Saturday, May 25, 2019

Quick Travel Guide: Veliky Novgorod

Veliky Novgorod is one of the oldest cities in Russia and is also recognized as the birthplace of the country. It was in between Moscow and Saint Petersburg so I decided to include it in my itinerary. The city has a laid back vibe and is full of history.


Exploring Veliky Novgorod

I took the overnight train from Moscow to Veliky Novgorod. It was an uneventful ride and arrived on time. It was early morning so I decided to hangout at the nearest fast food chain just outside the station. It was too early to leave and the first bus isn't there yet. Once the bus was letting passengers on, I decided to go.

In short, I got lot after the bus crossed the bridge and went just pass the Kremlin. I walked around aimlessly and got to see the small neighborhood. I ended up seeing some of the historic structures in Veliky Novgorod.





Some of the churches I saw were still in use while others were left alone and were vestiges of a bygone era. The weather was  pleasant, a cool autumn day. It helped that there wasn't a lot of people, mostly locals. After asking a number of locals about the location of my hostel, I eventually found it after more than an hour of exploring/getting lost. I saw a sign pointing to an alley, it wasn't the hostel but a cafe. However, when I looked up I saw the name of my accommodation and decided to check-in.


Veliky Novgorod has a history that spans more than a thousand years. It was first mentioned in 859 AD and is considered as the birthplace of Russian statehood. One of the city's most prominent and cherished leaders is Yaroslav the Wise, he served as prince from 1010 to 1019.

Things to Do in Veliky Novgorod

Kremlin

The most famous and obvious attraction in the city is the UNESCO Heritage-listed Kremlin.

St. Sophia Cathedral

Monument of the Millennium of Russia



Inside the walls of the Kremlin you'll find the St. Sophia Cathedral. Yaroslav the Wise and his son Vladimir had the church built in 1045. The Monument of the Millennium of Russia is also in the complex. It commemorates the 1000 years of Russia at the time of its construction in 1862. There are also some churches and museums inside. I walked around the Kremlin a number of times during my brief stay in the city.

Yaroslav's Court




Also known as the Marketplace, Yaroslav's Court is just across the bridge from the Kremlin. This marketplace used to be a vibrant trading ground not just for Russians, but also for countries in Europe and Asia. You'll see religious and civil monuments that spanned many centuries. Some of the places you'll see in the court are:

  • St. Nicholas Cathedral
  • Church of the Dormition in the Marketplace
  • Church of St. Parasceva in the Marketplace
  • Gate Tower of the Former Marketplace
  • Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign 

Other attractions to consider including in your itinerary are:

  • Yuriev Monastery
  • Vitoslavitsy Museum of Folk Wooden Architecture


Expenses

I only stayed a night in Veliky Novgorod and visited nearby attractions. Here are my expenses for the short trip:

*Everything's in Russian Rubles

27 - Transportation around town
722 - Food and drinks
390 - 1 night Yaroslavl Hostel
587 - Train ticket for St. Petersburg   
1726 - Total

How to Get to Veliky Novgorod

Veliky Novgorod is easily accessible by train from either Moscow or Saint Petersburg. You can book tickets here: https://pass.rzd.ru/main-pass/public/en. The name of the station is NOVGOROD-NA-VOLHOVE.



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