Site Overview

The residence of rulers until the mid-16th century

Gorodische is a fort and settlement extending over four heactares. It lies on a small peninsula, 2km upstream from Novgorod.

Viking Arrival

The first Viking arrivals were greeted by a small settlement which, according to the sagas, they called Hólmgård (the settlement on the islands). By the 9th and 10th centuries it was a defended market centre, occupied by both Slavs and Scandinavians and exported its craft goods widely.

Outstanding Amulets

Two of the outstanding finds from the excavations and finds from the town are amulets with runic inscriptions, both early and later runes were mixed on one side, but complex early runes were on the other. That inscription was copied onto the second amulet at the end of the 10th century. Most of the material from the excavations at Gorodische is on display in the museum in Novgorod.

'Varangian Summoning'

According to one version of the 'Varangian Summoning' legend, Rurik moved from Ladoga to Gorodische. Even when settlement moved to Novgorod around 930, Gorodische continued as a military and administrative centre and the ruling princes of Novgorod also continued to live in Gorodische, at Rurik’s Hill Fort.

Rurik's Hill Fort

The site known as Rurik's Hill Fort comprises a cathedral on a hill: the Cathedral of the Annunciation, erected by Prince Mstislav the Great in 1103, is situated in the centre of the Hill Fort. This was rebuilt in the 14th century.

The Hill Fort was the residence of the rulers of Novgorod area until the age of Ivan the Terrible (mid-16th century).

The Annunciation Cathedral and the St George Monastery provided a scenic getaway for past rulers.

Despite the name, so far no remains of a possible palace which could have belonged to Rurik have been located.

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