Velikiy Novgorod — one of the most ancient cities of Russia located in its North-West — emerged as a political center of Slavic and Fino-Ugric tribes in the mid-9th century, while as a town it was formed in the middle of the 10th century. The history of Novgorod is closely linked with all major stages in the life of Russian state. In the times, when the statehood of Rus was just in the making, the Novgorodians invited Scandinavian prince Rurik to keep law and order, thus giving birth to the prince Rurik dynasty that ruled over all Russian lands throughout more than 750 years. In the early 10th century, war campaigns of the Novgorodians against Constantinopol to secure equal trade with Bizantine resulted in the integration of East Slavic tribes into the ancient Kievan Russian state. The adoption of Christianity at the close of the tenth century turned Novgorod into a powerful ecclesiastical center.
Throughout many centuries, Novgorod was a political center of vast territories stretching up from Baltic lands and Finland in the West to northern Urals in the East. It was also one of the greatest international trade centers on the Baltic-Volga commercial route that tied northern Europe with Asia as early as in the mid — 8th century.