The first settlement on a place of modern Rostov-on-Don was founded by Peter the Great during the Azov campaigns that happened within 1695-1696. In 1749 empress Elizabeth Petrovna signed an edict concerning of establishing Temernitskaya Custom-house on the bank of the river Don to take tax for goods imported from Turkey. However, ordinary custom-house appeared to be insufficient, and in 1760 they started to build a fortress here. It was named fortress of Demetrious Rostovskiy in honour of the Rostov and Yaroslavl metropolitan Demetrious canonized shortly before it.
Rostov-on-Don within the 18th- the 19th centuries
The fortress was surrounded with stone walls with towers and numerous garrisons constantly stayed inside. During Russian and Turkish war of 1768-1774 the Rostov fortress used as base for offensive to Azov. In 1779 not far from the Rostov fortress the Armenian settlement Nor-Nakhichevan which subsequently turned into town Nakhichevan-on-Don was founded. In 1797 the Rostov fortress and Nor-Nakhichevan were included into the Rostov district of Novorossisk province.
By the end of the 18th century, after annexing Black Sea region to Russia, the fortress lost its important military value and was transformed to the city. At first it named Rostov, and in 1807 emperor Alexander I renamed the city into Rostov-on-Don by means of a special decree to differ it from the ancient Russian city Rostov the Great. In 1811 the city received its own emblem, and in 1835 all garrison was transferred to Anapa.
Rostov-on-Don occupied favourable position on crossing the overland and water trading ways. Due to this fact it quickly expanded and developed. In the city the big trading port, where the trading ships from Greece, Italy, Turkey, Persia and other countries of Black Sea region and the Mediterranean came, was built.
In the middle of the 19th century the population of Rostov-on-Don consisted of about 15 thousand people, and at the beginning of the 20th century - already more than 110 thousand ones. In the first half of the 19th century Rostov-on-Don was mainly the merchant city, and since the second half of the 19th century the various industries started to develop here.
Among the largest enterprises founded within this period, one can note iron foundary, machine-building, mechanical, the radiator and butter-making plants, tobacco processing plant and paper mill. It is interesting to stress the fact that about one third of all enterprises in the city were founded by foreigners. In 1870s the railways were built in the directions from Rostov-on-Don to Voronezh, Kharkov and Vladikavkaz.
From the district city to capital of southern federal area of Russia
At the end of the 19th – at the beginning of the 20th centuries the power station and the factory on producing the agricultural machinery appeared in the city. In 1902 workers of the industrial enterprises of Rostov-on-Don organized the general strike which is famous in the history as «the Rostov strike».
After the revolution of 1917, Rostov-on-Don started to develop and quickly increase. In 1917, prior to the beginning of Civil war, the city was seized by armies of the "white" general A.M. Kaledin, from March till May, 1918 the center of the Soviet republic was placed here, then the city was occupied by German invaders, after them - by the armies of “white” general A.I. Denikin. Finally, in 1920 the Soviet authority was established in Rostov-on-Don.
In 1928 the town Nakhichevan-on-Don was included into Rostov-on-Don as Proletarian district. In 1937 the Rostov region was formed and Rostov-on-Don became the administrative center of this region. In 1930s the city was included into the ten largest cities of the Soviet Union. The chemical plant, the new factory of the agricultural machinery and the thermal power station, which became the first in the country, opened here. In 1935 the largest in the country for that moment drama theatre was built in Rostov-on-Don. Its hall could contain two thousand people. The building was constructed in style of constructivism and it was similar to a huge tractor.
Within the Great Patriotic war in Rostov-on-Don about 12 thousand houses were destroyed and almost all plants and factories were ruined, tens thousand people have been shot by fascists and about 50 thousand people were led away to the concentration camps. After leaving Germans the city in 1943 it was completely devastated. The city was very quickly built up anew according to the general plan of 1944-1945. The next general plan of the city’s development was accepted in 1971. It provided the construction of new residential areas, parks and squares.
Nowadays Rostov-on-Don is the administrative centre of the Rostov region and capital of southern federal area of the Russian Federation. More than one million and fifty thousand people live here. In Rostov-on-Don various industries are developing. Tractors, helicopters, river vessels, the technical equipment for light and the food industry, the radio navigating equipment are produced here. The main branches of industry are the mechanical engineering, instrument making, the food, light and chemical industries.
In the city there are fourteen institutions of higher education, about forty project institutes, four theatres, three museums, a philharmonic and circus. Among the monuments of architecture and history one can call the cathedral of Christmas of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary (1860), buildings of municipal theatre (1896) and the State Bank (1910), Volga-Kamskiy bank (1900), Teachers training institute (1912) and many others.