28 April 2003, 12:16

Rostov-on-Don

Centre of Rostov oblast (province), 1226 km south-south-east of Moscow. Located in the south-east of the East European Plain, on the right bank of the Don River, 46 km from its flowing into the Sea of Azov. The climate is moderately continental. Winter is mild: the temperature in January averages to -7?С. Simmer is warm, long, sunny weather prevailing ; July temperature averages to 23?С. Precipitations of about 500 mm a year. A large traffic centre, a "gateway to the Caucasus". A junction of railway lines (to Voronezh, Donetsk, Bataysk and further on to the Caucasus) and highways (including the Moscow - Voronezh - Rostov-on-Don, the Kiev - Kharkov - Rostov-on-Don, the Rostov-on-Don - Baku highways). A sea and a river port. Airport. Population (1992 est.) 1,027.1 thousand, (1897 est.) 120 thousand, (1926 est.) 308 thousand, (1939 est.) 510 thousand, (1959 est.) 600 thousand, (1970 est.) 789 thousand, (1979 est.) 934 thousand.

Peter I would stay at the site of the future city when preparing to Azov campaigns (1695, 1696). In 1749-1750, the Temernik border customs and a port were founded on the Don River, at its confluence with the Temernik River, at the tract of Bogaty Kolodets under the decree of Empress Elizaveta Petrovna. In 1761, construction of a fortress called after St. Dimitry, the metropolitan of Rostov (canonised in 1709), began. In 1777 and 1783-1784, A.A. Suvorov, who was the commander of the Kuban corps at that time, would stay at the house of the commandant of the Rostov fortress. By the end of the 18th century, the fortress lost its strategic importance after the territories adjacent to the Black Sea had been annexed to Russia. The settlement formed of embattled suburbs was transformed into city in 1796; its name, Rostov-on-Don, was officially approved in 1806. Later (in the 20th century), Rostov-on-Don annexed Nakhichevan-na-Donu, founded in 1778 by the Crimean Armenians, who moved here under the decree of Catherine II. Since 1797, Rostov-on-Don was an uyezd (canton) city of the Novorossiysk government (province); since 1802, it joined Yekaterinoslav government; since 1887, it was incorporated to the Don Cossack area (since 1888, it was the okrug (district) centre).

In the first half of the 19th century, Rostov-on-Don was a large commercial city in the south of Russia. In 1860, the total turnover of the city trade was over 25 million roub. The city traded primarily in grain, seeds of oil-yielding crops, wool, lard, oil and other agricultural products. Most of the goods were exported. From the middle of the 19th century, Rostov-on-Don also became a large industrial centre and an important traffic centre in the south of Russia. In 1846, an iron factory (at present, the Red Don Dockyard) was built in the city. 1853 saw opening of a tobacco factory, and 1870 a paper-mill. In 1859, a machine works, making steam schooners, boilers, pumps was put into operation. A railway connected Rostov-on-Don to Kharkov in 1870, to Voronezh in 1871, to Vladikavkaz in 1875. In the early 1890s, Rostov-on-Don got an engineering plant, a radiator works, a butter-making factory, etc. as well as numerous mill houses. In 1896, the city got a power station; in 1898, a factory of agricultural machines (at present, the Krasny Aksay cultivator factory). By the beginning of the 20th century, Rostov-on-Don had about 140 industrial enterprises employing more than 14.5 thousand factory workers. In the south of the country, the Rostov port took one of the first places in freight turnover (primarily, exportation of grain, iron, wood). More than 15 thousand workers were employed here in the navigation period. The total turnover of the city reached 5 billion roubles a year. There were 16 foreign consulates, including ones of the USA, Great Britain, France.

During the Civil War, power in Rostov-on-Don was changed repeatedly. In December 1917, the city was seized by troops of the General А.М. Kaledin. From March to May 1918, Rostov-on-Don was the centre of the Don Soviet Republic. At the beginning of May 1918, the city was entered by German occupation troops; then, Rostov-on-Don was occupied by troops of the General А.I. Denikin. In January 1920, Rostov-on-Don was entered by the 1st Horse Army. Since 1924, Rostov-on-Don was the centre of North Caucasian kray (region); since 1934, of Azov-Black Sea kray; since 1937, of Rostov oblast (province). In the 1920-1930s, Rostov-on-Don reconstructed and extended old industrial enterprises, built new ones, such as a chemical factory commissioned in 1924-1925, the Rostselmash factory (in 1926-1931), etc. 1920 saw commissioning of the first steam power plant in the country. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, the area of Rostov-on-Don and the city were the site of fierce fights. Nazi troops took hold of the city twice, in 1941 (November, 21-29) and from July 24, 1942 to February 14, 1943.

