The city of Velikiy (Great) Norvgorod, Russia, 100 mi/160 km southeast of St. Petersburg, is more than 1,100 years old. At one time it competed with Moscow for domination of Old Russia. Today, it's primarily modern and industrial, but still retains a well-preserved Kremlin and old city center. See St. Sofia Cathedral (begun in 1045, with six domes) and the city's other ancient churches, which are concentrated in the Yaroslav Estate (Yaroslavo Dvorische) across the Volkhov River from the Kremlin. Two-hour river cruises are offered from a dock just south of the Kremlin.
Just outside of Novgorod is the Vitoslavlitsy Museum of Wooden Architecture, which has about two dozen wooden structures, all built without nails. Other notable sites are Yuriev Monastery and Skit—a sacred peninsula during Russia's pagan times, it was said to have the largest remains of pagan culture in the northwest of Russia. In the Middle Ages, Skit was also turned into a monastery. Novgorod can be reached by bus, rail or air from St. Petersburg or Moscow (it is closer to St. Petersburg). http://www.vnovgorod.info (in Russian only).
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