The Novgorod Kremlin, founded by the prince Yaroslav the Wise in 1044, is the oldest among the existing Russian Kremlins.
The history of the first Novgorod stronghold is related to the middle of the 11th century. It was situated on the small hill between two ravines where now is Saint Sophia Cathedral and its territory. During the governing of Vladimir Yaroslavich and Mstislav Vladimirovich (11th – 12th centuries) the Kremlin expanded and reached today’s size. Since that time we have giant ramparts, on which at the end of 15th century were built stone walls and towers of Italian standard.
It takes just half an hour to walk around the Kremlin. The length of its walls is 1350 m, the thickness reaches 4 m. From twelve towers we now have nine. Five of them (according to the quantity of endings – administrative districts of Veliky Novgorod) were passing and presented small architectural ensemble: the tower, the church over-the-gates.
The only tower of 16th century which comes out of the wall is Pokrovskaya. It’s on the low-ground side which makes it the most vulnerable to artillery attacks. That’s why it has three-meter walls and its facades have 55 loopholes. A neighboring five-tier Zlatoustovskaya tower is famous for being a prison in 17th century. It is reflected in its previous name – Turemnaya (Prison Tower).
There are two non-typical round towers in the Kremlin. One of them is Mitropolichya. Till 17th century it was called Round or Red. Another one is Fedorovskaya. It was called by the name of the church, which was built in memory of Aleksandr Nevsky’s brother Fedor. He passed away very early, on the eve of his marriage, and then was canonized as Saint. His relics lie in Saint Sophia Cathedral.
The highest tower of the Kremlin is Kokuy Watch Tower (41 m). It was built in 18th century and now is open for visiting in frost-free season 11 am – 7 pm, lunch break 2 pm – 3 pm, Monday and Thursday are days off. From its top opens a great view on Novgorod lands many kilometers away.