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Some history of Veliky Novgorod:
Veliky Novgorod is one of the oldest cities in Russia, located in its North-West at the source of the Volkhov river and lake Ilmen. The original population of the Novgorod land was the Finno-Ugric tribes, who left their memory in the names of numerous rivers and lakes. In the VI century, a few tribes of Slavs-Krivichi came to the Novgorod land, and in the VIII century, in the process of Slavic settlement of the East European plain, a tribe of Slovenes came here. The economic life and political interaction of the tribes turned out to be connected with the powerful international Baltic-Volga trade route that passed through the Volkhov, Msta, and lake Ilmen rivers. The fight against the Scandinavian merchant-warriors who dominated international trade helped to accelerate the process of forming state relations. By the middle of the IX century, at the source of the Volkhov, the center of political communication of the tribes who lived on the numerous rivers that flow into lake Ilmen was formed, and a system of their military interaction was formed. Collecting and paying tribute to the Varangians laid the Foundation for state taxation. In the middle of the ninth century, the Novgorodians "called" the Varangian Prince Rurik, who was entrusted with military, judicial and law enforcement functions. Rurik, who came with his family and his team, became the first Prince of Novgorod and marked the beginning of the princely Rurik dynasty, which ruled all Russian lands for more than seven hundred years. It is with the name of Prince Rurik that the first mention of Novgorod is connected in the chronicle of 859: "and one Rurik took all the power, and came to Ilmen, and cut down the town under the Magi, and called it Novgorod, and sat down here to rule, distribute volosts and cut down cities." Already in the first centuries of its existence, Novgorod played an important role in the events that took place on Russian soil, in fact becoming the first capital of Russia. Novgorod had a favorable geographical position: the city was located at the crossroads of waterways that go from the Baltic from the North and West to the South and East, so by the middle of the IX century, it became the largest commercial, political and cultural center of the North-Western lands. At the beginning of the X century, the Novgorod tribes of Slovenes and Krivichi, together with Prince Igor and Scandinavian squads, began a campaign to the South to ensure equal trade with Byzantium. Smolensk and Kiev were conquered, and on the border of a dangerous Wild field, among the steppes, a strong point was laid for further movement to Constantinople. The campaigns of Igor and his voivode Oleg allowed us to achieve our goal – to pave the trade route "from the Varangians to the Greeks". the Result was the unification of Eastern Slavic tribes and the formation of the old Russian state with its capital in Kiev. Having become unlimited rulers of the new territories, the Kievan princes continued to serve in the Novgorod land. The established tradition was broken by Prince Svyatoslav Igorevich, who concentrated his political interests on the lower reaches of the Danube. In the middle of the X century, the lack of full-fledged state power in the Novgorod land accelerated the relocation of tribal leaders to the political center at the origins of the Volkhov, and the formation of Novgorod as a city began. In 970, the Novgorodians turned to Svyatoslav with a demand to give them a Prince, threatening, otherwise, to find him in another land. The compromise was to send Svyatoslav's son Vladimir to Novgorod. It was Vladimir who, with the help of the Novgorodians, managed to overcome the first political crisis and, after conquering Polotsk, Smolensk, and Kiev, became the Grand Prince of Kiev in 980. He also completed the ideological unification of Russian lands into a single state, baptizing Russia in 988. In 989, the first Bishop arrived in Novgorod, the Greek Joachim Korsunyanin, who, together with the Posadnik Dobrynya, destroyed the ancient pagan sanctuaries and baptized the Novgorodians. The adoption of Christianity gradually turned Novgorod into a powerful spiritual center of Russia. The merits of the Novgorod bishops in the protection and development of Orthodoxy were marked in the middle of the XII century by their elevation to the rank of archbishops and made the Novgorod vladychna Department the most important in the Russian Orthodox Church. The fate of another outstanding statesman of the Russian middle ages, Yaroslav the Wise, is closely linked with Novgorod. Novgorodians twice in 1015 and 1019 with the help of military force put him on the Kiev Grand-Ducal throne. For this, at the request of the Novgorodians, Prince Yaroslav the Wise created for them the first code of laws – "Russian Truth", which provided various social strata of Novgorod protection from princely arbitrariness. Yaroslav carried out administrative reform, redrawn the borders of the principalities and lands. In 1034, he liquidated the independent Principality of Pskov and gave the Pskov land under the control of the Novgorod Prince and the Novgorod Bishop. Novgorod, which arose in a swampy lowland and humid climate, from the first days of its existence, needed the care of its residents for improvement. Taking care of the maintenance of city streets and drains was part of the daily life of citizens who quickly developed mechanisms of self-government. A complex but flexible and balanced system of local self-government, known as the "Veche Republic", has emerged in Novgorod. Already in 1136, the Novgorodians, along with residents of the "suburbs" – Pskov