About Veliky Novgorod

The oldest city in Russia, the cradle of Russian democracy, the medieval center of trade and crafts, the leading partner of the Hanseatic League of 12th – 17th cc., the link between medieval Europe and Russia and the borderline between two civilizations. All these are descriptions of Veliky Novgorod.


For the first time the word “Novgorodians” was spotted in the documents of 859. There are still a lot of scientists’ disputes on the fixed date of Novgorod foundation (“nov” for “new”, “gorod” for “town”) and location of an “old” town. These days the leading version states “old” town as so-called Gorodishche (Hill Fort) that was on the right bank of the Volkhov river 2 km away from the city of today. It might probably be the ex-residence of Rurik the Prince who was invited to reign in Novgorod in 9th c. and then started the dynasty of the Rurikoviches (“Rurikovich” for “son of Rurik”). In 10th c. the town was moved down the river to a new place and called Novgorod.

The history of Novgorod is full of events. Here are the major ones, in chronological order:

859 – Novgorod is first mentioned in the chronicles in relation to the famous trading route “from the Varangians to the Greeks”.

862 — Varangian Prince Rurik is invited to rule in Novgorod.

1019 — Prince Yaroslav the Wise grants Novgorod independence from Kiev and rights of a “free city”.

1044 — Prince Vladimir starts building stone walls of the Kremlin.

1045 — the first stone cathedral of St. Sophia is founded.

1136 — Novgorod becomes “free in princes” and is now a republic ruled by veche.

1242 — Novgorodians, led by Prince Alexander Nevsky, win the Battle in Ice on the Chudskoye Lake against the Livonian knights.

1471 — Novgorodians loose to the Muskovites the battle on the Shelon’ river; annexation of Novgorod to the Moscow kingdom begins.

1478 — the end of the Novgorod Republic.

1570 — Novgorod is defeated and pillaged by Ivan the Terrible.

1611-1617 — Novgorod is occupied by the Swedes.

1706 — the Likhoud brothers found the first Greek and Latin school in Novgorod.

1727 — Novgorod becomes a regional centre.

1862 — the Monument to the Millennium of Russia is opened.

1865 — Museum of the Society of the Antiquity Lovers is opened in Novgorod as the first provincial museum in the Russian Empire.

1941-1945 — Novgorod is occupied by the Nazi.

1951 — the first birch-bark scroll is found during the archaeological excavations.

1997 — Novgorod is awarded a Banner of Honor of the European Council for its achievements in economic and social development.

1999 — the historical name of Veliky Novgorod (Novgorod the Great) is returned to the city.

2009 – 1150-th anniversary celebration. Novgorod is hosting the 29th International Forum “Hanseatic Days of the Modern Age”.

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