Veliky Novgorod is one of the most important historic cities in Russia which serves as the administrative center of Novgorod Oblast. It is situated on the M10 federal highway connecting Moscow and St. Petersburg. The city lies along the Volkhov River just downstream from its outflow from Lake Ilmen. UNESCO recognised Novgorod as a World Heritage Site in 1992. At its peak during the 14th century, it was one of Europe's largest cities, with a reported population of 400,000.