and ladozhans, expelled Prince Vsevolod Mstislavich at the Veche and declared their right to "liberties in princes". Since the second half of the XII century, the administration of the city and its vast lands has acquired Republican forms, and Novgorod has become one of the most economically developed and influential city-States in Europe. In the XIII century, the Novgorod boyars began to elect their own posadniki, and then tysyatskikh, whose participation in the political life of the state gradually expanded. Since 1193, the electability of archbishops has been established. The fate of the Novgorod princes often depended on the decisions of the multi-voiced and "party groups" Veche: they were invited and expelled sometimes several times a year. In the XIII century, the Mongol-Tatars did not reach Novgorod. The ancient Russian city remained intact. Nevertheless, Novgorod fully shared the economic burden imposed by the Horde on Russia. The huge and fairly densely populated Novgorod land paid most of the "Tatar output" due from Russia, thereby reducing the threat of new destructive raids on the South Russian lands. The city that escaped destruction played an important role in protecting the North-Western borders of Russia from Swedish and German serf aggression. In 1240, the Novgorod militia defeated a Swedish military expedition at the confluence of the Neva and Izhora rivers, and in 1242, the Novgorodians, along with the Vladimir squad, defeated the combined forces of the Livonian and Teutonic Crusader orders on the ice of lake Peipus. The knight's army suffered the greatest damage in the history of medieval wars. The victory was secured by the defeat of the Livonian order in the battle of Rakvor in 1268. Until the end of the XV century, Novgorod remained the political, commercial, and religious center of its subordinate territory. The sources preserved information about the economic development of the city. Agriculture was dominated by the cultivation of grain crops and flax, and animal husbandry also played an important role. A significant place in the economy was occupied by hunting, fishing and bortnichestvo (collection of wild honey). Craft in Novgorod had a narrow specialization with a predominance of Metalworking and the use of complex technological techniques. Novgorod shears, awls, and needles were famous, and weapons production was a special industry. In addition, jewelry, woodworking, ceramics, weaving, and leather manufacturing flourished in the city. Trade was of great importance for the development of the city. Novgorod was the first Russian city in terms of the number and variety of imported and exported goods. For centuries, the city used the silver of other countries for payment, without having its own coin. Only in 1420, due to the poor quality of foreign silver, Novgorod began to mint its own coin, which depicted a rider with a spear, which gave the coin the name "kopek". In the XV century, after many centuries of fragmentation in Russia, the struggle for the unification of Russian lands began. Moscow, Tver, and the Grand Duchy of Russian-Lithuanian sought to unite the lands around them. Novgorod, trying to preserve and ensure the independence of the Novgorod state, successfully fought the armies of Mikhail Tversky and Dmitry Donskoy. The struggle became especially acute in the middle of the XV century, when Novgorod, in violation of the previously signed agreement with Moscow, called for the reigning of Grand Duke Casimir, the sovereign of Catholic Lithuania. Moscow in 1471 responded to the Novgorod "betrayal" with a military campaign that revealed a deep split within the Novgorod society itself. Convinced of the reluctance of the majority of the inhabitants of the Novgorod land to protect the interests of a narrow circle of the Novgorod aristocracy, the great Emperor of Moscow Ivan III made a campaign to Novgorod "in peace"in 1478. The city did not resist, the ruling circles asked only to guarantee their safety, to preserve their property and land holdings. The annexation of Novgorod to Moscow marked the beginning of a unified Russian state and opened a new page in Russian history. In the 1480s-1490s, in order to eradicate the Novgorod "freedom" from the city to the Central regions of Russia, about 7 thousand people were sent from among the major boyars, clergy, and merchants; in their place, "the best people, guests, and children of the boyars" were relocated from the Moscow land. In 1570, the oprichnics of Ivan IV the terrible exterminated almost the entire population of Novgorod to infants. In 1611-1617, the city was occupied by the Swedes, who looted and destroyed it. After the Swedish devastation, the Novgorod land could not restore its former power. For a century, Novgorod was an important fortress on the North-Western borders of Russia. The construction of St. Petersburg at the beginning of the XVIII century and the transfer of the capital of the Empire to the banks of the Neva led to the loss of this value of the ancient city. It has retained only the role of an important spiritual center of Russian Orthodoxy. In 1727, Novgorod became the provincial center and remained so for two hundred years. In 1927, Novgorod province was liquidated, and Novgorod became a district, and since 1930 – the district center of the Leningrad region. Since 1944, it has been the center of the Novgorod region. During the great Patriotic war of 1941-45, Novgorod was occupied by German-fascist troops from August 19, 1941, and liberated on January 20, 1944. During the war, the city was almost completely destroyed. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was actually rebuilt, but has preserved most of the ancient monuments.