Valday’s location is on the majestic Valday Lakeshore (Novgorod region, between Moscow and St. Petersburg), thanks to which it got its name. Beautiful and picturesque forests surround it. Valday was a palace village until 1654, then it was given to the Iversky monastery in 1764, and it received it’s town status in 1770.
Various crafts developed rapidly due to its location on the post road. The Valday craftsmen cast bells, which later glorified this town throughout the country.
51 villages and more than 100 homesteads could be counted in Valdaysky uyezd (district) in 1887. The Valday uyezd was several times larger at that time than the modern Valdaysky district since the district included the Okulovsky and Bologovsky districts.
The largest part of the population was Russian at the beginning of the 19th century, but Karelian settlements were also found.
The Valdaysky district was the largest by total area – 2058 square km, which was 12% of the region’s entire territory.
The main attractions of Valday town are two museums – the Jingle Bells Museum and the Uezdny Town Museum.
The first is located in the traveling palace church of the XVIII century in the name of the Great Martyr St. Catherine, on Trud Street.
On a legend, the beginning of bell and foundry craft in Valday belongs by the time of the accession of Novgorod to Moscow. When the “Mister of Veliky Novgorod” Assembly bell was carried to the capital, it fell at Valday from a cart, rolled down from a steep slope and was scattered on a set of small jingle bells. There are jingle bells of all types in Jingle Bells Museum: the XVI century BC Ancient Chinese and the XVI century AD Russian bell, the XII century Italian campan and the XX century ship watch bell, Buddhist wind, and Valday stagecoach jingle bell …
And the Uezdny Town Museum located in the two-story mansion of the 19th century in the downtown represents something like a Valday family album. There are a lot of portraits, knickknacks, letters, postcards, and other memorial things belonging to once Valday families.
The Trinity Cathedral constructed near the lake in 1744 deserves unconditional attention also. The building painted in a gentle-pink color is in a magnificent state. There is a modern replica of the real Russian stove standing on the street near the cathedral. It is the work of the Valday resident Pavel Larkin.
But, the main Valday treasure is, of course, the Valday Iversky Svyatoozersky Bogoroditsky monastery founded by the Novgorod metropolitan Nikon in 1653.
It is behind town boundaries, 10 kilometers from it, in a coniferous forests’ environment. One can reach it in the easiest way by car, having done a short path by the twisting road between trees. The monastery can also be reached by cutter or boat at the season. There is something fabulous in this place.
The town’s industry is represented by 5 agricultural enterprises, a forest sales plant, a pump production plant, food production, etc.
One can say that Valday takes first place in the number of parks, squares, and gardens today. The town education and health care system is developed also.
Valday town is a fairly popular tourist center now, this is facilitated by a developed transport system, a great variety of attractions and of course the NATURE OF THESE PLACES.
Valday city museum
This museum’s location is Valday town, Novgorod Region, on Lunacharsky Street in a two-story mansion of the 19th century.
The museum was opened in 1998 and is located in the very center of Valday. The building belonged to the Valday noblewoman K.O Mikhailova. The house was rented to various social structures for public needs at the beginning of the twentieth century. Here were the Nobility Guardianship and the Uezd Nobility Leader office, the Uezd Magistrate Congress, the Valday Uezd Society for the Students and Teachers Care, the Society for the Prisoner Care, Military Office, etc..
In the 1990s, the Valday Museum collection was replenished significantly with historical and household family exhibits. As a result, in 1998 this allowed the new collection formation and the Uezdny Town Museum opening in Valday, which, through household items, family albums, home knick knackery, letters, postcards, etc. shows the Russian province life.
The permanent exhibition presents items from ordinary Valday families P. Rots, M. Bogdanova, M. Nikolsky, R. Rohrbek, V. Bystrova today, as well as things and household items of the famous Valday summer residents Nikolai Roerich, V. Solovyov, M. Menshikov, Diaghilev family, etc. The museum hosts thematic exhibitions regularly.
