Over centuries Veliky Novgorod was a link between medieval Europe and Old Russia, a unique ‘door’ to Europe, and a centre of international integration and trade. Traditions of medieval Hansa, that is considered to be an original model for the modern single European market, resulted in the Hanseatic League of the Modern Age, which was founded in 1980 and now includes over 160 cities and towns from 15 European states.
Veliky Novgorod today is an active member of the Hanseatic League of the Modern Age. It was Novgorod that became the first official Russian member of New Hansa in 1993. That is why this very Russian city has been honoured with hosting the International Hansaeatic Days in 2009.
Representatives of over 100 European cities and towns got together in Veliky Novgorod in June 2009 when the city was celebrating its 1150th anniversary. They shared their traditions with each other and discussed possible cooperation in economy and culture.
The most spectacular moments of the Forum was the grand opening and closing ceremonies of the Hanseatic Days, which programs will include traditional processions of over 1000 Forum participants, official delegations from the Hansa member cities and towns, craftspeople, musicians and laser show performers, and fireworks.
Every day the Hansa Trade Fair and Historical Medieval Market was open to give the Novgorod Kremlin, Yaroslav’s Courtyard and the streets of the historic centre the atmosphere of the Middle Ages, and to show the diversity of European cities and towns, including their traditions, culture, history and the present.
The parts of the historic city centre became natural decoration of the Hansa Fair and Historic Medieval Market: the Novgorod Kremlin (11th – 15th cc.) and the architectural ensemble of the Yaroslav’s Courtyard (12th – 18th cc.) where everything is so Middle Age-spirited.
Visitors of the Hansa Fair got a chance to watch the presentation of the modern Hansa cities and towns from Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, the UK, Poland, Holland, France, Sweden and Russia. The Historic Market will invite the guests of the event to take a trip back to the Middle Ages. Street merchants, craftspeople, actors and other townsfolk contributed to the bigger picture of daily life in a medieval town.
Youth Hansa events formed an important part of the celebration. Created on the initiative of young people, this group is called to observe the traditions of organizing Hanseatic Days and to facilitate the activities directed towards carrying out international youth projects and expanding cooperation in culture, creative and social work, education, youth tourism and business.
Being of a special great interest, the rich program of children’s events kept younger Novgorodians, their parents and the guests of the city well entertained. The little visitors of the Hanseatic Days enjoyed a variety of historical games and master-classes, as well as theatrical performances presenting life in a medieval town.
The international economic congress ‘Stable Urban Economic Development’ was also an important official event of the Hanseatic Days. The economic congress included discussion on economic development of Russian and European towns and cities, establishment of cooperation between small and large businesses of the Hansa members. It clarified the role of city councils, along with commercial and industrial chambers in forming the conditions for economic and business development.