Rostov-on-Don Travel Guide

Rostov-on-Don Travel Guide

photo of the central post office in Rostov-on-Don


Rostov-on-Don is a port of five seas, a large industrial, scientific and cultural centre in the south of the country. Tourists love it for the picturesque Don embankment, green parks and lovely architecture.

Historical Overview

The city was founded in 1749 on the right hilly bank of the Don, 46 kilometres from where it flows into the Azov Sea. Peter I drew attention to a conveniently located place in the lower reaches of the Don River during the Azov campaigns of 1695-1696. The construction of a fortress to protect the southern Russian borders began at that time.

In the spring of 1750, a marina, warehouse, quarantine facility and a room for the garrison servicemen were all built at the customs house. The international Russian and Constantinople Trading Company was founded in 1756. Temernitsky port became the only Russian port in the south of Russia. Trade was conducted through it with the countries of the Black, Aegean and Mediterranean seas. In 1760-1761, to protect the lower reaches of the Don from the raids of the Turkish invaders and the Crimean Tatar hordes, the construction of a powerful fortress designed by the Russian military engineer Dedenev began. The fortress was given the name of Metropolitan of Rostov and Yaroslavl Dmitry. Subsequently, the name was changed to the fortress of Dimitry of Rostov, the Rostov fortress, Rostov, and finally, in
order to distinguish it from the ancient Rostov the Great near Yaroslavl, it was called Rostov-on-Don. The history of the fortress is associated with the names of outstanding Russian military commanders including Admiral Sinyavin, A.V. Suvorov and Admiral F.I. Ushakov.
Later, the fortress gained the status of a district town (the decree by Alexander I of 17 August 1806). In 1811, the city received its coat of arms, which is now the city's heraldic symbol. After dismantling the ramparts and filling the moats, the city quickly cut through a network of streets and lanes, replacing adobe and wooden steel to build stone buildings, as trading activity became the main occupation of the city's residents. Multilingual speech, the bright national costumes of the Rostovites, and the lively life of the port city left an impression on A.S. Pushkin, who visited Rostov in 1820 and 1828.
A favourable geographical position at the crossroads of land and waterways contributed to the economic development of Rostov. A commercial port was formed at its walls, accepting ships of Russian, Greek, Italian, Turkish, Armenian and Persian merchants.
In 1863, an important event took place in the history of the city: it was included in the structure of the Don Military Region, which influenced the further development of industry and moisture management. The centre of Rostov was transferred to Bolshaya Garden Street, where the city garden was destroyed, and architect A. Pomerantsev's project took shape in the form of the City Duma building, the largest state bank in the south of Russia, and the hospital in the city of Nikolaev. Rostov’s largest enterprises were in great demand abroad. By 1914, consulates from 17 foreign countries had opened in Rostov. At the time of its 100 th anniversary, the city had about 15 000 inhabitants, while by the 20 th century, it was home to over 110 000 people. The basis of Rostov’s economy was trade; it was called a merchant city, and by the beginning of the 20 th century, there were already more than 100 enterprises operating in Rostov, including such large ones as the main workshops of the Vladikavkaz railway, the Aksai plough-building plant, shipbuilding, nailing-wire, iron foundry factories and two tobacco factories. And every third enterprise belonged to foreign capital.
After the revolution, the city of Rostov developed, along with the whole country. By the end of the 1930s, it was one of the ten largest cities in the Soviet Union in terms of population and level of economic development. The First World War, the events of October 1917 and the Civil War radically changed life in Rostov. In 1920, the city slowly began to restore its economy. The pre-war five-year plans were marked by the appearance in Rostov of the giant plant Rostselmash. The Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 inflicted terrible damage on the city: Rostov was one of the 10 most damaged cities in Russia. After the liberation of the city on 14 February 1943, the Rostovites, through their incredible efforts, revived the city and made it even more beautiful, reconstructing the destroyed buildings, parks and gardens.

Where to Stay

To see the city’s true beauty, walk along the Don embankment. The best hotels in the city have been awarded a 4-star category. They are perfect for businessmen and travellers who prefer special comfort during their trip with several restaurants, a swimming pool and a spa. They are located in the city centre near the main attractions. Three-star hotels are more popular due to their more affordable price policy and impressive set of services. They are located not far from the airport, railway station and in the city centre. More and more travellers are choosing apartments. They have a large capacity and are more convenient than hotels. There are a lot of hostels, too, so you can easily select the most convenient option.

Bars and Restaurants

The city can boast a large variety of cafes and restaurants for any budget. To try traditional or fusion cuisine, you should definitely visit Drago Steakhouse, New York and German Schneider-Weisse. To enjoy peaceful views over the Don River, take a look at Pirs. For something to drink, choose Chester Pub, Craft Pub Yesenin or Vsegda Gotov.

What to See


  • Bolshaya Sadovaya is the city’s main street. Today, visitors can see only part of the original architectural masterpieces that existed previously on Rostov’s central street. These are the House of Margarita Chernova, the building of the mayor's office, the State Bank, the Moskovskaya Hotel and other notable buildings.
  • The Liventsov fortress is the ruins of the oldest settlements in the Rostov region, dating back to the 18 th century BC. The settlement was built by ancient tribes. Despite the fact that the site has been known for a long time, the first findings caused a sensation. The ancient inhabitants of the surrounding steppes defended themselves from nomadic Indo-Iranian tribes.
  • The golden-domed Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin is a small copy of the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. It was designed by architect K.A. Ton. The temple takes the form of a cross.
  • The Botanical Garden contains a large collection of tropical and subtropical flora from Australia, South-East Asia and the Americas. The museum of the Botanical Garden stores a large herbarium and a collection of seeds.
  • The Don embankment is a picturesque place with sculptures, flowers and lawns.


Today, Rostov-on-Don is a major transport hub in the south of Russia. From here, you can easily get to anywhere in the country, or even the world. There’s the railway station, the international airport, the bus station and the river port to the Azov, Black and Mediterranean seas. Within the city, you can travel by bus, trolleybus, tram and minibus. The latter is the most convenient, and therefore a popular form of public transport. Minibuses in Rostov run at an interval of 5-10 minutes.

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