Sighs of Valday
Valday is a small ‘Switzerland’ located between St. Petersburg and Moscow on the bank of Valday Lake 140 km to the south-east from Velikiy Novgorod.
The Valday Upland is a strikingly beautiful place which is a reserve and elite recreation location.
Strong ship pines, dark-green fur-trees, exquisite birches and trembling ashes on the hills of Valday form landscapes of unusual beauty which is completed by numerous streams and crystal clear lakes. This is the Valday National Reserve. 86% of the reserve is woods. 60 species of trees and 600 species of grassy plants. 11043 acres are allocated to the rarest plants. 32 species of disappearing plants have been found in the reserve. 20 of them are in the Red Book.
There are more than 20 species of animals, 140 species of birds in Valday forests. 6 species of animals are in the Red Book: dappled deer, roe, white eagle, black stork, osprey.
The reserve is a fisherman’s dream as it has 70 rivers and 20 streams. Pike, bream, white-fish, pike perch, cat-fish, whitebait and even eel can be found in the waters.
The Valday land attracts with its beauty and mysterious novelty. Sites of prehistoric humans dating back 9 or 8 millennia ago have been discovered here. Names of N.Mikluho-Maklay, A.S.Pushkin, N.K.Rerikh, I.I.Levitan, V.V.Bianki and many other famous people are associated with this land.
A vacation at Valday is fresh air, pine woods, clear lakes and silence…
Uyezd Town MuseumThe museum was set up in 1998 in a two-storey mansion built in the 19th century. The building used to be property of a Valday noblewoman named K.O.Mihaylova. At the beginning of the 20th century the building was rented to different public services. It was the office of Noble Wardship, then of the Head of the Uyezd Nobility, Uyezd Congress of Justices of the Peace, Society of Care of Students and Teachers of the Valday Uyezd, Society of Care of Inmates, Military Presence, etc.
This museum is a kind of Valday’s family album. Special attention is paid to specific people who lived in this town and made its history. The value of each person is a feature of the Russian provincial life. That is why there are so many portraits in the museum, of single people, couples, groups that used to hang on the walls of Valdays homes. Domestic things, home knick-knackery, letters, postcards are also there…
Some memorabilia of common Valday families are also on exhibition in the museum. Among them are things that used to belong to the families of Rots, Bogdanova, Nikolskiy, Rorbek, Bystrova and complex materials of famous summer residents Solovyov, Menshikov, Nilus, Rerih, Kosagovskiy, the Panayevs, the Dyagelevs, the Frolovskiys…
All museum clocks show time that stopped in the Past where there is no hassle and hurry. Everyone who enters the museum gets to the past, uyezd Valday, in traditional Russia which is a province.
Bell MuseumThe Bell Museum exposition was opened in June 1995 and is situated in the architecture monument of the 18th century, St. Martyr Catherine Traveling Court Church built by the project of N.A.Lvov for Empress Catherine the 2nd (2A Truda Street). The imposing collection of the museum will tell in detail about the Russian bell history as well as some other European countries… By the way, a feature of the Valday Bell Museum is that you can not just look at but listen to all the exhibits. The bells places on three belfries allow to hear the chime, to see the museum wards ring them. Even the visitors can try their hand at ringing the bells.
Valday Orthodox Temples and Cloisters
Church of Blessed Virgin Presentation into God’s Temple (1762)The building is on the list of the government protected monuments. There are no repairs carried out yet. It is still required to establish the degree of destruction of main elements of the roof, walls, windows, decorations, etc. Actions aimed at determinging the condition of the monument are on the way.
Holy Trinity Cathedral (18th century)The Trinity Cathedral was built in 1744.
In the 1940s and 1950s some parts of the temple and the upper layer of the belfry were removed. In the 1950s the building was partitioned to be used as a House of Culture.
The cathedral is valuable as an architecture monument as it is one of the key elements that form the ensemble of Cathedral Square of the 18th and 19th centuries. It has some interesting features such as the open gallery at the level of the second light chetverik, the vault of the southern ground floor (a row of cross-shaped vaults supported by columns in the center). The architecture style, composition and decor of the cathedral are of developed barocco.
Graveyard Temple Complex. Apostle Peter and Paul Church (19th century)The stone church of Peter and Paul was built in 1853. It has remained intact except for the upper layer of the belfry. No restoration was carried out. The monument is interesting due to its proportions and the character of the decor (a bit small) gravitating toward classicism.
Chapel of Iverskiy Cloister (19th century)The building is on the list of the monuments protected by the government. No restoration is carried out. It is still required to establish the degree of destruction of main elements of the roof, walls, windows, decorations, etc. Actions aimed at determinging the condition of the monument are on the way.
