Valdai, Russia

According to, the city of Valdai is located 140 km southeast of Veliky Novgorod on the shores of Lake Valdai in the highest part of the Valdai Upland.

At the end of the 15th century, on the highway between Moscow and Novgorod, in the place where the modern city is now located, the village of Valdaiskoye arose. A little later, Valdaiskoye became a palace village, and from 1654 to 1764 belonged to the Iversky Monastery. In 1770 the village was given the status of a city. The city of Valdai was a significant trade and craft center on the way from St. Petersburg to Moscow. From the end of the 18th century to this day, Valdai has been famous for its bell-casters. Since 1995, the city has been working museum of bells, which tells everything about the history of the creation of bells in Russia, about the casting technique, about the different purposes of bells, and where bells from different eras and countries of the world are exhibited. The museum is located in the building of the former travel church of Catherine II, which was built in 1793. In the Museum of Bells, you can not only look at the exhibits, but also listen to a variety of bell ringing, see the ringing technique, get acquainted with the methods of bell ringing, and also try to ring the bells with your own hands. The museum has a souvenir shop.

In Valdai, in the mansion of the noblewoman Mikhailova (19th century), there is another museum – the museum of the county town. It tells about the history of the Valdai region and reveals the peculiarity of the Russian province.

Of the architectural sights of the city, one can single out the Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul of the mid-19th century, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in 1744, which rises in the center of the Cathedral Square, and the Church of the Entry of the Blessed Virgin into the Temple of the Lord in 1762.

The city of Valdai is located on the territory of the Valdaisky National Park, which was created in 1990. Now it covers an area of 158.5 thousand hectares. The park is especially popular among tourists, as it is located near the cities of Moscowand St. Petersburg.. Its main purpose is to preserve the unique lake-forest complex of the Valdai Upland.

The Valdai Upland is the watershed of the basins of the Baltic and Caspian Seas, and such rivers as the Volga, Dnieper and Zapadnaya Dvina originate here. The hill consists of a series of moraine hills and ridges, between which lakes are located. The average height in the park is 150-200 m, the maximum is 343 m. There are 76 lakes in the national park, the largest of which are Valdai, Velye, Uzhin, Borovno, and part of Lake Seliger is also located in the park. The depth of large lakes does not exceed 10 m. The deepest lake in the park is Valdai, its maximum depth reaches 52 m. This lake is one of the cleanest in the world.

About 86% of the park is covered with forests. The main wood-forming species are birch, alder, aspen, mountain ash, spruce and pine. Oak forests are common in the southern part of the national park. There are about 50 species of mammals, at least 180 species of birds, 5 species of reptiles, 7 species of amphibians and about 45 species of fish in the park. Of the mammals, brown bear, elk, wolf, fox, pine marten, weasel, ermine, wild boar, raccoon dog, white hare, squirrel and beaver are common.

Lake Valdai and Lake Seliger are recognized fishing centers in Russia. Here you can catch pike, catfish, bream, ide, whitefish, vendace, burbot, pike perch, smelt, tench, asp, carp, golden and silver carp, and even European grayling, trout and lamprey. In addition, Valdai not only fishermen go, but also diving enthusiasts, both in summer and in winter (for ice-diving). The lake is famous for its good visibility, in some places it reaches 10 m. The immersion depth does not exceed 8 m. The water temperature in the lake in June-August ranges from +20 to +25 degrees, however, at a depth of 8 m it does not exceed +10 degrees. In winter, the water temperature in Valdai Lake is kept at +2..+3 degrees. Here you will see a wide variety of fish, especially interesting specimens (for example, predators) can be observed during night dives.

The shores of the lakes are literally strewn with recreation centers, so there are no problems with accommodation here. Medicinal sulphide-silt sapropelic mud is mined in the lakes of the park, which are used in the sanatoriums of the region.

There are many cultural attractions located in the Valdaisky National Park. Slavs lived on these lands since ancient times, since then there have been preserved sites of the 7th-6th centuries BC, settlements, settlements and burial mounds. On one of the islands of Valdai Lake, 10 km from the city of Valdai, there is one of the most valuable architectural monuments of the Novgorod region – the Iversky Bogoroditsky Svyatoozersky Monastery. The monastery was founded in 1653 by Patriarch Nikon. This year, wooden churches appeared on the island – a church in honor of the Iberian Icon of the Mother of God and a church in the name of St. Philip of Moscow. The first stone building of the monastery was the Cathedral in honor of the Iberian Mother of God (1655), which at the beginning of the 18th century, after a major fire, was re-consecrated into the Assumption Cathedral. Patriarch Nikon planned to turn the Iberian Monastery into the most important abode of the state, to make it a stronghold of Russian Orthodoxy. However, after he was deprived of the rank of patriarch, the monastery began to decline. During the years of Soviet power, it was completely closed, and it was opened only in 1997. The five-domed Assumption Cathedral, a refectory, a bell tower, monastic cells, a stone fence with two corner towers and the gate church of Michael the Archangel have survived from the monastery buildings to this day. Recently, a small museum dedicated to Patriarch Nikon and the history of the monastery has been operating in the monastery. You can get to the Iversky Monastery by boat.

The monuments of gardening and park art, preserved in the park from the noble estates of the 17-19 centuries, are very beautiful. In the village of Nikolskoye on the shore of Lake Velyo, the first Russian fish factory was located, opened by the founder of Russian practical ichthyology V.P. Vrassky in the middle of the 19th century. The museum of Vladimir Petrovich Vrassky also works here.

Valdai, Russia