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St. George cathedral was biult in 1164 in the memory of the victory over the Swedes and in honour of the heavenly patron of the city.

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Staraya (English: Old) Ladoga is situated in the Volkhov region of the Leningrad oblast at a distance of 128 kilometres from St.-Petersburg. It stretches out on the left bank of the Volkhov River from the north to the south for about three kilometers.

The town Staraya Ladoga was well known already in the 9th and 10th centuries. Today Staraya Ladoga is only a village. Its status was changed about 300 years ago, in 1704 when Peter I issued the decree to found the town of Novaya (New) Ladoga nearby and Staraya Ladoga that had lost its significance by that time became a village. However, the famous past of Staraya Ladoga has not been forgotten. The thousand-year history of Russia proclaims itself in the numerous architectural and archaeological monuments. It could be called the cradle of the Russian State. Trade rules of different peoples — Scandinavians, Slavs and Arabs — started to be formed in this unique place.

Ladoga was founded by the Slavs in the middle of the 8th century. There was a stone and earth fortress on the territory of today’s Staraya Ladoga in 753. By the end of the 9th century it became one of the major international centres of trade and craft in the Russian state. An important trade way passed through this town. It went along the lake Ladoga and the rivers Volga and Dnepr from Northern Europe to Byzantium and the Middle East countries.

Archaeologists find numerous material evidences of active trade life in Staraya Ladoga — Scandinavian clasps and pin, Mediterranean and local beads, Baltic amber, Finnish utensils, Arabian coins, glass products from the Caucasus and Central Asia, Slavic head ornaments.

In the 9th century Ladoga was a big town with the population of about one thousand people. But even in the 8th century it had dense population- potters, smiths, tanners, merchants, soldiers lived there. Existing archaeological data proves that the town was built according to a unified plan. It means that there were rules of the land usage, and an administration responsible for the territory subdivision.

The Ladoga promontory became the centre of the old town. On that territory one can find traces of three ancient fortresses. After the first earth and stone fortress the second stone one was built in Ladoga and its suburb Liubsha in the 8th century and at the beginning of the 9th century. It can be considered the most ancient stone structure of the first centuries of Russian history. The fortress was destroyed by the Norwegian military leader Eric in 997. The third fortress was erected by the Novgorod prince Mstislav the Great (Mstislav Velikiy) in 1114 with the purpose to defend the northern boundaries of the country. It was a formidable military construction. In 1164 the Ladoga fortress successfully withstood a siege of a Swedish army of two thousand soldiers. In the same year inhabitants of the Ladoga fortress built the St. George cathedral in the memory of the victory over the Swedes and in honor of the heavenly patron of the city. Its interior is decorated with the fresco «St. George Slaying the Dragon». The experts assert that if there would have been nothing else in Staraya Ladoga but this cathedral it nevertheless could be considered as a unique architectural monument of national and international importance.

Old Ladoga

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Additional Photos by Oleg Kuznetsov (osub) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 28 W: 0 N: 264] (1663)
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