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City (pop., 2002: 217,200), northwestern Russia. Located on the Volkhov River north of Lake Ilmen, it is one of the oldest Russian cities. First mentioned in the chronicles of AD 859, it came under Rurikc. 862. It was of great importance in the 11th to 15th centuries, when it was the capital of the principality of Novgorod. It prospered by trade with Central Asia, Byzantium, and the Hanseatic League. The centre of the Novgorod school of painting, it was ruled by Alexander Nevsky in the 13th century. It became a rival of Moscow, was destroyed by Ivan IV in 1570, and declined with the rise of St. Petersburg. It was held by the Germans in World War II and suffered heavy damage. Many historic buildings were later restored, and these were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992. The city is a centre of tourism.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Novgorod, visit Britannica.com.