The building in which the museum is located is itself historical. It belonged to the noblewoman K.O. Mikhailova initially. It housed various public organizations subsequently. Valday’s social life was concentrated in the walls of this building for a long time, therefore it was decided to organize the Uezdny Town Museum here in 1998.
This museum is Valday’s peculiar family album. The very special significance is given in it to specific people who lived in this town and created its history. Each person’s inherent worth is a Russian provincial life unique feature. That is why the museum has many portraits – single, doubles, groups, which once filled the Valday houses interiors. There are household items, home knick knackery, letters, postcards, etc. here.
Time stopped in the past at all museum watches, where there is no fuss and haste. Every person entering the museum finds himself of herself in a special world of Russian provincial life — typical of the whole of Russia and special, characteristic of Valday only, the person appears in that old time, there in that traditional Russia, which is the province.
Time took and saved all the most important, dear, cordial, carefully kept in memory of loved ones.
Ordering tours by phone:
(881666) 2−61−71; 2−04−97; 2−03−78.
Address: Narodnaya and Lunacharsky streets corner, Valday city
Valday museum of the bells
The Valday Bells Museum was opened in June 1995 in the building of the monument of the republican significance of the Lvov Rotunda (it is also the church of Catherine).
The Bells Museum, founded in 1980, was the first museum of its kind in Russia thanks to the Valday Jingle Bell exposition held at the Valday Museum of Local Lore.
Where and when did the bells come from, how are they born and how long do they serve? The desire to know this and much more about bells encourages people to come to the bell museum.
Bells have accompanied the people living with their ringing for many centuries. They measured the course of days, proclaiming the time of general prayer, work and rest, sorrow and joy. They warned of imminent natural disasters and the enemy approach, they met national heroes and dear guests with the solemn ringing.
The museum exposition widely presents material on the history of both the bells themselves and bell casting technologies in Russia and other countries. It also talks about the various techniques of bell-ringer craft.
When you see the 16th century BC ancient Chinese bell and the XVI century Russian bell, the XII century Italian campan and the XX century ship watch bell, the XVII century Buddhist wind and the beginning of the XIX century Valday stagecoach jingle bell nearby, you involuntarily understand that for many millennia the bells were the few but stably necessary things that connected people of different countries, beliefs, and cultures.
Special attention is paid to the Valday jingle bell history. Visitors have the opportunity to try some of the bells ringing in addition to the exposition viewing.
Residence of the President of Russia
Very close to the town on the coast of Lake Valdayskoye there is a residence of the President of Russia. The complex of buildings is highly secured and a large sector of the lake is closed for boats and swimmers. This place was frequented by President Boris Yeltsin and is also Vladimir Putin’s favorite.
How to get to Valday?
a) Train No. 98 Moscow – Pskov (departure at 15.35 from the Leningradsky station), arrival Valday at 21.45 (the train runs only on certain dates);
b) Train No. 10 Moscow – Pskov (departure at 18.30 from the Leningrad station), arrival Valday at 01.10;
c) Any passing train to the city of Bologoe (80 km to Valdai), or to the village of Uglovka (40 km to Valdai), then a taxi 1000-1200 rubles to Valday;
d) Bus Moscow – Veliky Novgorod No. 929 (departure at 13.30 from the bus station Leningradsky Prospekt, 37, metro Dynamo), arrival Valday at 20.50;
From St. Petersburg:
a) Bus St. Petersburg – Valdai (departure at 07.00, 08.25, 15.30 and 17.20 from the bus station on the Embankment of the Obvodny Canal), travel time 6-7 hours;
b) Bus St. Petersburg – Moscow (departure at 23.00 from the bus station on the Embankment of the Obvodny Canal);
c) Any passing train to the city of Bologoe.
Coordinates: 57°58′N 33°15′E
Population: 16 100
Time: Central European UTC +3