Often, because of low use scores (the Unified State Exam in Russia after graduation from school) and the lack of money to enter the University on a paid basis, people leave large cities for neighboring ones, where it is cheaper to live, and there is no such competition for training places.
Just before going to Veliky Novgorod (which is constantly confused with Nizhny Novgorod), I had talked to Vladislav. He is from Saint Petersburg but has been living in Novgorod for several years. And so that I had some impression before the trip, we met and had a chat. The first thing Vladislav told me was “there is a MacDonalds in this back country, and it is located near the train station”. Great, I thought to myself, so I wouldn’t starve in this city.
“Novgorod seems like a city, but it’s not like that at all. This is something in the middle between Moscow and Saint Petersburg of nowhere. Here you can meet both a well-being student who came here to study and a local ragamuffin who will demand 10 rubles for vodka from you. The city lives only at the expense of students, as there are many universities here. And many foreigners come here to study, because here the cost of education is much less than in St. Petersburg, and all the necessary conditions for foreign nationals are created but they only come here to study and then leave. Because the job pays here are small and almost everyone has a loan. Tourists don’t trip here, this city is visited just only for show, the local Kremlin is only worth seeing, and that’s all.”
Vladislav also jokingly told me that he had often read about murders and fights in the news reports, but then said that in the few years that he had been living here, he had never seen anything like this. This reassured me well.
A city with an amazing centuries-old history
In general, Veliky Novgorod is a city with an amazing centuries-old history. This is a unique place in terms of architecture where a huge number of monuments of 11-14th centuries have been preserved. It is called Great because it had a huge impact on the historical development of Russia as a state. Although until 1999, the city was officially called simply Novgorod.
The official date of Novgorod’s appearance is 859, based on the chronicle. Novgorod was also not conquered by the Mongol powers and preserved unique monuments of ancient Russian architecture created before the Mongol invasion. For example, as the Kremlin (as it is also called the Novgorod Detinets). Well, another historical fact that Novgorod merchants called London and Paris “dirty village” because the streets in Novgorod began to be paved earlier than in European cities and the wooden water supply system here has already appeared in the times of Ancient Russia.
…MacDonalds on the left of the train station
As soon as I’d arrived here the first thing I saw was actually MacDonalds on the left of the train station. There were few people on the streets and few tourists inside the Kremlin walls though it was Saturday. You must come to Novgorod just to see the Kremlin, and then tell all your friends “Yes, I was in Novgorod, this is the one that is Great”. It takes a few hours to walk around all the sights of the city.
There are a lot of churches here, both in the territory of the Kremlin itself and across the bridge. All these names of churches I learned once in school when I was preparing for the history exam to enter University, and now I see it all with my own eyes. Those who love history and want to spend a great weekend, this is a great opportunity because they can get here in a few hours from the St. Petersburg railway station. And now I can say that I was there.