The Novgorod Kremlin is the oldest fortress in Russia. First mentioned in the chronicles as early as 1044 AD, the Detinets (which was the original name of the citadel) was at the centre of all important events in the life of ancient Novgorod and functioned as an administrative, civic and religious center of Novgorod Land. Hosting foreign embassies, convening veche parliamentary meetings, seeing warriors off to fight the enemies, etc. all took place inside the Kremlin walls. The stone fortress was rebuilt in the 15th century in accordance with fortification demands of that time. Nine out of twelve original towers have been preserved to these days, with Kokuy Tower being the tallest at 41m high.
Today the Novgorod Kremlin is home to many important architectural monuments. St. Sophia Cathedral (The Holy Wisdom of God) built in 1045 AD is the oldest surviving Russian stone monument. Site of many important historic events, the Cathedral was also home to one of the oldest libraries in Russia. Visitors can see unique frescoes and an iconostasis dating back to 11th and 12th centuries AD. It also houses one of Russia’s national relics – the 12th century miracle-working icon “The Sign of the Holy Virgin”. The main entrance to the Cathedral is decorated with ornate bronze gates made in Germany in the 12th century.
The richly decorated monument “The Millennium of Russia” stands in the middle of the Novgorod Kremlin. Designed by the Russian sculptor Mikeshin, it was inaugurated in 1862 to celebrate 1,000 anniversary of the Russian State. The monument serves as a tribute to all of those who contributed to the development of the Russian State: its culture, art, literature and science. It is crowned by a figure of an angel (Orthodoxy) who is blessing a kneeling woman (Russia).