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About the locality

Lake Ilmen, located in the Novgorod Region, is Russian nature at its finest. The Ilmen Klint, a natural heritage site, is a Devonian rock formation that dates back over 700 million years.

There are many rivers and springs in the area, including the Shelon River, Mshaga River, and the Kiba River, as well as springs in the villages of Korostyn, Shcheleno and Solonitsko. Lake Kamennoye is believed to have mystical properties.

The village of Medved, Shimsky District, is home to very important and valuable historical landmark: Alexei Arakcheyev’s well-preserved barracks built in the early 19th century. It is an entire complex with solid and beautiful buildings that differ markedly from what we usually see in the modern military.

The district is also home to landmarks of federal and regional importance, including the En Route Palace (1825-1828, architect Vasily Stasov) and an estate park in Korostyn, the graves of Counts Vasilchikov in Bor, St Trinity Church in Podgoshi, the Church of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God in Korostyn, and the Church of St John and Jacob in Menyusha.

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En Route Palace in Korostyn

Korostyn, located on the road from Shimsk to Staraya Russa, is a picturesque village on Lake Ilmen. The palace was built in 1825-1828 by architect Vasily Stasov. The first floor of the palace is made of stone and the second of wood. Near the palace, there is a well-preserved barn built of cobble and bricks. There is also a park and the remains of a fruit orchard planted during the rule of Catherine the Great. Apples and cherries from the garden were served at the royal table.

The palace was abandoned for a long time until the restoration in 2019 and the establishment there of a cultural and museum centre with exhibits about the history of Korostyn, and the construction of the Assumption Church and En Route Palace.

Assumption Church

The stone Assumption Church was built in 1720 at the behest of Catherine I at the cemetery of the village of Korostyn. The famous Italian architect Gaetano Chiaveri who lived in Russia for nine years, designed the church, and his apprentice D. Yelchaninov oversaw construction.

Bricks from Veliky Novgorod were used in the construction of the church, which is an example of the Petrine Baroque style. The church’s initial appearance has been well preserved, and only the domes and the belfry were built later.

The church has three altars: the central altar, devoted to the Assumption of the Mother of God; the southern, devoted to the Transfiguration of Christ; and the northern, dedicated to the Elevation of the Holy Cross. The church was closed in the late 1930s and then reopened during the Great Patriotic War. The church has well-preserved pre-Revolution murals by Viktor Vasnetsov and Mikhail Nesterov. Among the most revered icons are the icon of Paraskeva Pyatnitsa and the Staraya Russa Icon of the Mother of God (1877 version).

German military cemetery in Korostyn

This cemetery differs from typical Russian cemeteries and seems out of place in a Novgorodian village.

During the Great Patriotic War, the western part of the Novgorod Region was occupied by the Germans. A German field camp and a hospital were set up in Korostyn between 1941 and 1944. Dead soldiers were buried on the high shore of Lake Ilmen, which is now the German military cemetery. Among the buried were soldiers and officers of the 16th Division that comprised the Totenkopf elite tank division. The cemetery is maintained by the German War Graves Commission which also maintains Russian military cemeteries in Germany.

Alexei Arakcheyev’s barracks in Medved

Located in Medved, 20 km from Shimsk. Construction of barracks for two regiments began in 1823 and took almost 10 years. The barracks have a large training yard, a riding hall with three-storey annexes on the sides and a church in the centre. Across from the riding hall, on the opposite side of the training yard, there was a guardhouse with a watchtower.

During the Great Patriotic War, Medved was occupied and all of its buildings were seriously damaged. After the liberation of the village, troops returned to the garrison. In the 1950s, Medved hosted the 72nd Engineer Brigade of the High Command Reserve, which is considered the forerunner of the USSR Missile Forces. Later on, Medved hosted other missile units of the Soviet Army. The military garrison in Medved operated until recently: the barracks are currently vacant.

Medved People’s Theatre

Dating back over 120 years, the theatre was established in May 1898 at the firehouse in the village of Medved by insurance agent Mikhail Galaktionov and teacher Alexander Kalyazinov, both of them great lovers of the theatre. In the late 19th century, Medved was a major merchant village and draw for intelligentsia from St Petersburg. There are historical records suggesting that Pyotr Tchaikovsky himself appeared in several roles there during a visit to his sister in 1861. The title of a people’s theatre was given to the facility in 1963.

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Ilmen Klint

The Ilmen Klint is a geological landmark located in the Shimsky and Starorussky districts of the Novgorod Region in the western part of the southern shore of Lake Ilmen, between the estuaries of the Lovat and Shelon rivers.

The Ilmen Klint is a high bare cliff facing the north and northeast. It is 8 km long with the highest point at 15 metres between Korostyn and Pustosh. Stretching to the east, the cliff descends down to the shore. The Psizha River and Savateika Brook cross the klint near the village of Ustreka and meet Lake Ilmen.

The Ilmen Klint is the longest exposed rock formation from the Devonian era on the Russian Plain and is a unique geological landmark."