What is Novgorod
Located amidst pine forests and beautiful clear lakes, Novgorod has managed to keep the pristine Russian character. This can be felt throughout the town in its architecture, in its soft landscape, quiet streets, and friendly locals.
During the Tatar-Mongol yoke when most of the modern Russia was conquered by Asian tribes, Novgorod was the only city that stayed independent (it was a republic back then). It also was situated on an important trade route and managed to keep itself aside from all the political battles focusing on the commerce instead (it used to be a part of the Hansa Germanic trade union since the 13th century).
During the course of history the times have changed and Novgorod lost its importance, however, it’s still maintained itself as a historical and spiritual center. That’s why it’s so interesting for sightseeing: you can almost see what Russia looked like hundreds of years ago… also as Novgorod was an important hub in the middle ages you can still see the remnants of those times around.
The beautiful Novgorod Kremlin stands on Volkhov river (where one can swim) and many beautiful churches scattered around the town add to the overall peaceful impression you get when walking around the city.
There are also many great locations outside of Novgorod for those who like camping and trekking. Overall it makes sense to visit Novgorod for 2-3 days en route between Moscow and St. Petersburg and if you have more time to also explore the beautiful nature around.
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Novgorod was considered to be the second main city after Kiev in Russia in the mid centuries.