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    Novgorod Region

The name means new town, but Novgorod was here by the 9th century and for 600 years was Russias most pioneering artistic and political center. Nowadays, Novgorod is a small calm town in province, with splendid old Russian architecture, interesting museums, clean river next to the Kremlin, fresh air and nice people.

It is difficult to distinguish the city of Novgorod, as a contemporary urban center, from the city of Novgorod as a museum of more than 50 Old Russian architectural monuments. These treasures of Old Russian architecture are a familiar part of the modern city for local citizens. Novgorod preserved a lot of features rooted in its rich and fascinating history. Here, you can touch the rugged walls of an old cathedral, see an ancient kind of paint known as "plinfa", and view original fresco paintings. But what is even more important is that Novgorod, with its huge cultural and historical heritage, has the feeling of Russia, that no other city has.

Souvenirs

Just as it happens with the holidays, Novgorodian souvenirs represent the most interesting Russian features together with adding some local spirit into them. Souvenir making has turned into a real industry in the city and takes into account differences in tastes and pockets of tourists. One can find from among the usual selection of Russian matrioshkas, miniature icons, watercolors depicting all kinds of architectural monuments, etc., an authentic souvenir that will always remind of Novgorod.

The most popular Novgorod souvenirs will certainly be made of Birch-bark. The choice of Birch-bark works is wide - from small woven boxes, gracefully embossed picture frames, tiny key-holders in the shape of lapti, or traditional foot-wear made of Birch-bark, to opulent multiple-layered baskets with cut-out ornament, large pictures with images arising from a combination of different shades of bark, or real custom-made lapti.

Both adults and children display real enthusiasm in ringing small copies of the Valdai bells, another popular Novgorod souvenir. Whether golden or brightly painted, these bells always retain their clear voices, keeping you company and reminding you of a famous legend about the Novgorod veche bell, which had once broken into pieces in the mountains of Valdai.

Since the 19th century the city has been the center of porcelain making. Novgorod is preserving this tradition now as well. Tourists and local people especially value the so-called "blue" cobalt kitchen utensils with images of the golden silhouette of the St. Sophia Cathedral and ancient ornaments.

Tags: Russian tourism Russian regions Novgorod Region Russian history  


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