Catherine the Martyr Church by Lvov (1793)The Catherine Church was built in 1793. The monument has never been rebuilt. There were just two or three repairs in the 19th century which did not change the original layout and outlook of the temple.
The monument is a great sample of a rotunda temple in the classic form. It features a harmonic shape, slim proportions, exquisite details. It is undoubtedly one of the most interesting temples of this kind. There are no other monuments like that in the Novgorod region. So it is quite valuable.
Valday Iverskiy Svyatoozerskiy Bogoroditskiy MonasteryValday Iverskiy Svyatoozerskiy Bogoroditskiy Monastery is situated in the Novgorod region and occupies an entire island of picturesque Valday lake renamed after the creation of the monastery in 1654 as Svyatoye.
The monastery was set up in the 17th century by Patriarch Nikon after the Iverskiy Cloister at Afon and meant to stress the taking over by Russia after Byzantium spiritual culture. The monastery was the biggest and most famous cloister of the time and came to be the center of spiritual education, one of the few book-printing centers of Russia, a place where trades were born and developed.
Now monastic life is being brought back to the cloister. Every day the wonderful Valday chime resounds over the snow-white ‘ship’ with the silver onion cupolas of the churches surrounded by the lake inviting pilgrims to pray to God and worship the relics of the cloister.
Valday Region Nature
Valday National ReserveSet up in 1990 (Decree 157 of the Russian Federation Council of Ministers of 17.05.1990). Belongs to the Federal Forestry Department of Russia.
Address: 2 Pobedy Street, Valday, Novgorod Region, 175400 Russia.
Phone number: +7 81666 21809.
In December 1994 the reserve was admitted to the Natural European Reserve Federation. It was set up with the purpose of preserving the unique lake and forest complex of the Valday Height and arranging recreational activities in the area. It is situated at the following districts of the Novgorod Region: Okulovskiy (12% of the space), Valdayskiy (62%) and Demyanskiy (26%). At the same time, 36.3% of the Valday District territory is occupied by the reserve, 6.9% of the Okulovskiy district and 13.7% of the Demyanskiy district. There are 151 settlements on the territory of the reserve including the town of Valday inhabited by the total of about 36,000 people. The Moscow-St. Petersburg interstate crosses the territory of the reserve from the east to the west as well as railways that connect Moscow and St. Petersburg. 336,560 acres (85.9%) of the reserve are forests, non-forest territories occupy 55,100 acres (14.1%) including 35,830 acres of water (9.2%), 11,370 acres of swamps (2.9%), 3,700 acres of meadows (0.8%) and 3,000 acres of roads (0.8%). The territory of the reserve is divided into 13 forestries and 162 rounds. The reserve is situated at the northern part of the Valday Height, it stretches 105 km from the north to the south and 45 km from the west to the east. The boundaries of the reserve roughly correspond to the basins of lakes Borovno, Valday, Velye, Seliger and upper reaches of the Polomet river. Historically, the shape of the reserve repeats that of the 18th century Valday Uyezd and the Deverevskaya pyatina of the Novgorod Republic. The Valday reserve within the Novgorod region is valuable due to its unique system of lakes and rivers that together with forests and marshes has no equals when it comes to the esthetic and recreational potential within Russia.
Vacationing at ValdayIt is good to have a vacation at lake Seliger at any season. In summer it is a warm lake, sunny forest full of mushrooms and berries, opportunities to camp in tents. Winter welcomes ski fans. The forest is enshrouded in a blanket of sparkling snow, the lake is covered by a thick layer of ice. Everything is strikingly white, there is no dirt or mud.
The high season is in July. Many holiday-makers have the New Year and Christmas Party at Seliger. Fishing, hunting, tours around local sights, parachuting are offered for fun as well as various waters sports such as windsurfing, water scooters, yachts, boats, diving.
Only ten years ago the tourist infrastructure of the upper reaches of the Volga was on the decline. However, times have changed. New holiday centers appear at the most picturesque sites along the bank of the lake. Those are not big hotels as before. Now it is small cozy homes for family vacationing.
Hunting and fishing at Seliger does stand out. A lot of game can be hunted around the lake including forest and water fowl and other game. Elks, boars, hares, foxes, lynx; wood and black grouses, woodcocks, duck and other animals abound. Fishing at Seliger is always fruitful. Both in summer and winter a good fisherman can catch fish. Seliger and other lakes around have zander, pike, perch, eel, roach, bream, rudd and many other fish.
Do you hava any information on Lake Dvineca in the Valdai Hills? I believe the Daugava River ends there. Also, was the area also settled by Vikings and is there any evidence of this? Thank you!