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Russia Regions: North West of Russia


Ancient Kremlin in Novgorod Veliky, North West Russia


 The North West is Russia's
historic gateway to Western Europe. It is a very large area bordering Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Belarus. In the east it stretches to the Ural Mountains.


The North-West is also important as being home to St. Petersburg, the country’s capital until the early 18th century.

Being among the major tourist draws in Russia, we have singled out St. Petersburg into a separate region.   

Other historically significant areas of North West are Karelia and Novgorod.


With its birch forests, idyllic rivers and rolling steppes,

West European Russia

is an enticing vision straight out of Russian folklore 

Among top attractions of North West Region of Russia are UNESCO listed St. Petersburg, Novgorod Veliky, to name just a few


Those seeking the soul of Old Russia would have a rewarding experience when exploring this historically rich region, with its charming old villages, photogenic fortress towns and gold-domed monasteries as just part of the lure


North Western Russia offers a spectacular array of historical, cultural and scenic wonders and great names:


The nature offers beautiful views of rivers and lakes, while the rich history provides an opportunity to visit elegant villas and palaces, churches, cathedrals, bridges and other places connected with life and work of such famous people as Alexander Pushkin, Vladimir Nabokov, Ilya Repin, Pyotr Tchaikovsky and others.


Outdoors lovers will love pristine Karelia, Ladoga and Onega Lakes beauties, the sandy shores of the Baltic Sea, the Arctic Murmansk and the cold of the White Sea.

Enjoy the seasons which range from warm humid summers to very cold snowy winters. 


Below is a List of major cities, regions and territories that comprise the North Western Russia, one of the seven (7) Federal Districts that make up the entire Russian Federation: 

  • Arkhangelsk City & Region * 
  • Kaliningrad City & Region (in Russian: Oblast) UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Russia
  • Komi Republic
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites in RussiaSaint-Petersburg City & Leningrad Region/Oblast UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Russia
  • Murmansk City & Region
  • Nenets Autonomous Territory
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites in RussiaNovgorod City & Region UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Russia
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites in RussiaPskov City & Region UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Russia
  • Republic of Karelia UNESCO sites: The pogost of Kizhi, Karelia and the Solovetsky Islands
  • Vologda City & Region Russia's UNESCO World Heritage Site: Ferapontov Monastery  is in 10 top ten of world's most popular UNESCO Heritage Sites in Russia  

* The English word "Region" and its Russian equivalent "Oblast" are frequently used interchangeably

FYI: Currently, there are 29 World Heritage Sites in Russia. 18 properties are cultural and 11 are natural


Novgorod Veliky:

Novgorod Veliky 
(in English: Novgorod the Great) played a pivotal role in the history of ancient Russia.

This medieval town was founded over 1000 years ago. And it still continues to prove its claim as the birthplace of modern Russia.

And here are the major reasons. Novgorod was ahead of the times in many ways. In a sense, Russian history began here. 
This was the first permanent settlement of the Varangian Norsemen who established the embryonic Russian state here.

In the middle of the 9th century the chieftains of Slavic an Finno-Ugric tribes, which inhabited the vast areas around Lake Ilmen, created their state.

They invited as an executive authority a Varangian (Scandinavian) prince "with his clan and loyal men" thus marking the beginning of the Rurik dynasty that ruled the Russian lands for more than 700 years.

By the 12th c. Novgorod was Russia's biggest: an independent quasi democracy whose princes were hired and fired by an assembly of citizens. 

The city, until the 15th century, had much more power than Moscow.

It was the local warriors of Novgorod who launched a raid against Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire.

They also established the waterway trade route "from the Varangians to the Greeks" which immensely boosted the economy of ancient Russia.

Outstanding statesmen, Prince Vladimir and Yaroslav the Wise, were closely connected with Novgorod.

Prince Vladimir who would later unite all Russian lands as the grand prince of Kiev and baptize Russia in 988 emerged on the political scene in Novgorod.

Yaroslav the Wise was twice put on the Grand Prince's throne by the Novgorodians. He strengthened Christianity, built new monasteries and churches, church books were translated from Greek and writing became widespread.


Novgorod is the most ancient Christian centre of Russia in its present day frontiers.

It is also the birthplace of the Russian democratic traditions.


The prince of Novgorod was in complete dependence on the popular assembly (council or Veche) - he could be accepted or rejected several times a year by townspeople at their meetings around the sovereign city. 

Novgorod is also known as the earliest centre of education in Russia.

The first school for 300 pupils was founded here by Yaroslav the Wise in 1034, to achieve universal literacy of the local population in rural areas of Russia.

In the course of its long history, Novgorod has grown into a unique world-class centre of Art.

Although the city has seen many wars, it still has some unique sites to offer tourists.

Nowadays, the visitor can enjoy a tour of the fascinating repository of architectural monuments, murals and collection of Russian icon-painting and applied art from the 11th to the 17th centuries.

It is known as the Museum of History, Architecture and Art, or The Novgorod State United Museum-Preserve.

The major landmark is the Kremlin (Detinets) first mentioned in the Chronicles of 1044.

The center piece of the Novgorod Kremlin is its UNESCO-listed St. Sophia Cathedral, the most ancient church of Russia!

It was in 989, soon after the baptism of Russia, that a wooden church was "perfectly built and decorated, with thirteen domes", and consecrated, like the main Orthodox church in Constantinople, to God Father and his Creative Wisdom Sophia.

The unusual church produced such an indelible impression upon Yaroslav the Wise that, on becoming the grand prince, he erected the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Kiev crowning it with thirteen domes too





Pskov lies in the north-west of Russia on the border with Estonia, 280 km from St. Petersburg.

The first reference to its existence mentions the marriage of Olga, the first Christian woman ruler of the city, to Prince Igor of Novgorod (of operatic fame).

On the steep slopes of the hill where the Pskov River flows into the Veliky River, the firm wooden ramparts of the Krom - the archaic term for for a kremlin or fortification - were built.     

Stone buildings appeared in the 12th century when the Trinity Cathedral, which became the symbol of the city, was built inside the Krom. 

The latest great piece of news for North West Russia came in 2019.

een unique buildings in the northwest Russian medieval city of Pskov have been officially added to UNESCO's World Heritage List.    

Eighteen (18) unique buildings in the northwest Russian city of Pskov were among the latest cultural gems to join UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.

Pskov is one of Russia's oldest cities, first mentioned in ancient annals of the 9th century. In the Middle Ages, it was the bustling, wealthy capital of the Pskov Republic, acting as a bridge between Russia and Europe.



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