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Silver Ring – Veliky Novgorod & Pskov

Veliky Novgorod (Novgorod the Great) is one of the oldest Russian cities. It was first mentioned in chronicles in 859. In 1044, the construction of a stone Kremlin began on the bank of the Volkhov River, to protect citizens from invaders. In 1052, the imposing St. Sofia's Cathedral was built, which is now the heart of the Kremlin. There are plenty of churches and monasteries in the city and around. The architectural complex of Novgorod and surroundings is enlisted in the UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1992. Novgorod is a capital of Novgorod Region. Covered with forests, the area attracts many nature lovers. Probably the most famous place after Novgorod itself is Valdai National Park, with its center in the town of Valdai 140 km southeast from Novgorod.

Pskov region is situated in the northwestern part of the European Russia. The area comes to 55.3 thousand square kilometers. This place is the only Russian region, which borders on three foregin states at the same time (Estonia, Latvia, Republic of Belarus). The poulation is about 736 thousand people (Census of 2005). The climate is characterized as moderate continental, quite humid.

The region has got a long history, which dates back to the 10th century. According to the chronicles first Slavic tribes started to inhabit these territories in the middle of the first millenium. The town of Pskov had always been a very important trading and cultural center of Russia. As the region has always been located on the border of Russia, the fortress of Pskov had protected the state for many centuries. The area is rich in different architectural monuments which survived till our days.

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