The magnificent architectural monuments of Novgorod earned it the name the "museum city" until World War II, when it was held by the Germans (1941–44) and suffered great damage. Chief among the losses was the 12th-century kremlin, on the left river bank, containing the Cathedral of St. Sophia (founded 1045). On the right bank, the former commercial center, were numerous medieval churches and a museum of old Russian art. Many of the damaged buildings have been restored, but their frescoes are lost.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.