While the conventional tourist route combines Moscow, St Petersburg and the Golden Ring, there are a number of traditional Russian towns beyond these popular destinations that can provide fascinating insights into the region’s long and complex history.
Three hours’ drive south of St Petersburg, Novgorod is one of the most significant historical centers in the whole of Russia.
Though its name means ‘new town’ Novgorod’s origins date back to the 9th-century, when it developed into one of Russia’s principal trading and ecclesiastical hubs.
The reconstructed kremlin, the centerpiece of the town, contains the beautiful St Sophia’s cathedral, perhaps the oldest building in Russia with frescoes dating back to the 12th-century.
The city overflows with cultural relics, including the Palace of Facets, a 15th century clock tower and numerous impressive churches, museums and galleries.