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Staraya Russa

(4.2/5 based on 200+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: museums, historic sites, sightseeing
Staraya Russa is a town in Novgorod Oblast, Russia, located on the Polist River, 99km south of Veliky Novgorod, the administrative center of the oblast. Its population has steadily decreased over the past years, going from 41,538 recorded in the 1989 Census to 35,511 in the 2002 Census to 31,809 in the 2010 Census.EtymologyThe origin of the name of Staraya Russa is unclear. The most involved and widespread hypothesis was presented by philologists and linguists R. A. Akheyeva, V. L. Vasilyev, and M.V. Gorbanevsky. According to this hypothesis, Russa comes from Rus'—a people of Finno-Ugric and Varangian composition who settled in the vicinity to control trade routes leading from Novgorod to Polotsk and Kiev—which, in turn, originates from the hydronym "Porus River", which in ancient times was known as "Rus'".HistoryThought to have originated in the mid-10th century, it was first mentioned as Rusa in chronicles for the year 1167 as one of three main towns of the Novgorod Republic, alongside Pskov and Ladoga. After Pskov became independent, Russa became the second most important town and trade center of the Novgorod Republic after Novgorod itself. By the end of the 15th century, it contained about one thousand homesteads. Brine springs made the saltworks the principal business activity in the town, which was the biggest center of salt industry in the Novgorod region.
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