Having examined the vicinity, let's enter the city.
Novgorod the Great is one of the most ancient towns of
Russia. It was first mentioned by chroniclers in 859. The name is obviously
derived from the Russian words for 'new town'. It's not so obvious what was
the 'old town' then. Having been the first capital of Russian state,
Novgorod was later incorporated into Kievan Rus. It started to regain
independence after 1136. At that time Novgorod (known to the Westerners as
Holmgard) was a kind of federation composed of 5 city districts.
The general assembley of population (called 'veche')
elected the city's stadtholder ('posadnik') and examined some topical
issues. Looks like a republican government, with a modification:
stadtholders were elected exclusively from boyars. Just like today ;)
General assembley also elected an archbishop who stood for a factual head of
government. As a capital of huge territories and a prosperous member of the
Hanseatic League, the city styled itself "Sovereign Lord Novgorod the
In 1478, after a series of bloody conflicts, Ivan III
incorporated Novgorod into the Muscovite state. Archbishop and governors
were to be appointed in Moscow. In the course of the 15th century a stone
fortress and many new churches were erected. Initially the 2nd largest city
of Muscovy, Novgorod gradually lost its former importance. Since 1727 it has
been an administrative centre of the Novgorod government, transformed after
the revolution into the Novgorod oblast.
During the WWII Novgorod was occupied by German forces.
Numerous churches and buildings were systematically destroyed, only to be
replaced with modern apartment blocks after the war.
In this album we shall concentrate our attention on the spot called
Yaroslav's Court and the Market Square around it.
Much construction activity was going on there from 11th to 15th
centuries, starting from the long-demolished palace of Yaroslav the
Wise (hence the name).
Here is a window of the
St.John-on-the-Steeps (built in 1127-30, reconstructed in 1453, and
represented in the photo above). Irregularity of its execution is
characteristic of ancient Russian architecture. It's hard to get lines
straight when you work with limestone.
Basically, there is enormous
difference between churches and other structures of Novgorod and
St.Petersburg. No wonder. St.Petersburg style was shaped by foreigners
(primarily from Italy and France), and subsequent architects had to
reckon with it in order to maintain stylistic unity.
originally erected in 1356, was rebuilt in the 18th century.
One should keep in mind that not all the churches were white-painted.
Some of them have been rendered white in recent times.
The Assumption-on-the-Market church was
constructed in 1135.
It has been alternately known as Assumption-on-the-Goat's-Beard,
because cows, horses, and goats were sold nearby.
Near the churches is a quite nice park.
The Veche Square.
On the left is the Church of Saint Parascovia (1156).
On the right is the belfry with the Veche Tower (1690s).
To the left from the tower one can see the Church of Holy Wives