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Old Ladoga fortress photo

A hundred kilometers to the east from St. Petersburg, at the place where the Volkhov river falls into Ladoga Lake, a small village of Old Ladoga is located. However, in spite of its small size, the village (former town) has a great historic value, as Old Ladoga is the oldest city in Russia.

Historians are rather uncertain about the date of its foundation, but all of them agree that Old Ladoga was founded not later than in 753. It is more than 100 years earlier than the foundation of Novgorod the Great, which was the first seat of the princes from the Ryurik dynasty, until it was moved to Kiev, and the state was given the name of Kievan Rus.

Some think that Derbent is the oldest city in Russia, which is on the territory of today Dagestan. It was founded in the 6th century B.C. However, Caspian lands with Derbent were included in the Russian Empire in the 19th century, and the formation of the Russian nation began only a thousand years after the foundation of Derbent. And Old Ladoga is the first town that was founded by the Russian tribes, and from which the formation of the Russian nation began.

Now there are located two monasteries on the small territory of Old Ladoga: St. Nicholas Monastery and Assumption Convent. St. Nicholas Monastery was founded by Alexander Nevsky in 1240 to commemorate the victory over the Swedish armies during the Battle of the Neva.

But, of course, the most important historic sight of Old Ladoga is the Old Ladoga fortress. The same first town of Russia that scientists dispute about was founded just on this place, although the remnants of the fortress date back to the 12 century, with significant rebuilds of the 15 century. But this doesn’t diminish the significance of Old Ladoga, as for several centuries the fortress with the trading quarter was one of the most important towns in Russia.

Inside the walls there is another important historic sight of Old Ladoga – St. George Cathedral of the 12 century. It looks very much like the churches of Novgorod the Great, as well as the churches built about that time in the towns of the Golden Ring: Pereslavl-Zalessky and Suzdal. In the cathedral there remained the original painting of St. George the Victor dating back to the 12 century, where the saint martyr pacifies the Dragon by the power of pray.

Presently, the Old Ladoga fortress is actively restored. In some places there remained the old masonry of the 12 century, but as a whole the fortress was restored by the old drawings. Today on the bank of the Volkhov river you can see two massive towers and fortified walls.

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Restored towers of the Old Ladoga fortress, Klementovskaya (on the right) and Vorotnaya (on the left) ones
Old Ladoga fortress as viewed from the bank of the small river Ladozhka
St. George Church, built in the 12 century within the Old Ladoga fortress, is one of the oldest buildings in the north of Russia
Wooden St. Demetrius of Solun church within the Old Ladoga fortress, 1731
Poster informing about the year of the foundation of Old Ladoga – not later than in 753
As seen from the map of the fortified cities of the Ancient Russia, Old Ladoga played then the main role
By the 17 century there had been built many fortresses in the north and the role of Old Ladoga decreased
Massive towers of the Old Ladoga have been restored in their original appearance
Buildings within the Old Ladoga fortress – St. George Church and St. Demetrius of Solun Church
St. George Church was built by Alexander Nevsky after the victory over the Swedish troops in the 12 century
St. Demetrius of Solun Church houses the Russian Everyday Life Museum
Engraving of Old Ladoga showing what a busy town Old Ladoga was in the Middle Ages
In the towers of the Old Ladoga fortress there remained the places with the original masonry of the 15 century
Maquette of the Old Ladoga fortress at the museum
Gallery running along the wall of the Old Ladoga fortess used for defense purposes
Museum exhibits within the Old Ladoga fortress
Early man site is an exhibit of the Old Ladoga fortress museum
Archeological Excavations Museum in Old Ladoga
Archeological Excavations Museum in Old Ladoga
Walls of the Old Ladoga fortress at the place where the river Ladozhka falls into the Volkhov River 
Volkhov River at the walls of the Old Ladoga fortress
It is in this place, near the Volkhov River, that the Old Ladoga fortress was located
St. George Church as viewed from the fortress wall