City Highlights Tour.
Take our word: You will remember the day spent in Novgorod forever! As you are driving around the city with your guide, you will have a feeling that the passage of time has stopped and you found yourself back in the medieval ages. Founded in 9th century AD, Novgorod is one of the most culturally important cities in Russia and is listed with the UNESCO World Heritage Center. Divided by the Volkhov River into the Sophia Side and the Trade Side, Novgorod is home to many magnificent architectural monuments that survived from the medieval ages to our days.
During this fascinating tour you will have an opportunity to learn about Novgorod’s rich history, visit some of its most important architectural monuments and savour local delicacies in one of the city’s Russian restaurants. You will also see several surviving medieval churches including the Trinity Church, Church of Nikolay Bely, Church of Peter and Paul, Church of Spasa-Na-Iliene, and Church of Theodor Solunsky on Spring. Most of them date back to 12th – 14th century AD.
The tour is a private type and so you will be able to control your tour pace and how many photo stops you want to make to ensure ultimate tour enjoyment for you and your travel companion(s).
One of the oldest Russian cities, Novgorod was a major cultural and commercial center of the medieval Europe. After conquering Kiev in 882 AD, Novgorod Prince Oleg founded the state of Kievan Rus and moved the capital to Kiev. Novgorod, however, retained its status as the foreign trade hub and was the second largest city in the new Russian state. Novgorod’s prominence rose even further when it obtained self-government in 997 AD and ultimately gained independence from Kiev in 1136 AD when it became the capital of an independent republic, Sovereign Great Novgorod. For almost 600 years Novgorod was a parliamentary republic with key decisions on its life and foreign policy made by veche, an ancient parliament comprised of members of aristocratic families. At crucial times every citizen took part in the veche.
Situated along Europe’s busiest trade route, Novgorod was - together with London, Bergen and Bruges – one of the four main trade centres of the Hanseatic League. The city’s economic power extended well beyond Europe with large volume of trade coming from Central Asia and Southern Russia. Enterprising Novgorod merchants founded many colonies and levied tribute over the entire north of Russia. The city’s riches attracted many invaders over the centuries, yet Novgorod citizens repulsed the attacks by Teutonic Knights, Livonian Knights, the Swedes and even escaped the Mongol Yoke which held most of Russia captive for over 200 years. At its height, the city’s population rose to 400,000 – twice its size today.
By 1478 Novgorod fell under control of Moscow and, as the power shifted to St. Petersburg in early 18th century, it lost its former status as the main commercial hub. During WWII Novgorod was occupied by the Nazis who massacred its inhabitants and destroyed many architectural monuments. After WWII the city was gradually restored to its former glory. Nowadays, Novgorod is a major tourist destination and a center of Orthodox icon-painting.