Veliky Novgorod is one of Russia's most ancient cities and was Russia's first capital. No other Russian city can compete with Novgorod in the variety and age of its medieval monuments. It was founded by the Viking King Rurik in the 9th century who became the first King of Russia and founder of the Rurik Dinasty which ruled the Russian lands until the 16th century.
In the 12th century the Novgorod city state controlled most of Europe's North-East, from today´s Estonia to the Ural Mountains making it one of the largest states in medieval Europe.
Your first impression of the city will be the Kremlin of Novgorod - the oldest in Russia. The structure dates back to 864. You will have the chance to walk along its ancient walls during your visit. The cathedral of St. Sophia dominates the structure of the Kremlin, built between 1045 and 1050.
It is the best preserved of 11th century churches, probably the oldest structure still in use in Russia and the first one to represent original features of Russian architecture (austere stone walls, five helmet-like cupolas). It is adorned with beautiful frescoes from the 12th century and icons. The dome of the cathedral is made in the form of a huge helmet, to show the defendant power of the city.
You will also see the Millennium of Russia Monument that displays Russia's history from Rurik to Nicholas I. Late afternoon we depart back to St Petersburg for New Year Celebration!