Present Rostov-on-Don is a large industrial, cultural and scientific centre of the south of Russia. The leading industries are machine-building, flavouring, light and chemical ones. Enterprises of the city produce over half of all grain combines made in Russia (PO Rostselmash), as well as tractor cultivators, helicopters, bearings, technological equipment for light industry (the Legmash factory) and flavouring industry (PO Rostprodmash), press-forging plants, direction-finding instrumentation, clocks, electrohousehold gears, electrical instruments, river boats, gas instrumentation, office equipment, etc.

Rostov-on-Don traditionally develops its flavouring industry; production of local tobacco factory and confectionery enjoys wide popularity. Meat-processing plants, wineries and canneries. Chemical industry (zinc white, general mechanical rubber goods etc.). Light industry (leather and foot-wear, knitting, clothing); enterprises of woodworking industry, industry of building materials, a factory of keyboard instruments, etc. Freight turnover tonnage of the Rostov port is mostly provided by wood, metal ores, mineral and construction consignments, industrial and food articles, agricultural production.

Rostov-on-Don has a university, a technical university, an academy of construction; institutes of architecture, engineers of railway transport, agricultural mechanisation, agriculture, medicine, musical pedagogy, pedagogy, national economy, automation and mechanical engineering. A faculty of Nizhny Novgorod Institute of Engineers of Water Transport, branches of Moscow Institute of Engineers of Civil Aviation, Moscow Commercial University, All-Russia Correspondence Institute of Food-Processing Industry. North Caucasian scientific and research centre: research institutes of biology, neurocybernetics, physical and organic chemistry, mechanics and applied mathematics, hydrochemistry, radiology, oncology, etc. About 40 planing and designing of institutes, including state institutes designing factories of combine industry, factories of power machine industry, enterprises of oil refining and petrochemical industry, factories of building and road machine industry.

The M. Gorky Drama Theatre, the Young Spectator Theatre, the Musical Comedy Theatre, a puppet-show. A circus. the Oblast (Province) Museum of Local-Lore, the Museum of Fine Arts (collection of Russian art).

The gridiron pattern of streets was formed under regular designs for the cities of Rostov-on-Don and Nakhichevan (both designs were made in 1811). Nakhichevan was built up with 2-storeyed houses of kertschenite and shelly limestone; there was a marketplace with a cathedral (the 1780s, attributed to the architect I.Y. Starov) at the centre. In the building-up of the late 19th and the early 20th centuries, buildings of the so-called Gorodskoy Dom (City House) (1896-1899, architect А.N. Pomerantsev), the city theatre (1896, architect A.A. Lyubimov), the State Bank (1910, architect M.M. Peretyatkovich), Volzhsko-Каmsky Bank (1900, architect А.N. Beketov), the Pedagogical Institute (1912, architect I.Y. Cherkesian), etc. are worth mentioning. In the 1920-1930s, residential settlements of trammers (1924), water-transport workers (1926), Novy Byt (1928), Gigant-I and Gigant-II (the 1930-1931s), etc., were built and thoroughfares and squares were reconstructed. Among large public buildings, the House of Soviets (the 1929-1934s, architect I.A. Golosov), the Gorky Theatre in the form of a tractor (the 1930-1935s, architects V.А. Shchuko, V.G. Gelfreikh). The city was heavily destroyed during the Great Patriotic War. It was restored in the 1944-1945s (the central part was reconstructed by the architect V.N. Semyonov). The centre received a broad exit to the Don, while a quay, parks and squares were created. The new city-development plan (1971) was the basis to built new residential areas, as well as administrative and public buildings.

Monuments to: S.М. Кirov (1939, sculptors Z.М. Vilensky and V.V. Barinov), K. Marx (1959, sculptor M.S. Altschuler, architect М.А. Minkus), A.S. Pushkin (1959, sculptor G.A. Schultz, architect М.А. Minkus).

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