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Novgorod
Novgorod - one of the most ancient cities of Russia located in its North-West, near the site where the Volkhovriver takes its waters from Lake Ilmen, emerged as a political center of Slavic and Fino-Ugric tribes in the mid-9th century, while as a town it was formed in the middle of the 10th century.
The history of Novgorod is closely linked with all major stages in the life of the Russian state. In those times, when the statehood of Rus was just in the making, the Novgorodians invited Scandinavian prince Rurik to keep law and order, thus giving birth to the prince Rurik dynasty that ruled over all Russian lands throughout more than 750 years.
The adoption of Christianity at the close of the tenth century turned Novgorod into a powerful ecclesiastical center. The efforts of Novgorod Bishops in spreading and promoting the Orthodoxy were given high credit in the mid-12th century when they were elevated to the ranks of Archbishops which made the Bishops Chair of Novgorod the most powerful in the Russian Orthodoxy.
The right of Novgorod to select its own princes, that was granted in the middle of the twelfth century, attracted princes to the Novgorod throne. This provided favorable conditions to maintain the unity of Russian lands tending to be feudally divided, while the annexation of the Novgorod republic to the Moscow Principality at the end of the 15th century resulted in the united Russian State with Moscow as the capital.
Throughout many centuries, Novgorod was a political center of vast territories stretching up from the Baltic lands and Finland in the West to the northern Urals in the East. It was also one of the greatest international trade centers on the Baltic-Volga commercial route that tied northern Europe with Asia as early as the mid - 8th century.
Novgorod is the cradle of Russian republican and democratic traditions. In the course of over 600 years, up till 1478, all vital decisions on its life and foreign policy were taken by the "veche" - an ancient parliament comprising the representatives of the town aristocracy families. At crucial times of Novgorod's history, every citizen took part in the veche. The republic's special political structure, spiritual freedom and territorial independence were highly favorable to the evolution of culture and art.
Novgorod was one of Russia's major centers of literacy and book production. As far back as in the 30-s of the 11th century, by the will of the great Prince Yaroslav The Wise, Novgorod saw the first school to train three hundred children at a time.
Medieval Novgorod was one of the greatest art centers of Europe. Its architectural traditions, school of icon-painting, jeweler's and decorative applied art became famous all over the world. You will, no doubt, be happy with a visit of the Kremlin of Novgorod - the oldest in Russia. A visit to Novgorod usually leaves guests with unforgettable impressions of the inimitable and majestic Novgorod landscape. You are always welcome at the expositions and exhibitions of one of the most ancient and richest museums of Russia - Novgorod State United Museum that offers visitors a unique collection of historic, cultural and art relics.