On the banks of the River Don, at a meeting point of canals, railways and roads, regional capital Rostov-on-Don is a bustling port city.
It’s a cultural centre, too, with scores of restaurants, theatres and art galleries. There are lots of museums, many documenting the history of the Cossack people – native to the Don basin.
This city is characterised by its distinctive art deco and neo-classical architecture. Elsewhere there are a handful of parks crossed by canals, ponds and pretty bridges.
Top things to see and do
- Wander along Pushkinskaya Street – a network of wide, tree-lined avenues in Rostov’s old quarter. You can have your portrait taken by a street artist, and buy everything from Russian nesting dolls to ice cream.
- Ride on the Gagarin miniature railway, in Ostrovsky Park.
- Visit the Surb-Khach Church, located inside an 18th-century Armenian monastery. You’ll see exhibits including a stone cross from the Crimean war and books printed in the original monastery.
- Climb up to the river lookout at Beregovaya Street – a platform with a panoramic view over the Don.
- See gold and silver treasure at the Regional Museum on Bolshaya Sadovaya Street. The Treasure of Kurgans of Don is on display here, some of which dates back to the 4th century BC.
- See the Azov fortress – about 30 minutes’ drive from Rostov – and walk around the old ramparts of a fortress built by the Ottomans in 1471.
Tips for travellers
You can visit the birthplace of Anton Chekhov, the famous writer, in Taganrog – 40 minutes by car from Rostov-on-Don. The small, white-washed building now houses a museum full of Chekhov memorabilia. Elsewhere in Taganrog is the Museum of Local Lore and History, housed inside a palatial mansion. Among the many exhibitions are belongings of Emperor Alexander I.