For other cities named Novgorod see Novgorod (disambiguation).

Novgorod (Но́вгород) is a city in North-Western Russia. Since 1998 the official name of the city has been Velikiy Novgorod (Great Novgorod). It is the capital of Novgorod Oblast. The city lies along the Volkhov River just below its outflow from Lake Ilmen. Population: ca. 290,000.

It is not to be confused with Nizhny Novgorod, on the Volga River.



The exact year in which the city was founded is not clear; the written record is ambiguous. One source mentions it as an existing city as of 854, another as of 859.

The Varangian name of the city Holmgard (Holmgrd, Holmegaard) is mentioned in Norse Sagas as existing substantially earlier, but it is impossible to separate the historical facts from the surrounding myth. Later in history, Holmgard referred only to the stronghold inside the city (Riurikovo Gorodische, named after Rurik). Archeological data suggests that the Gorodische, the residence of the Knyaz (Prince), dates from the middle of 9th century, but the town itself dates from end of the 9th century. By the middle of 10th century, Novgorod had become a fully developed medieval city.

Missing image
Cathedral of St. Sophia, the Holy Wisdom of God in Novgorod was built up in 1045

During the Middle Ages, Novgorod was one of the largest cities of Ruthenia. During the Kievan Rus period, it was the second most important center in the nation and the center of the lucrative fur trade. The sacking of Kiev and many of the other Russian cities by the Mongols greatly elevated Novgorod's position, and it became a powerful independent city state. It gained control of a vast swath of territory in northern Russia and was a center of trade. The city was far less autocratic than the southern Ruthenian cities; the Prince was elected by a council of nobles, also known as Novgorod Veche. The term "veche" is being revived in modern Novgorod. The most important figure in Novgorod, besides the Prince, was the Posadnik, an official elected by the Veche from the city's aristocracy. For example, the Novgorod court was formally presided over by the Prince, but his verdicts had to be confirmed by the Posadnik to become binding.

The city's downfall was a result of its inability to feed its large population, making it dependent on the Vladimir-Suzdal region for grain. The main cities in this area, Moscow and Tver, used this dependence to gain control over Novgorod. Eventually Ivan III annexed the city to Muscovy in 1478. Novgorod remained a powerful city, however, until Ivan the Terrible sacked the city and slaughtered thousands of its inhabitants in 1570.

Sister Cities

See also

External links

el:Νόβγκοροντ et:Veliki Novgorod fi:Novgorod fr:Novgorod io:Novgorod ja:ノヴゴロド la:Novogardia Magna nl:Novgorod no:Novgorod pl:Nowogrd Wielki ru:Великий Новгород sv:Novgorod zh:大诺夫哥罗德


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