The small Finno-Ugrian tribe of Yam was known to inhabit Western Ingria since the early 10th c. A.D. and the fortress of Yam was built in their territory. The fortress had a solid stonewall with towers and gates and endured the siege by Swedish and Livonian troops in 1395 and 1444-1448.

Livonian and Hanseatic sources called the place as Nienslot (New Castle or New Town) until the end of the 15th century, therefore for a long time the city was considered unknown for foreign manuscripts. After the establishment of Ivangorod, which received the name Nienslot in Western chronicles, the old Nienslot was gradually referred to under the Russian name Yamy by Western chroniclers.

By the 15th century the city had become an important military centre, a big centre of crafts and trade in North-West Russia and an administrative centre of the Novgorod Land.

After the Northern War Yamburg lost its function of a Russian outpost, though in the reign of Catherine II the city reached its special prosperity. In 1782 a magnificent five-domed cathedral of St.Catherine with a three-tier bell tower was built here by Antonio Rinaldi’s design. The cathedral still remains the city’s main architectural focus.

Since the 17th century the city was an important point on the Revel highway (now St.Petersburg-Tallinn highway) connecting the new capital of St.Petersburg with the rest of Europe.

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