Rostov-on-Don (Росто́в-на-Дону́, Rostov-na-Donu ) is the city and the administrative center of Rostov Oblast and the Southern Federal District of Russia, located on the Don River, just 46 km from the Sea of Azov. Population: 1,052,000 (2007); 1,068,267 (2002 Census); 1,019,305 (1989 Census).
Rostov-on-Don was in essence established in 1749, as a customs house was built on the Temernik (a tributary of the Don), and soon a large fortress followed. It was named after Saint Dimitry of Rostov, a newly-glorified bishop from the old Northern town Rostov the Great. As Azov gradually declined, a settlement near the new fortress superseded it in importance as a chief commercial centre of the region. In 1756 the "Russian commercial and trading company of Constantinople" set up there, establishing a settlement on the high bank of the Don known as the "Kupecheskaya Sloboda" (the merchant's fortress). In 1796 this settlement received town rights and was renamed Rostov-on-Don, in order to distinguish it from its ancient namesake.
The Don River that the city is named for is a major shipping lane connecting southwestern Russia with regions to the north, and Rostov-on-Don is an important river port in both passenger-oriented and industrial shipping. With such a good geographical position, the city grew rapidly. As the most heavily industrialized city of South Russia, it was a bone of contention between the Whites and the Bolsheviks during the Civil War. By 1928, the regional government was moved from the old Cossack capital Novocherkassk to Rostov, which also engulfed the nearby Armenian town of Nor Nakhijevan (Nakhijevan, Proletarskiy district now).
In the Soviet years, the Bolsheviks demolished two of Rostov's principal landmarks - St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (1908) and St George Cathedral in Nakhichevan (1783-1807). Much of the city was reduced to rubble by the German forces who occupied it twice - in 1941 and 1942. Nowadays, the most conspicuous feature of the downtown is the enormous Cathedral of Virgin's Nativity (1860-87), designed by Konstantin Thon.
Rostov-on-Don has experienced considerable economic growth in recent years, as the Russian economy recovers nationwide. Numerous start-up companies have established headquarters in the city, the median income is increasing, and the city is being transformed from a place thrown back in time by the collapse of USSR into a modern, industrial and technology-rich hub.
The city is twinned with: