I started a OCS language learning log on the HTLAL forum, but since you aren't supposed to post photos over there, I will continue to post things related to that subject here as well. And since there has been some talk of Novgorod in my log, I thought I should post some photos from our one-day trip there last fall. If any of the names are wrong, please feel free to correct.
Novgorod is one of Russia's oldest cities, from back in the days when there wasn't even a Russia, but a Kievan Rus' consisting of princely states. Especially in Novgorod the Prince's power was quite limited; the veche (town assembly, prominent in Novgorod) and the boyar duma (council) had considerable power as well. A displeased veche could actually throw out a Prince; there was no autocracy, and because Rus' suffered from political instability this has been used as an excuse for autocracy later on। Rus' can seem quite civilized actually। There was less corporal and capital punishment, less torture and women's conditions were better. Compared to what? To the brilliant West of course ;)
The city was founded in the 10th century - perhaps the 9th according to Wikipedia, but I'm quite certain our Professor claimed it was the 10th. The problem can be that those who wrote about the city did so centuries later (notably Nestor in Kiev, which is quite far away), when Novgorod was already one of the biggest and most important cities. They may therefore have supposed that any important things that took place in their prehistory must have taken place in Novgorod. However, Novgorod is literally "the new city", and there is an even older city not all that far away: Staraja Laduga. So what may have been referred to as Novgorod in later writings can have been Staraja Laduga. Archaeology can only back up claims of the city's existence to the 10th century.
In 1951 a lot of old writings were found in Novgorod, written on birch bark. Someone provided me with a link to photos of these in my log. According to estimations, there may be more than 20,000 such writings in Novgorod, but it's hard to find out since the city is most likely standing on top of quite a lot of them.
Sources: Wikipedia and a book from our university, "Older Slavic texts" by Bjørnflaten (my professor) and Walter G. Moss' A History of Russia.
I can't remember exactly where these different churches were, but I think these ones are outside of the Kreml.
And a monastery close by.