Veliky Novgorod (Russian for “new town”) is one of the oldest cities in Russia, founded almost 1,200 years ago. By 977 Novgorod gained its independence from Kievan Rus. During the 11th and 12th centuries the town prospered when it served as a major center between Baltic and Black sea trading routes.

Soon the city with its 30,000 inhabitants, one of the most well educated centers in eastern Europe, became known as Novgorod the Great. A century later while other areas of the country were sacked by the invading Tatar hordes, this region escaped severe Mongol occupation. In 1240, Prince of Novgorod, Alexander Nevsky, also battled off the attacking Swedes. The golden age of Novgorod lay between 12th and 15th centuries when wealthy nobles and merchants built over 200 churches. Even though the city remained a centre for trade and religion well into the 16th century, it eventually lost its independence to Moscow when Ivan the Terrible‘s troops occupied the city in 1478.

By the early 18th century the city lost its strategic significance and slowly fell into a state of relative obscurity. It will take us about two hours to get there (and two hours to gate back) and you will experience a 4 hour excursion with a local, fully licensed English speaking guide. We start with Open Air Museum park of Wooden architecture (known as Vitoslavlitsy). Here there is a collection of old wooden buildings and log architecture – churches, windmills, izba cottages, granaries, – dating from the 16th century to the 19th centuries and collected from outlying villages.

Just 15 minutes walk brings you to the Yuriev Monastery ensemble and the magnificent asymmetric three domed Cathedral of St George, commissioned in 1119 by Prince Vsevolod. Then we will show you Novgorod Kremlin (Russian for “fotress”) with its famous Cathedral of Sofia (its western portal contains the bronze Sigtuna Doors, made in Magdenburg in the early 1050’s)

In the center of Kremlin there is the Millenium Memorial, erected in 1862 to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of Ruric’s (founder of the first Russian ruling dynasty) arrival in Novgorod. The museum of History, Architecture and Art is the Kremlin’s largest building: it has 35 halls and over 8,000 exhibitions including collections of the churches’ medieval art and icons.

The Faberge Museumhas the world-class collection of Faberge Masterpieces (including 14 Easter Eggs), gift boxes, Russian enamels etc.The collection is situated in 9 beautiful rooms of Shuvalov Palace. It was opened in November 2013 and was founded by the “Link of Times” Cultural Historical Foundation, established by Russian entrepreneur Viktor Vekselbergto repatriate lost cultural treasures to Russia.

The fourth tallest dome construction in the world. St Isaac’s Cathedral used to be the main Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Russian Empire. The enormous decoration of the interior of the cathedral, was created in the Russian Academy of Fine Arts.Gilded bronze, malachite and lapis lazuli together with countless paintings, columns, mosaics, will take your breath away.

One of the best private palaces in the Europe .Its real gem is a home theater. Outstanding Russian singers and dancers performed there.In this palace young Felix Yusupov, the heir of the family, and other conspirators assassinated Grigory Rasputin.  During a visit to the palace you will learn about the plot of Felix and how it was brought to life.

Peter and Paul Fortress here our city was founded in 1703.Peter the Great started a fortress to protect the lands won back from Sweden. Now it is one of the most important 18th century fortresses in Russia and Europe.St Peter and Paul Cathedral is the burial place of almost all Russian Tsars from Peter the Great up to the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family.

Many metro station vestibules and platforms are adorned with marble, granite, bas-reliefs and mosaics which makes them look like underground palaces. The very first 10 stations appeared after WWII and have various military and Soviet symbols reminding visitors about the glorious victory over Nazi Germany. Owing to the city’s swampy subsoil, most of the lines were built extremely deep underground.

Peterhof is definitely “a must-see” for any first-time visitor to St Petersburg.It is often called the “Russian Versailles”: it is a real “kingdom of fountains” and true paradise for little children (as well as adults) with amazing cascades, a variety of unique and playful fountains, Grand Peterhof Palace, and other small ones.

Catherine Palace Is a must to visit. Inside you will find a succession of interconnecting rooms in Baroque style and somewhere in the middle of that enfilade is the famous Amber Room which was called by contemporaries “the eighth wonder of the world”. The palace was badly damaged during WWII and amber panels were stolen by the Nazi. But they started restoration in 1979 and finished it in 2003.

St Petersburg Siege Memorialcommemorates the hardship that Leningrad‘s (the soviet name of our city) citizens endured during the siege which lasted 900 days (1941-1943) and took away about 1.5 mln lives. The most striking part of the memorial are the tableaux of soviet citizens facing south towards the enemy. It was designed to be viewed from a distance. In the subterranean memorial hall are relics from the siege.

Offers fresh food from all over the former Soviet Union: melons, tomatoes, farmhouse honey, pickles, sour cream, ham and gherkins, not to mention imports such as kiwi fruit. Most vendors offer the chance to taste a sliver before buying. Outside the market are “babushkas” (pensioners) who sell things they have grown at their dacha (summer cottage) or gathered in the forest.

Hermitage Museum one of the most important and oldest museums in the world. It has one of the largest collections of paintings. If you spent one minute viewing each exhibit of the Museum it would take you11 years to see everything. The collection of the French Impressionists is exhibited in the General staff building which is located opposite the Winter Palace.

Most famous for almost 21,000m² of mosaics that cover both the interior and the façade of the building. The mosaics were created in Russia, which makes them even more valuable. It is the only building in our citybuilt in the style of Moscow churches. The church was built on the place where Alexander II was assassinated, hence the name.

St Petersburg boat tours offer a perfect way to see the city under a bit different angle – sailing under numerous bridges along rivers and canals, and listening to curious stories from your guide. St Petersburg boat tours are especially majestic during the White Nights season in St Petersburg.

Alexander Palace was commissioned by Catherine II for her grandson, future Russian tsar Alexander I and later became the summer home of a succession of Imperial heirs, each of whom left their mark on the building.