The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Friday, February 10, 2017
Name: Irina Mordasova & Konstantin Chalabov
How long have you been doing photography? Since I was in school.
What style or genre most interests you? I love landscapes.
Can you give us a short description of your city? Where is it located? What is it famous for? Veliky Novgorod is a small city in northwest Russia, located between the two capitals of Moscow and St. Petersburg. The city was founded in 859. Later, from this very spot, the Varangian prince Rurik was summoned, setting in motion the foundation of Russian statehood and Kievan Rus. Everyone knows about the famous Novgorod People's Veche. In the Middle Ages, Veliky Novgorod was one of the main cities of the Hanseatic League and played a far from insignificant role in European trade. After the unification of Russian lands about Moscow, the two capitals began to develop, and Novgorod began to wane in significance, taking on a more provincial character. The city now has about 220,000 residents.
What are some things that only locals would know about the city?
1. When you meet someone and tell them you are from Novgorod, they always nod their head and say, "Oh, from Nizhny?" Veliky Novgorod is constantly confused with Nizhny Novgorod, which is located closer to Moscow and was previously known as Gorky. Both Novgorodtsy and Nizhegorodtsy have no patience with this error. Well, what are you going to do? With each passing year the number of people who have no understanding of even the rudiments of our history grows...
2. Near the city is Lake Ilmen (often incorrectly pronounced by foreigners, with the accent on the second syllable). It is similar to the famous Lake Baikal in that many rivers flow into it and just one flows out.
3. The city sits on the Volkhov River and is divided into two halves: Sofiyskaya and Torgovaya. Locals call them "that" and "this" («та» и «эта») "Where are you?" "I am on that side." This means the speaker is on the Torgovaya side (та), which is the smaller of the two halves of the city.
4. Among the cities innumerable historical monuments is "The Bra." This is the name that locals gave to the iron and cement art construction "The Sail," located in the kremlin park.
Which places or sites are a must for someone to see if they visit your city? The city has more than 20 monuments that are on the UNESCO list. Among them are Russia's oldest church, Sofia Cathedral, which was build in 1045-50. The main focal point for monuments is the fourteenth century stone kremlin, inside which is located the "Thousand Years of Russia" monument, Yaroslav Palace and its dozen churches – where the ancient Hanseatic League trading took place.
Near the city is a working monastery: Yuriev Monastery, which is also near the museum of wooden architecture, Vitoslavlitsa, housing things built without a single nail. And on the other side of the river Volkhov is Rurik's Settlement, with the ruins of an ancient church. According to legend, it was here that Rurik established his first settlement.
Anything else?: I truly love my city. I would love it if more tourists saw it. Our city is very beautiful and truly radiates history.
Konstantin Chalabov / @chalabov
Konstantin Chalabov / @chalabov
Director and artistic director of the Maly Theater, Veliki Novgorod
Patriotism is a very personal feeling, just like religion. I don’t want to rank myself among the patrios that yell from every television, in all the mass media, that this is some kind of requirement. Yet recently I have been asking myself this question quite often. It has simply slashed me, because I pose this question to myself and answer that “yes, of course, I am a patriot and reside in that sphere of culture that is my motherland, and a reside among a sphere of people that truly comprises for me my small motherland.” From these small things the whole of everything is created. And my understanding of “motherland,” I repeat, is for me mainly tied to the people and and our culture. Therefore, yes. And in this regard, if I were answering a question about religion, I would also answer unequivocally. Unequivocal in the sense not becasue I don’t belive in God, but because this too is a very personal question. And nevertheless, I answer it, “Yes, of course.” But I don’t want to rank myself among patriots who yell about Russian lands. I want to rank myself among patriots who speak of Russian culture. First and foremost, this is people, our asset, human and rich. Оf course it is our people.
Historian and deputy director of the Kremlin Museum, Veliky Novgorod
This is a very difficult question. Because of “Country or Death,” as Fidel Castro said, when he conquered Cuba. To be a patriot does not mean to hate other nations, other peoples. To be a patriot means to love one’s own. I love my country a great deal. I am by birth half Belarusan and half Russian and have many relatives in Ukraine. And I cannot say that I am a patriot of the Russian Federation of today. I love people in general. That is what a patriot is, in my opinion.
Who is Russia's greatest hero? According to Russians, it's Alexander Nevsky, a military commander and ruler from the thirteenth century. And what did Alexander do that made him worthy of that honor? He took part in Russians' favorite historical activity: repelling German invaders.