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».

Later, two more churches were built on the territory of the Yuriev monastery: the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the Church of Our Savior (Spassky). Both cathedrals in Yuriev monastery were built in 1823. In 1838 a bell tower designed by Charles Rossi was built in the monastery.

The monastery is at the place where the river Volkhov flows into Ilmen Lake. The most interesting way to visit the monastery would be to join a boat tour stating at the walls of Novgorod Kremlin.