Rostov-on-Don. Historical information
Rostov-on-Don is the administrative center of the Rostov Region and the Southern Federal Region of Russia. The population of the city is over 1 million people. The city lies in the south-eastern part of the European Plain, on the banks of the Don River, 46 km away from where the river flows into the Sea of Azov. The total area of the city is 348.5 square kilometers, and the distance to Moscow is 1,076 km.
It is believed that the city of Rostov-on-Don was founded in 1749, when the Russian Empress Elizaveta Petrovna signed a decree ordering the establishment of State Customs at the mouth of the river Temernik. Soon after, a port appeared here, and in 1761 the construction of a military fortress named after St. Dimitriy of Rostov began. The favorable geographical position promoted the economic development of Rostov. By its 100th anniversary, the city had about 15.000 inhabitants, and by 1900 that number exceeded 110,000 people. The economy of Rostov revolved around trade – it was called a merchant city for good reasons. At the beginning of the 20th century, Rostov already had more than 100 companies, about 30% of which were foreign-owned. Prior to 1917 the city held third place in Russia in terms of the volume of foreign trade turnover. At the end of 1930s, the city was among the ten largest cities in the Soviet Union by population size and the level of economic development.
Rostov is included in the heroic chronicles of the Great Patriotic War (World War II) as the city, where the Russian Red Army stopped the defensive and took to the offense. In the plans of the Nazi commanders, Rostov-on-Don was a strategic goal - no wonder Goebbels called it “the Gate to the Caucasus.” Ironically, it was here, in November 1941, at “the Gate to the Caucasus”, that the Wehrmacht suffered its first major defeat. During the Nazi occupation tens of thousands of civilians were shot and tortured, about 50,000 people were taken away into slavery. The city center lay in ruins: theaters, universities, schools and hospitals were blown up and burned down. Of the 270 factories and plants, only six survived. However, thanks to the selfless and dedicated work of the Rostovites, the Don capital was rebuilt from the ruins and became even more beautiful.
In 1970, according to the Decree of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Rostov-on-Don was awarded the Order of Lenin, and in 1982, by a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the city received the 1-degree Order of the Patriotic War.
In the lead-up to the 63rd anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, Rostov-on-Don was awarded the honorary title "City of Military Glory." Today Rostov is one of the largest megalopolises in modern Russia, the political, economic, cultural and scientific center in the country’s south, and an important junction of main transportation routes.
According to the strategic plans of development of the Russian Federation and the Southern Federal District, Rostov-on-Don is regarded as one of the important leaders of advanced economic growth.
The city’s position as the capital of the south of Russia and the fact that it hosts large industrial enterprises and administrative bodies of federal importance results in a greater concentration of jobs, provides for a higher level of economic activity, and increases the investment appeal. Rostov-on-Don is the ninth most heavily-populated city in the Russian Federation, but what really makes it stand out among Russian cities with over a million inhabitants is its leading position in the country by the number of entrepreneurs per thousand residents. According to the regional study “Doing Business in Russia 2012,” conducted by the World Bank Group, Rostov-on-Don became one of the four leaders among the 30 cities in the Russian Federation for which the combined “ease of doing business” rating was calculated.
One of the favorable factors for the city’s social and economic development, the foothold of its continuous regional leadership is the fact that the Rostov-on-Don is positioned as the “core” of the Rostov agglomeration with the combined demographic potential of up to 2 million people; at the same time, it functions as the largest consumer market in the south of Russia and the hub for a substantial part of scientific, educational, industrial, financial and investment resources of the region.
Over several years, Rostov’s high economic potential among the cities of the CIS and EurAsEC has been underlined repeatedly at the international competition called “The City Where We Want to Live”, held by the International Assembly of Capitals and Big Cities (MAG) and aimed at promoting the best accumulated resources that provide for the cities’ stable socio-economic development.
The priorities of the City Administration of Rostov- on-Don in the area of social welfare have been set as follows: taking additional steps aimed at targeted social support for Rostovites in need, strengthening the family, supporting mothers and children, taking the necessary measures to improve the lives of the elderly, provisioning for the right to use of urban passenger transportation free of charge (excluding taxis and mini-buses) for all retirees and schoolchildren residing in Rostov-on-Don, organizing entertainment and recreational activities for children, providing municipal social support to needy families with children, and conducting outreach campaigns for the population on the topical issues. We use targeted approach in working with more than 13,000 war veterans who live in the city today. They receive practical help in the form of housing repairs, household appliances, etc., which help to improve the living conditions of the war veterans, many of whom are disabled. In addition, a unique 150-apartment complex, one-of-its-kind in Russia, was recently built, containing specialized apartments and including special premises for catering, domestic functions, medical, social, and advisory services, cultural and leisure events.
The city’s numerous monuments of architecture, archeology, monumental art and military glory, memorable sites and commemorative plaques tell the whole story of Rostov’s long and varied history, from a small village not far from the Temernik Customs House, or the fortress named after St. Dimitriy of Rostov, to modern times. Today, Rostov-on-Don has over 1,000 cultural heritage sites, including 483 architectural heritage-listed buildings, 67 archeological monuments, 125 memorials of monumental art and military glory, and 408 commemorative boards.
