an ancient Russian city on the left bank of the Volkhov River, 12 km from Lake Ladoga (present-day Staraia Ladoga—a village in Volkhov Raion, Leningrad Oblast), often mentioned in Russian chronicles and Scandinavian sagas.
Before the tenth century Staraia Ladoga was an important point on the trade route from the Baltic Sea to the Volga River (to the Bulgars) and to the Dnieper River (”from the Varangians to the Greeks”). Between the 11th and 15th centuries it was a fortress and commercial and handicrafts center of the Novgorod Feudal Republic; from 1478, of the Great Moscow Principality. After Arkhangel’sk became the northern port of the Moscow state, Staraia Ladoga’s economic importance declined. Its military significance continued until the 17th century. In 1703 the city was moved by Peter I to the mouth of the Volkhov River (now Novaia Ladoga); the archaeological site of Staraia Ladoga is still preserved.
Staraia Ladoga’s most ancient part—the stone city—was enclosed by a stone wall with five towers in the early 12th century (reconstructed in the 15th and 16th centuries). Another area—the earthen site—was surrounded by earthen banks at the beginning of the 18th century. Still preserved in the stone city is the 12th-century Church of St. George, which has a single dome, four columns, and three apses. The church, which was later reconstructed, has fragments of frescoes of the 12th-century Novgorod school. The most ancient layers in this part of the site are not preserved. On the earthen site remains of wooden structures from as early as the eighth century have been excavated. There are also ruins of the stone Church of St. Climent (the middle of the 12th century) and traces of the blacksmithing, the carving of bone, jewelry-making, pottery-making, and other crafts, as well as their various products. Coins and various objects of Oriental and Western European origin have also been found. The 12th-century Uspenie Church in Bogoroditskii Ko-nets has been preserved in Staraia Ladoga. In the 1960’s, restoration was carried out in the fortress, the most ancient monument of Russian military architecture.
Excavations have been conducted on the Staraia Ladoga site intermittently since the 1880’s. The finds are housed at the Leningrad Hermitage. The site is an archaeological open-air museum.
REFERENCESStaraia Ladoga. [Materialy arkheologicheskikh ekspeditsii.] Leningrad, 1948.
Orlov, S. N. Staraia Ladoga. Leningrad, 1949.
Ravdonikas, V. I. “Staraia Ladoga.” In the collection Sovetskaia Ar-
kheologiia, vols. 11–12. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949–50. Lazarev, V. N. Freski Staroi Ladogi. Moscow, 1960.
P. N. TRET’IAKOV
a village in Volkhov Raion, Leningrad Oblast; located on the site of the Old Russian city of Ladoga.