Novgorod Region is an integral member of the Northwestern Federal District with the region area of 54 500 sq. km and population of 646 000 citizens with 70% living in towns and cities. The Region is located in the Moscow time zone.
The Region centre is Veliky Novgorod that is 500 km far from Moscow.
The larger part of the region extends over the Priilmenskaya Lowlands with 60% of the territory covered by forest. There is a multitude of lakes in the Region and major rivers are Msta, Volkhov, Lovat and others. The climate is moderately continental with relatively mild winters (winter average —7C) and moderately hot summers (summer average +16C).
Keen naturalists would appreciate the «Rdeysky» Nature Reserve considered the natural conservancy of international importance with its unique swamp ecosystem, rivers flowing under moss layers and inside peat beds and mineral isles. The exclusively rich flora of the Reserve includes about 350 species with 9 rare and 45 moss species. The avifauna is also very rich and includes 122 species with 4 rare ones.
Veliky Novgorod is the city of Russia with the richest history. The Region has a number of archaeological dig sites that would attract keen historians. One of the most famous sites is the Troitsky excavation site where more than 20 town estates dd. X — XV centuries, over 400 birchbark letters and other artifacts have been discovered. Nowadays the dig site welcomes tourists to participate in a unique «Teatr Vremeni» (Theater of Time) where they have the opportunity to travel in time — descend to the cultural layer revealed by archaeologists and scrutinize all artifacts and purchase some souvenirs (ancient ceramics fragments, saw cuts, copies of coins and decorations).
On the territory of the Novgorod Kremlin you can visit the Novgorod Museum of History with its abundant collection of the most significant artifacts of the Region history — archaeological and numismatic exhibits, icon paintings, and jewelry and book collections. The Kremlin is the historical centre of the city. The fortification wall is 2 km long and includes 13 towers each of which keeps its own history or a legend.
The city managed to preserve numerous fascinating monuments of church architecture: the Transfiguration Cathedral, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (the architect is Leo Dal — a son of the famous dictionary author), The Annunciation monastery, the Pechersky monastery, the Ascension cathedral and others.
Those who are interested in more contemporary art should visit the Novgorod Photography Museum arranged in the house where A.O. Karelin and M.P. Dmitriev — the founders of the Russian art and publicity photography — used to live and work.
Many points of attraction of the Region are covered with old legends, for example, the St. Yuriev Monastery that is believed to be founded by Yaroslav the Wise in the XII century. Masterfully decorated with frescoes the St. George’s Cathedral of the Monastery has been a burial-vault for Novgorod princes. The 52-meter high bell-tower and the 5-cupola Exaltation of the Holy Cross Cathedral also remain intact to this day.
Another historical attraction is Rurikovo Gorodishche (Rurik’s Settlement) in lower rich of the Volkhov River. Besides the fact that it is located in an utterly picturesque area it is also a great historical mystery and a witness of accession of the Rurik’s Dynasty of Russian rulers. You could reach Gorodishche from the Church of Transfiguration of Our Saviour on Nereditsa hill.
There is an extremely interesting tourist rout that goes along the Msta River called «Reka Vremeni» (River of Time). A boat of an ancient Slav vessel style would take tourists on a cruise with museums and archaeological sites visits, thus introducing them to the way of life and household of Ancient Russia. The Msta River also offers special routes for extreme rafting.
In summers Veliky Novgorod becomes a host of «Hansa Days» that attract representatives of over 100 European towns to demonstrate their traditions and visit the fair and the medieval market open specifically for these days. The expression «The Hanseatic League» is historically associated with a free union of towns in medieval Germany; however it has transformed to denote a type of free collaboration between towns.
Tourists who enjoy being absorbed into the atmosphere of the Middle Ages should see re-enactments of military history clubs from all over Russia that gather for the Festival «Sobor Ratnyh Druzhin» («Medieval Military Assembly») in April.
September is the time The Festival of Bell-Ringing Art takes place in Novgorod Region town of Valdai, which has long been the symbol of bell art. It attracts bell ringing professionals and campanologists (the art of bell ringing) who engage in concerts and master-classes. In the Valdai Museum you could see a unique collection of bells. There is a legend about a big bell that was taken from Veliky Novgorod to Moscow and by accident fell off the cart near Valdai and broke into a multitude of tiny bells.
Novgorod Region is also the centre for health and recreation tourism with its mineral springs of the Staraya Russa Resort commonly attributed to as the «Russian Baden-Baden».
For more detailed information on the region, please refer to Internet resources of governmental authorities of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation.