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Staraya Ladoga (Старая Ладога)

Image of Staraya Ladoga



Location: 8 km (5 mi) North of Volkhov, Leningrad oblast   Map

Constructed: 753

Alternative names: Norse- Aldeigjuborg, Finnish- Vanha Laatokka







Hotels, motels and where to sleep

Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

Cultural (and not so cultural) events

Interesting information and useful tips


Description of Staraya Ladoga

Staraya Ladoga is located 8 km (5 mi) North of Volkhov in Leningrad Oblast in Russia. The castle was found in 753. This multiethnic settlement was a major trading post between North Europe with the Caspian basin via Volga river and Byzantium. The latter route became known as Track Route from the Varangians to the Greeks. It is not surprising that coins from different regions were found including oldest Arab coin in Europe.


History of Staraya Ladoga

According to the Hypatian Codex a semi- legendary Varangians (Viking) leader Rurik came here after representatives of the Slavic tribes asked him to rule over them and end internal warfare. He established his seat here gradually taking over over small principalities and forming a state that came to be known as Rus'. For this reason it is occasionally called the First Russian Capital. It is also widely believed to be the origin for the word "russian" came to be. The tribe that Rurik belong to were called "rus" and that became the name for all of its peoples. Several kurgans or burial mounds are that of Rurik and his son Oleg, a victim of a poisonous snake bite.


In the late 10th century relationship between the Rus and Vikings significantly worsened and Ladoga was raided and burned by a war party. Ladoga declined in its military and trading importance. Several churches including St. Clement, St. George and Mary's Assumption were constructed here in the 12th century. The Novaya Ladoga was built in 1703 as a foothold fortress against Swedish threat during the Great North War.





Travel Destinations in Staraya Ladoga

Staraya Ladoga Museum-reserve (Музей-заповедник «Старая Ладога»), Волховский пр., 19., ☎ +7 81363 49070, fax: +7 (81363) 13524, e-mail: 10:00—17:00.
Kremlin (Староладожская крепость). 10:00-18:00 (tickets offered until 17:00).
Church of St George (Церковь Святого Георгия).
Church of Dmitry Solunsky (Церковь Дмитрия Солунского).
Convent of the Assumption (Успенский женский монастырь).
Church of the Assumption (Церковь Успения Богородицы). eit
Nikolsky Monastery (Никольский мужской монастырь).
Uspenskoye Estate (Усадьба «Успенское»).
Church of the Nativity of John the Baptist (Церковь Рождества Иоанна Предтечи)






Get in
By train
The closest station is in Volkhov (Volkhovstroy-1). From Saint Petersburg, you can get there by train, express train or by elektrichka (suburban train) from Ladogsky Station. Some elektrichkas (not express ones) also start for Volkhovstroy from Moskovsky station.

Sitting or obshchiy seats in passazhirskiy train class will be best by price/comfort combination, however you may not have such luck, because there just may not be trains with such seats. As of 2011, there were no trains with sitting/obshchiy seats to Volkhov at all. Platzkart seats, while comfortable, are above 400 rubles in passazhirskiy trains and above 600 rubles in firmenniy trains while suburban train will cost you only 200 rubles. Be aware however of possible discounts for some trains when kupe may be cheaper than platzkart, even on firmenniy trains. Both Ladogsky station and Volkhovstroy-1 station have computer terminals with extensive information on timetables, available seats and prices, however probably in Russian only. Volkovstroy-1 station have two different terminals for long distance and suburban trains, each in the corresponding booking office hall. Consult timetable online as well. Trains reach Volkhovstroy-1 in 2 hours.

Timetable is also tricky: there's only 5 daily trains, the only morning train being firmenniy "Arktika" Moskva - Murmansk train (one of cosiest econom-class firmenniy trains in Russia), start 08:59, arrive 11:18. Other trains are either summer, or run on days only. In general, train is more convenient, if you plan to stay overnight in Volkhov or Staraya Ladoga.

Trip by elektrichka will take about 2.5 hours. Express trains are a bit confusing: they are simple elektrichkas, reaching Volkhovstroy-1 making no (Sankt-Peterburg - Babaevo, start 14:33, arrive 16:49, Fridays and Sundays only) or 1 stop (Sankt-Peterburg - Svir', start 18:42, arrive 20:42, daily, not marked as express). There's same somewhat unsightly plastic seats as in other suburban trains in Sankt-Peterburg region. However, express trains are good variant, if you want to take a look at the Volkhov GES - first GES of the GOELRO plan - from the train bridge across Volkhov river. Just took the trains off on Volkhovstroy-2 station (next after Volkhovstroy-1), and look right when crossing the river.

You can also reach Volkhovstroy-1 station directly from Moscow by either "Arktika" or "Kareliya" Moskva-Petrozavodsk (also cosy econom-class firmenniy train), and unlike Moscow - Sankt-Petersburg overnights, you may even get a nice sleep. "Kareliya", however, arrives to Volkhov early at 4:49AM, you may find #23 bus soon after and enjoy dawn over calmly moving Volkhov river in Staraya Ladoga before the services will start to work.

A couple of trains from Murmansk to Moscow or other destinations may also stop on Volhovstroy-2 station, though mainly summer (and rather than or) on days and usually at night.

By bus
From the Volkhovstroy-1 station in Volkhov, catch the bus #23, marshrutka (actually also bus, but with fixed price for the ride) #K-23, or bus #23A, which will get you there in about 50 minutes, costing about 25 rubles (2009). The bus tends to be well synced with the arrival times of the elektrichka from Saint Petersburg (you can find synced buses in the timetable site, referenced below). It's not terribly easy to tell when you have arrived in Staraya Ladoga if you haven't been there before, so it's best to ask a local to tell you when you have arrived: не подскажете мне, пожалуйста, когда мы доедем до Старой Ладоги (nyeh pod-SKAH-zhe-tyeh mnyeh, puh-ZHAHL-uh-stuh, kahg-DAH myh dо-ye-DEM dah STAH-ruy LAH-duh-gee). You can also look in window for Staraya Ladoga kremlin on the right side, on the way from Volkhov, it will be in the middle of the village, the right stop will be right after it.


From the Volkhovstroy-2 station you'll have to walk from the station and cross the Volkhov river to catch on the #23 bus, as it doesn't cross the river. You can catch it on either "Il'inskiy park" stop (right beside the park after the bridge, 20 min on foot, the stop is on the further side of road from side-shows), or "Raiispolkom" (if you go by local #2 bus, first stop after the bridge, the stop to Staraya Ladoga will be on the other side of the street). You'd better find the time-table for the bus before trying this route though, because the schedule is sparse with intervals up to 2 hours, especially late in the evening, and may be not available on the stops. You might also want to hitch ride on the bus with a hand, especially if you see the bus or even better marshrutka outside the stop. Alternatively just take #2 bus to Volkhovstroy-1 station where schedule is available (you may also take any seldom other is this direction, however be aware, that bus #3 from Volkhovstroy-2 takes a side root up the Volkhov river, passing the GES, which is sightly, and #5 takes side root to Murmanskie Vorota, which is not sightly and a bit long). Or ask locals when will be the bus: Когда пойдёт 23-й автобус в Старую Ладогу? (kagh-DAH poi-DYOT dvad-tsat-TRE-tiy av-TO-bus v STAH-ru-yu LAH-duh-gu?)

You may try to go by bus from Sankt-Peterburg, though it may not be as convinient. There are no direct buses to Staraya Ladoga; though some schemes may be confusing, #877 bus to Boksitogorsk does not pass the village, but go along right side of the Volkhov river via Babino. Some buses reach Volkhov, but even there are more of them to the stop "Yushkovo", which is on the cross of M18 and A115, which is passed by #23 bus as well. The trip is slightly more than 2 hours to Yushkovo, the bus may be crowdy and the road a bit bumpy after crossing Neva. It's tricky to find where the #23 bus stop in Yushkovo in the direction to Staraya Ladoga is, the stop is usually inside the ring around the "Turist" kafe, closer to river, and might be right the same, where you get out from the bus from Sankt-Peterburg, but it might change. Look for signs - they may be present, or ask locals Где останавливается 23й автобус в Старую Ладогу (Hdeh ohs-tah-NAV-lee-vah-yeh-tsya dvad-tsat-TRE-tiy av-TO-bus v STAH-ru-yu LAH-duh-guh?)

There used to be #800 bus Velikiy Novgorod - Petrozavodsk, which passed Staraya Ladoga, but it has been cancelled. Last timetable was once a week, on Sundays from Novgorod and on Saturdays from Petrozavodsk. The trip was about 6 hours from Novgorod and about 7 hours from Petrozavodsk, arriving to Staraya Ladoga somewhen around 16:00-17:00.

Semiupdated bus timetable can be found here. It contains local and even town Volkhov buses, however last update was about summer 2010. However is doesn't contain timetables for Staraya Ladoga and Yushkovo stops, so, for timetable of #23 buses traveling to Volhov, look in Novaya Ladoga (New Ladoga) section, add approximately 10-15 min for Yushkovo and about 25 min for Staraya Ladoga.

By car
Staraya Ladoga is on the A-115 between Volkhov and Novaya Ladoga, which intersects with the M-18 from Saint Petersburg (120 km), 7 km north of the village. Coming from Novgorod/Moscow, take the M-10 until turning right on the A-115. From Vologda, take the A-114 to the M-18 towards Saint Petersburg, eventually making a left on A-115.

By thumb
A115 is good for hitch-hiking, with transit traffic from M10 to M18 to the north, though relatively empty at night. Try hitching buses off duty - may be a good choice.

From Volkhov a good lighted position is right under the new automobile bridge. From Yushkovo a position is good in daylight, but somewhat limited in light at night.

Get around
Staraya Ladoga is a small village and is easily covered on foot via leisurely stroll. Locals often opt for bicycles, but there are no rentals available.

Bus #23 actually makes three stops in the village. First from Volkhov is not far from Nikolsky Monastery, second, after Kremlin, in the small central square, the third right near Church of the Nativity of John the Baptist (and greatest sight of Volkhov river).


Hotels, motels and where to sleep

While it is certainly possible to day trip from Saint Petersburg, there are a couple options for lodging in Rurik's capital. Volkhov to the south also has a good number of hotels.

Lad'ya Hotel (Гостиница «Ладья»), ул. Советская, 6, ☎ +7 81363 49555.
Staraya Ladoga Hotel (Старая Ладога), ул. Советская, 3, ☎ +7 81363 49529. Private rooms, shared bathrooms.


Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

Lad'ya Cafe (Кафе «Ладья»), ул. Советская, 6.
Prince Rurik Cafe (Кафе «Князь Рюрик»), Волховский пр., ☎ +7 81363 49023. Su-Th 10:00—23:00, F Sa 10:00-01:00. A large cafe with a good selection of food. Geared to tourists, it suffers from lackluster service and high prices (by rural Russian standards). 200-300 rubles.

The above mentioned Prince Rurik Cafe is a good bet for booze.


Cultural (and not so cultural) events



Interesting information and useful tips





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