Rostov-on-Don region: vast spaces of Don nature

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Main facts:

  • Administrative center: Rostov-on-Don

  • Federal District: South Russia

  • Language(s): Russian

  • Population: 4,220,000

  • Timezone: UTC+3

  • Main religion: Orthodoxy

Top 10 attractions:

Sights map of Rostov-on-Don region

Travel around Rostov-on-Don region

The Rostov-on-Don region is a vast steppe region, stretching for hundreds of kilometers from north to south and from east to west. From the north it is adjacent to the Voronezh region, from where the hilly reliefs of the chalk mountains stretch right up to the Don river. The picturesque landscapes of these places are called "Pridonye", and the settlements downstream of the Don are called Don stanitsas and khutors. In the south, the Rostov region borders the rich Krasnodar region, which is full of orchards, fields and agricultural land. In the east of the Rostov region, the Tsimlyansk water reservoir (or Tsimlyansk sea) is located - an artificial structure built to irrigate the surrounding lands during the construction of the Volga-Don Canal; besides it, here the region borders on the endless steppes of Kalmykia and the fertile lands of the Volgograd region. And in the west of the Rostov region lies an elongated state border with Ukraine and the wide Azov Sea, which is one of the smallest seas on the planet and is more like a vast delta of the Don river and partly - water sediments from the Black Sea. For a short time (especially in summer), the sea can greatly change its water level and even partly dry, but how much healing clay and fish are here!

On the territory of the Rostov region, people settled from immemorial times, but almost no one managed to stand on it long enough to leave a memorable mark on history. Except, perhaps, the Cossacks, who formed several large settlements here and controlled their estates for decades in the 14-15 centuries, until Russian troops came here from the north during the struggle with the Tatar-Mongols. But until them, this edge remained the "Wild Fields", on which for hundreds of miles it was impossible to meet a single living soul. Prosperity came to this land with Russian troops and free Cossack fighters. Since then, these lands began to be called Don; so began the history of the "Pridonye" region.

On the coast of the Azov Sea, there were numerous colonies of Greek seafarers who traded with local tribes. The most well-preserved remains of the Tanais settlement from that time, around which the archaeological museum is now built. However, most of the Greek colonies remained abandoned or were destroyed by numerous military invasions of nomadic peoples. The territory of these lands almost never lingered for a long time, and over 4-10 centuries, it changed dozens of owners, including the Avars, the Khazars, the Pechenegs, the Tatar-Mongols, and later the Timurids. The latter completely destroyed all remnants of the settlements, and from the 15th century the Turks owned lands in the south of the region. Their main fortification - the fortress of Azov - became a stumbling block for the Russian troops, who for centuries conducted military operations for control of these lands.

With the departure of the Tatar-Mongols in the 15th century, these lands became relatively safe and began to be settled by free immigrants from the south and west; this is how Cossacks emerged, which later played a decisive role in joining the entire south of the Don lands and the Caucasus regions to Russia. The power of the Moscow principality at that time did not extend to these lands, and therefore the Cossacks were a free people and did not obey anyone. Subsequently, the Cossacks gradually united with each other and formed the Great Don Army, which became the main military force in the Don steppes. It was a democratic state governed by an ataman elected by the general council, whose word was the law. They often joined the Russian military campaigns, but were not part of the regular army, just mercenaries. Free life was the main value of the Cossacks, and therefore they were extremely dissatisfied with the seizure of their lands by Russian troops in the 17th century. The Cossacks committed a series of bloody uprisings, the most famous of which were held under the command of Stenka Razin, Yemelyan Pugachev and Kondraty Bulavin. Nevertheless, the local Cossacks were annexed to the Russian Empire and subsequently played an important role in the military actions of Russia in the Caucasus, in Europe and in the seizure of Siberia (Yermak came from the Don Cossacks). In 1749, Empress Elizaveta Petrovna ordered to establish near the capital of the Don Army (stanitsa Starocherkasskaya) a customs outpost and fortress, and named it in honor of St. Dimitri of Rostov, a native of Rostov in Yaroslavl region. Subsequently, the Russian troops annexed the territories of the Black Sea and Azov region, and therefore the need for a fortress disappeared. But from that time the settlement became the central link in trade and transport routes, it actively grew and developed and in the early 19th century became the basis for the largest city in the south of Russia - Rostov-on-Don.

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At the same time, the Cossacks moved their capital to the rebuilt city of Novocherkassk, where ataman Platov laid the foundations for the future Voznesensky Military Cathedral, which is still towering today. Free Cossacks made up the bulk of the population of the Don territory until the early 20th century, when the Soviet battalions, which had already replaced the tsarist troops and the White Guard, carried out a final dispossession of the kulaks. After the October Revolution, the Cossacks tried to create an independent state, the "Great Don Army", however the ensuing civil war on the Don ended in tragedy for the Cossacks. Since then, a single Soviet people formed the basis of the population of these lands, which in 1937 separated into a separate region from the Krasnodar region - Rostov region. During the Russian Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, German troops especially sought to take Rostov-on-Don, considering it as "the gateway to the Caucasus." The city was badly damaged during the first invasion and already during the retreat of the German troops in 1943, when it was fired upon by Soviet troops. But immediately after the war, the city was recognized as a hero-city and began to actively recover; the famous stela "To Liberators of Rostov-on-Don" and many other unique structures, which have survived to this day, were built. And the famous free Don Army, which once owned the Don region, remained in the annals of history.

Rostov-on-Don became the region trade capital in the 18th century. People brought goods here from all the surrounding lands, from Turkey, Greece and Ukraine. Rostov fairs have become famous throughout Russia and abroad, and this has attracted even more merchants and industrialists to open their representative offices here. By the 20th century, the population of the city was more than 100 thousand people, and after the October Revolution active industrial construction began here. The giant "Rostselmash" factory and a multitude of weapons production were founded, agriculture was actively developing; thanks to this, by the beginning of World War II, Rostov-on-Don was inhabited by more than half a million inhabitants. The war severely destroyed the city, but already in the 1950s, most of the buildings in the city center, factories and cultural institutions were restored. Thus began the history of development and prosperity of the city, which continues to this day.

Rostov-on-Don is one of 15 millionaire cities in Russia, the cultural and administrative center of the Rostov region. And it is definitely worth a visit to anyone who goes to the south of Russia. Here are many monuments of tsarist and Soviet architecture, beautiful parks and the embankment of the Don river, where most people like to spend weekends. For natural beauty, it is worth going outside the city to any side of the world.

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To best get to know Rostov-on-Don, I advise you to go to its central part. Starting from the monumental railway station along Bolshaya Sadovaya street, where one of the most beautiful buildings in the city are located, including the house of Margarita Chernova, the Conservatory and the Officers' Club, the Rostov City Hall, the majestic Council Square with state institutions, and further Pokrovskaya Church. The walk along the Bolshaya Sadovaya is completed on Teatralnaya Square, where stands the largest drama theater in the USSR, built in the shape of a tractor (!), as well as a high stela "guardian angel". Another equally beautiful way to walk around the city is to reach the embankment of the Don river, which is one of the most comfortable areas in the city, and walk along it to Voroshilovsky Bridge, which you can go to the left bank of the Don and relax on the river beach. At the same time, you can see the modern “Rostov-Arena”, which hosted the Football World Cup in 2018, as well as beautiful panoramas of Rostov-on-Don from the Voroshilovskiy bridge. If you want to relax in nature, then feel free to go to the huge botanical garden, Kumzhenskaya grove or the largest zoo in the South Russia. Rostov-on-Don is truly a city where you can enjoy the time!

The natural beauty of the Rostov-on-Don region is worthy of individual words. Leaving outside Rostov-on-Don, endless fields and orchards begin, and then - steppe expanses. Having left to the north, in the direction of Moscow, you should definitely visit Novocherkassk - the historical "new" capital of the Don Army, look into the Museum of the Don Cossacks and the Voznesensky Military Cathedral. Further to the north will meet the hilly landscapes of Pridonye, among which the chalk mountains and the village of Vyoshenskaya village - the birthplace of Nobel Prize in literature Mikhail Sholokhov. In the east of the Rostov region, the waters of the Tsimlyansk water reservoir are stretched - a sample of the man-made sea - with beautiful beaches and cozy village settlements. The southern and western parts of the region are the history of the region: the ancient Turkish city of Azov, the archaeological excavations of the Greek settlement of Tanais, the county town of Taganrog and the expanses of the smallest sea in Eurasia (if not in the world).

Traveling to the Rostov region is my life-long adventure. I was born and raised in Rostov-on-Don, many of my good memories are connected with this city, and as for the region, it is forever in my soul. I sincerely recommend everyone to visit Rostov-on-Don, but do not dwell on it and see its picturesque surroundings. They entered history as the wide Don steppes, the birthplace of the Don Cossacks and the unique spirit of liberty and freedom.

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