Novgorod Veliky, despite meaning ‘Great New City’, is in fact one of the oldest cities in Russia and today it retains much of its ancient feel. Many of its ancient churches and its kremlin, which are all mentioned in 1000-year-old chronicles, still stand today.
The first Russian historical texts were written in Novgorod and documents written on birch bark have been discovered in archaeological digs here. The city’s market was once bustling with merchants from all over the country bringing wealth to the city and helping it fund church building projects and its class of powerful nobles, who ran the city as a limited form of a democratic republic. The famous Russian hero Aleksandr Nevsky once ruled here but even he had no choice but to leave the city when the nobles decided to elect a new prince. Novgorod was spared the worse of the Mongol-Tatar invasion and city's architecture and culture remained practically intact. In 1992 the city was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
During this weekend tour to Novgorod Veliky you will see the main sights of the city and be able to immerse yourself in the mediaeval charm of the city. There is a comfortable premium night train between Moscow and Novgorod which will make your trip all the more pleasant.
Moscow → Veliky Novgorod → Moscow
Total distance of the tour – 1212km
FRIDAY • DEPARTING MOSCOW
22:05 | Departure of the premium night train "Ilmen" from Moscow's Leningradsky Station to Novgorod.
Duration: 8 hours
06:05 | Arrival in Novgorod Veliky and transfer to your hotel.
Breakfast at your hotel.
10:00 | City tour of Novgorod Veliky - the highlights of the excursion include:
- Novgorod Kremlin - one of the most ancient monuments of military-defensive architecture in Russia. It consists of constructions of various ages, but as a whole it comprises a unique complex and was the centrepiece of the Novgorod Republic where the city’s veche (a popular assembly) met to discuss and vote on issues.
- St Sophia’s Cathedral – this white stone monument is the oldest Orthodox cathedral in Russia. It was built between 1045 and 1050 and for centuries has been the focal point of worship in Novgorod lands.
- Yaroslav’s Gorodische – this site located on the right-bank of the River Volkhov opposite the Kremlin was where Yaroslavl the Wise had his court. It was first mentioned in 1030, when, along with the neighbouring market, it would have been a vibrant and bustling part of the city.
- Millennium of Russia Memorial-Bell - this wonderful monument was unveiled in 1862. The form of the monument symbolises both the bell of the Novgorod veche and the Monomakh cap, worn by grand princes during their coronation. There are three levels of sculptures on the monument depicting important figures in Russian history and the doctrine of the time: Orthodoxy, Autocracy and the People.
- St Sophia’s Belfry – this is the oldest surviving belfry in Russia and holds a unique collection of bells. In addition from up here you can enjoy great views of the city.
- St Nicholas’ Cathedral – at over 900 years old, this is another of the oldest cathedrals in Russia.
- Transfiguration Church – this 14th century church is another architectural monument and inside you can see frescos by the Byzantine master Theophanes the Greek.
Duration: 3 hours | Transportation: walking excursion
SATURDAY • NOVGOROD KREMLIN
Breakfast at the hotel.
Guided tour of the Yuriev Monastery – this monastery was founded in 1030 on the orders of Yaroslav the Wise in honour of his patron saint. St George’s Cathedral was the first stone church to be built in the monastery; work began in 1119 on the orders of Mstislav Vladimirovich, the son of Vladimir Monomakh. In terms of scale it is only beaten by St Sophia's Cathedral in the city, but it is certainly another architectural treasure of mediaeval Rus and like no other in terms of its harmony and serenity.
Guided tour of the Wooden Architecture Museum – in the 12th century the Panteleymonov Monastery stood where this museum now stands and some of the remains of the monastery can still be found at the museum in the form of St Panteleimon’s Church and a 16th century refectory. In addition the museum has four ethnographical zones representing typical peasant estates with all household outbuildings.
Duration: 3 hours | Transportation: by a car
Free time in the city.
Transfer to the railway station.
19:45 | Departure of the night train to Moscow.
SUNDAY • YURIEV MONASTERY AND VITOSLAVITSY
05:15 | Arrival in Moscow.
MONDAY • ARRIVAL IN MOSCOW
• COST OF THE TOUR WITH 3* HOTEL •
|PRICE PER GROUP||1-2 PAX||3-4 PAX||5-6 PAX||7-8 PAX|
- Individual excursions according to the programme.
- Entrance tickets to the museums
- Transfers in a private car according to the programme.
- Return second class tickets for the Premium train Ilmen from Moscow to Veliky Novgorod
- Accommodation in a hotel of a category of your choice, central location, standard DBL rooms with breakfast.
- 24h emergency support during the tour
- Visa support documents
- Meals (except for breakfast where stated).
- Tips for the guides and drivers (optional)
- The tour is planned for starting on Friday and ending on Monday, but it is possible on any day.
- The tour is available in - other languages upon request.
- All excursions/guided tours included in the itinerary are private which means private guides and private transport along the programme - unless otherwise stated.
- The tour is suitable for travellers with children.
- Best time to travel on this route: from the end of April to mid-October.
• CANCELLATION POLICY •
DATE OF CANCELLATION
|FROM 60 TO 45 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||10%|
|FROM 44 TO 15 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||30%|
|FROM 14 TO 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||50%|
|LESS THAN 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||100%|
|PARK IN VELIKY NOVGOROD ***|
The Park Inn was the first chain hotel to be opened in Veliky Novgorod. It is located slightly out of the historical centre on the opposite side of the kremlin. It takes around 20 minutes to walk to historical centre. Close to the hotel is 30-Letia Oktyabr Park. The railway station is 4km from the hotel.
SATURDAY/SUNDAY • MASTER CLASS ON PAINTING CHINA
At this factory museum you will see unique collections of 19th and 20th century chinaware from the Novgorod Region. On display are examples from four china factories in the region: Kominterm from Volkhovo, Proletary from Bronnitsy, Krasny Farforist from Gruzino and Vozrozhdenie from Novgorod. Both mass produced examples and one-off orders are exhibited, all of which are remarkable for their beauty and delicacy. At the end of the excursion you can try your hand at painting your own pieces of china, which you can take home with you as a souvenir.
|PRICE PER GROUP||1-2 PAX||3-4 PAX||5-6 PAX||7-8 PAX|
Duration: 40 mins