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Russia Regions: North West of Russia

 


 


 The North West is Russia's
historic gateway to Western Europe. It is a very large area bordering Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Belarus. In the east it stretches to the Ural Mountains.


The North-West is also important as being home to St. Petersburg, the country’s capital until the early 18th century.


Being among the major tourist draws in Russia, we have singled out St. Petersburg into a separate region.   


Other historically significant areas of North West are Karelia and Novgorod.

 

With its birch forests, idyllic rivers and rolling steppes, Western European Russia is an enticing vision straight out of Russian folklore. 

Those seeking the soul of Old Russia would have a rewarding experience when exploring this historically rich region, with its charming old villages, photogenic fortress towns and gold-domed monasteries as just part of the lure




Novgorod Veliky:


Novgorod Veliky (in English: Novgorod the Great) played a pivotal role in the history of ancient Russia.


This medieval town was founded over 1000 years ago. And it still continues to prove its claim as the birthplace of modern Russia.

And here are the major reasons. Novgorod was ahead of the times in many ways. In a sense, Russian history began here. 
This was the first permanent settlement of the Varangian Norsemen who established the embryonic Russian state here.

In the middle of the 9th century the chieftains of Slavic an Finno-Ugric tribes, which inhabited the vast areas around Lake Ilmen, created their state.


They invited as an executive authority a Varangian (Scandinavian) prince "with his clan and loyal men" thus marking the beginning of the Rurik dynasty that ruled the Russian lands for more than 700 years.

By the 12th c. Novgorod was Russia's biggest: an independent quasi democracy whose princes were hired and fired by an assembly of citizens. 

The city, until the 15th century, had much more power than Moscow.


It was the local warriors of Novgorod who launched a raid against Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire.


They also established the waterway trade route "from the Varangians to the Greeks" which immensely boosted the economy of ancient Russia.

Outstanding statesmen, Prince Vladimir and Yaroslav the Wise, were closely connected with Novgorod.

Prince Vladimir who would later unite all Russian lands as the grand prince of Kiev and baptize Russia in 988 emerged on the political scene in Novgorod.

Yaroslav the Wise was twice put on the Grand Prince's throne by the Novgorodians. He strengthened Christianity, built new monasteries and churches, church books were translated from Greek and writing became widespread.

Novgorod is the most ancient Christian centre of Russia in its present-day frontiers. It is also the birthplace of the Russian democratic traditions.

The prince of Novgorod was in complete dependence on the popular assembly (council or Veche) - he could be accepted or rejected several times a year by townspeople at their meetings around the sovereign city. 
Novgorod is also known as the earliest centre of education in Russia.

The first school for 300 pupils was founded here by Yaroslav the Wise in 1034, to achieve universal literacy of the local population in rural areas of Russia.

In the course of its long history, Novgorod has grown into a unique world-class centre of Art.

Although the city has seen many wars, it still has some unique sights to offer tourists.

Nowadays, the visitor can enjoy a tour of the fascinating repository of architectural monuments, murals and collection of Russian icon-painting and applied art from the 11th to the 17th centuries.

It is known as the Museum of History, Architecture and Art, or The Novgorod State United Museum-Preserve.

The major landmark is the Kremlin (Detinets) first mentioned in the Chronicles of 1044.

The center piece of the Novgorod Kremlin is its UNESCO-listed St. Sophia Cathedral, the most ancient church of Russia!

It was in 989, soon after the baptism of Russia, that a wooden church was "perfectly built and decorated, with thirteen domes", and consecrated, like the main Orthodox church in Constantinople, to God Father and his Creative Wisdom Sophia.

The unusual church produced such an indelible impression upon Yaroslav the Wise that, on becoming the grand prince, he erected the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Kiev crowning it with thirteen domes too

 

 

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