

Church of the Savior on Nereditsa

The Church of Our Savior on Nereditsa - is one of the most beautiful monuments of northern architecture. It is located in the fields on the left bank of the Volkhov, several kilometers from Novgorod the Great. The Church of Our Savior on Nereditsa was built in 1198 by the prince Yaroslav the Wise. It supposed that the name «Nereditsa» comes from the words «out of line», «out of town».

In 1199 the Church of Our Savior on Nereditsa was painted with frescoes, which survived un-til the 20th century in perfect condition. Unfortunately, during World War II the church was al-most completely destroyed. It was reconstructed in the 50th of the past century, but the ancient frescoes were almost completely lost.