Visit to Novgorod, one of the most ancient towns of old Russia and the North-Western gateway to Rus.
It is said that the only places in Russia where you can find tourist information in English are Novgorod and St. Petersburg. I went to Novgorod from Moscow by an overnight train. Arriving into the city early in the morning, it was a starkingly different feel compared to Moscow. Silent tree-lined streets with low traffic volume, a number of large and small churches and chapels scattered around and an overall idyllic feel made this town an interesting destination.
There are several old churches sprinkled around the town and looks like most of them are in need for heavy repairs. However, it is also nice to look at old dilapidated structures to get a feel of the rustic history of the place. Sorry for the gloomy pictures – the weather was not at its best.
Novgorod literally means “New town” but this new town has been in existence since the 9th century. It has been Russia’s bustling trade, political and cultural center. Now, most of the activity has moved to St. Petersburg which is only 3 hours away.
Novgorod is divided by the river Volkhov, with the Kremlin on one side and the old market on the other. There is a tourist information office where you can get information in English, there are bilingual menus in restaurants and one church even had a brochure in English! That was very strange since such tourist information is virtually impossible to find in Moscow.
The Kremlin is one of Russia’s oldest, and was undergoing massive reconstruction. The church bells are quite a sight.
Millennium of Russia monument is a massive 300-tonne sculpture that was unveiled in 1862. At the top is Mother Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church. The rest of the monument depicts several important figures from history. The Nazis destroyed large parts of Kremlin and intended to ship this statue to Germany but had to leave early.