Novgorod is one of the most ancient Russian towns – this is where history of Russia actually starts. Back in Middle ages it was a large trading center, and now it is a quiet provincial Russian town with a lot of history literally dispersed in the air.
Your private guide will meet you at the hotel and lead you to the private bus. The drive to Novgorod takes about 3 hours – enjoy the beautiful countryside.
Once you arrive, you will be invited for a city tour, during which you will see the historical center of Novgorod.
The first stop of the tour will be the Kremlin, or Detinets, which used to be a fortress and the residential place for the princes, their garrisons and the archbishops. You will visit the oldest functioning Orthodox church in Russia – the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom, or Saint Sophia. There is a chance to explore it from the inside and be impressed by the icons, connected with a lot of stories and legends. Next to the cathedral you will see the symbols of Novgorod democracy – the bells of Veche – that was the name of medieval Novgorodian “democratic government”. The central place in the Detinets is occupied by a famous monument, which is called “The Millennium of Russia”. You will find the sculptural images of the most outstanding people of the country.
Next you will be shown the Yaroslav’s Courtyard – the former residence of Novgorodian prince Yaroslav the Wise, which used to be a trading plaza at the same time. It is also a place of the highest concentration of medieval Orthodox churches and chapels.
In the afternoon we will take a short drive to the local museum of wooden architecture, called Vitoslavlitsy. Find yourself in the middle of an ancient Russian village and get acquainted with everyday life of ordinary Russians about 100-200 years ago. In Vitoslavlitsy you will also have a chance to taste local specialties, like blini and kvas.
If you have a week or so in St Petersburg, a day trip to Novgorod can be a great option. You will have a lot of impressions and a better feel of Russia.