The historical center of Rostov is particularly rich in heritage-listed buildings. Among them is the building of the State Duma, created according to the project designed by the academician of architecture A. Pomerantsev and located at 47 Bolshaya Sadovaya St. Also the city has several architectural masterpieces of global importance, including the building of the Academic Drama Theatre named after Maxim Gorky, designed by architects V. Shchuko and V. Gelfreich (it is interesting to note that its miniature is displayed at the British Museum in London). The building of the Rostov Youth Theater by the architect N. Durbakh is over 100 years old – in the past it hosted Nakhichevanskiy Theater. At the end of the 18th century the complex of buildings of the Armenian monastery Surb-Khach was erected according to the project by an outstanding Russian architect I. Starov.
Paying tribute to the past, the Rostovites immortalized in stone and bronze the images of its inhabitants and countrymen who made an outstanding contribution to the history of the Don capital: Maxim Gorky, Mikhail Sholokhov, Martiros Saryan, and Georgiy Sedov.
In the city’s streets, one can also see a lot of urban sculptures. These include the “Citizen” strolling along an avenue, the “Peddler-Merchant” offering his goods to passers-by, the sweet “Flower Girl” with a basket of first violets, “My First Teacher”, “The First-Grader”, and many other small sculptures, which bring joy to city-dwellers and attract visitors’ attention.
An important milestone in the spiritual revival of the people of Rostov was set with the opening of another monument in Sobornaya Square in front of the Central City Cathedral – the monument to the Christian patron saint of the city, Saint Dimitriy, Metropolitan of Rostov. Another event of the same scale was the restoration of the bell tower at the Rostov Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin. In 2007 the Pokrov Church was erected in Kirov park, and the monument to the founder of Rostov, Empress Elizabeth II, was restored at its old historical place. In 2009 a statuary group devoted to the founders of the fortress named after St. Dimitriy of Rostov was erected at the intersection of Bolshaya Sadovaya and Krepostnoy streets, and in 2010 the city administration held a grand opening of a memorial in honor of the foundation of Temernik Customs House on the embankment of the River Don.
In 2008 by decree of the President of the Russian Federation, the city of Rostov-on-Don was awarded the honorary title "City of Military Glory." to commemorate the courage and heroism of its citizens during the Great Patriotic War (World War II). To celebrate this event a stela monument called “Rostov-on-Don – a City of Military Glory” was built and opened in 2010 on Sholokhov Avenue, near Rostov Airport. Every year on such national holidays as Defender of the Motherland Day (February 23rd), Victory Day (May 9th), and City Day, celebrations are held near this monument, bringing together war veterans, schoolchildren and young men, other Rostovites and visitors to the city.
Rostov-on-Don has 220 cultural and art establishments, a number of creative unions, and several national and cultural societies.
At various times many famous writers have lived and worked in the city, including A. Solzhenitsyn, M. Nalbandyan, M. Shaginyan, V. Panova, and A. Fadeev. The city was also home to prominent artists M. Grekov, M. Saryan, and V. Sheblanov; composers and musicians A. Artamonov and K. Nazaretov; and actors Y. Zavadskiy and V. Maretskaya. Rostov-on-Don is the birthplace of the Russian ballerina O. Spesivtseva, the outstanding 20-century singer I.Yurieva, and the famous actor R. Plyatt, holder of the title of People's Artiste of the USSR,.
Rostov-on-Don is a large educational and scientific center. The city holds third place in the country (after Moscow and St. Petersburg) in the number of higher education establishments. Altogether, 50 institutions of higher professional education can be found here (13 public and 12 private universities, plus 25 regional branches of universities located in other cities); more than 120,000 people study here.
Rostov has 4 working theaters (two of them academic ones) 4 museums, the largest library in the south of Russia – the Don Public Library, a State Circus, the Regional Philharmonic Society, Rostov State Conservatory (Academy) named after S.V.Rakhmaninov, the Rostov branch of St. Petersburg State University of Culture and Arts, an Arts College, a Culture College, and a number of exhibition halls.
The Rostov Zoo, one of the largest in Europe, has been working in the city for 85 years. This realm of fauna, with a total area of 90 hectares is home to over 5,000 species, including 424 kinds of rare animals, birds and reptiles, over 108 of which are endangered and included in the Russian Red Book. The Botanic Gardens of Rostov State University, with a total area of 161 hectares, are among the largest gardens in the country.
Rostov-on-Don is one of the country’s busiest jazz cities. Here the education in jazz and pop music is among the strongest in the country, due to the efforts made at the beginning of 1980s by the famous “jazz professor” Kim Nazaretov, who opened the Chair of Jazz and Pop Music at the Rostov Conservatory. The unique, one-of-a-kind-in-Russia jazz school, named after K. Nazaretov, has been working in Rostov-on-Don for 18 years.
Art festivals have become a good tradition in Rostov. The city opens its doors to the art forum “The Don Spring”, the theater festivals “Manifest” and “Russian Comedy”, several international jazz festivals, the international festival “Accordeon Plus”, the “Stars of Rostov” – a contest for children and young people performing jazz and pop music – contests of young composers, and other competitions in all genres of popular creative arts.