What to do in Rostov on Don

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What to do in Rostov-on-Don

Ploshchad Sovetov, What to do in Rostov on Don, Russia, Travelling for Fun: A huge statue of soldiers in Sovetov Square in the middle of Rostov. This is alongside the main street of Bolshaya Sadovaya.Rostov-on-Don (Rostov-na-Donu) is situated, well, on the Don River and wouldn’t be a focal point for any traveller to Russia really unless you are a mad tractor racing fan which takes place during the summer. Almost but not quite on the coast of the Black Sea, I stopped there for 2 days to break up a train journey and it was interesting to see but honestly there is no major focal attraction. It is pleasant to walk around with lots of parks and during the summer a trip on a boat down the Don River to relax is an option but even with all this there is not much to draw you to the city. Walks alone aren’t a reason to visit Rostov. I came from Volgograd with is another big city by a river but at least it had the behemoth statue Mamayev Kurgan.

Time to Do: 1 day should get you to see almost all the attractions below. 2 days to enjoy more strolling in the parks and to explore the greater city area.

Be careful if visiting during the spring months as when I was there the footpaths were lethal. Humps of snow, hollows, ice, water all underfoot as you make your way to the pharmacy. There didn’t seem to be any city council clearing at all unlike Moscow and Volgograd where the main thoroughfares were kept clear. Rostov-on-Don must have the nimblest old people in the world! Regardless of a single main attraction I will give my list for what to do in Rostov for any of you prospective tourists.

What to do in Rostov on Don – Pushkinskaya Ulitsa. (Pushkin Street)

Pushkinskaya Street, What to do in Rostov on Don, Russia, Travelling for Fun: The writer Pushkin surveys the pedestrian street named after him. This walkway is full of cafe’s and walkers.

The main walking promenade of Rostov on Don and the centre of all that is relaxing in the city centre. The 3.5km walk named after the Poet Pushkin starts at the children’s park October Revolution (Oktyabrskoy Revolutsyii) and heads in a straight line west. Pushkinskaya is lined with flowers, cafe’s, restaurants and little statues and is very popular on the weekend with locals. This tree lined walkway passes the Don State Public Library which is one of the biggest libraries outside Moscow and is quite an ugly modern building. Pushkinskaya also skirts the northern edge of the city’s main Gorodskoy Sad (Maxim Gorky) Park right in the city centre. Pushkinskaya Ul. doesn’t lead to anywhere in particular and ends abruptly on a residential street.

What to do in Rostov on Don – Rozhdestva Presvjatoj Bogoroditsy’s Cathedral (Nativity of the Virgin)

Rozhdestva Presvjatoj Bogoroditsy's Cathedral (Nativity of the Virgin), What to do in Rostov on Don, Russia, Travelling for Fun: Rozhdestva Cathedral is the centre point of religion in Rostov. Restoration work was going on while I was there which included the start of replacing the golden balls on the top.Quite a mouthful. The main cathedral in Rostov-on-Don and at the time of writing were in the process of making new onions down the bottom to replace the golden balls on top.  This 1860 built Russian Orthodox cathedral is similar to other cathedrals found in Russia. Dmitry Rostovsky has his statue in the square in front which is usually full of people going to and from the nearby market (see below). Women must cover their head upon entering.




What to do in Rostov on Don – The Local Market

This is located mainly around the back of the Rozhdestva Cathedral and has everything from clothes, shoes, fish, meat to delicatessens and fancy salads sold by Chinese ladies! The market doesn’t sell anything touristy like souvenirs as Rostov doesn’t get too many tourists but it is still worth a look around to see and smell what the locals do.

What to do in Rostov on Don – The Embankment

Tartar King, What to do in Rostov on Don, Russia, Travelling for Fun: On the embankment down by the Don River there are plenty of little statues to gaze at while strolling on the pier. The embankment gets very busy during the summer months.The writer Sholokhov has his much publicised piece, in this part of the world, ‘And quiet flows the Don’ so when you look into the river you can appreciate the silence. The Embankment is another walk in the park. Well, it’s not quite a park but it is just as good as this makes its way along by the slow flow of the Don River. During the summer there is lots of entertainment from street performers and trips to be had on the Don River by boat. The river was covered in ice when I was there and had an icebreaker making some slow progress against the frozen mass but during the summer you can get tours along the river from 1hr to longer. There is even a ‘discotheque’ boat! Prices from 130Ru for a 1hr tour in the morning. http://dontour.ru/

What to do in Rostov on Don – The Memorial Stele

Memorial Stele, What to do in Rostov on Don, Russia, Travelling for Fun: This huge memorial is a celebration of the liberation from the Nazi’s. It is one of the nicer tourist attractions in Rostov-on-Don.A little east of the city centre is a 72mtr (236ft) high memorial of the liberation of Rostov-on-Don from the Nazi’s. Nobody does memorial quite like the Russians. This tall stele with a golden angel at the top was erected in 1983 in the same square that had laid bare since the fifties because of a lack of money to build the design that won 2 separate memorial competitions in the fifties. Definitely worth a look.




What to do in Rostov on Don – Parks and Gardens

Maxim Gorky Park, What to do in Rostov on Don, Russia, Travelling for Fun: Just outside the main park in Rostov and close to Lenin’s statue is a man and his dog! Rostov-on-Don loves statues.The parks I mention here are around the city centre. There are also some larger parks dotted around the city but are too numerous to mention. Some of the main parks can be encountered while walking along Pushinskaya Ulitsa such as the children’s park of October Revolution on the east end of it and the main park of Maxim Gorky in the centre with the main Bolshaya Sadovaya Street on the other side. Other small parks such as 1 Maya and Cherevichnikina Park which are close by (see map below).



What to do in Rostov on Don – Statue over Bridge

A little embarrassing but I don’t know what the name of this statue as it doesn’t seem to be on any maps but it is a big one and on top of the hill and again is not a WWII memorial but one for workers strikes in 1902.

The statue is just over the bridge of the Temernick River (small river that flows to the Don) and is where the tram line that was going east to west changes to go from north to south on Stachki Prospekt  Bridge on Stachki Street a few blocks south of the main Bolshaya Sadovaya Street.

Practicalities – About Rostov-on-Don

€1 = 49 Russian Rubles, US$1 = 36 Ru

  • Language – Russian. And almost only Russian. Very little English spoken by anybody outside the tourist industry and hotels. I found though that people once asked are very helpful. Very few signs (road, tram etc) are in English. Practice charades before you go!
    • TIP: As mentioned in other Russian posts it was invaluable to me to be able to read Russian (Cyrillic). I spent a few hours learning how to pronounce the letters before I left  and it made things so much easier. You will be familiar with almost all from English and from school maths. You don’t need to speak Russian or anything but just so you can pronounce the names of places so you know where you are or which way to go from signs.
  • Bus – Rostov on Don has a good bus service. There are blue electric buses, trolleybuses and there are smaller yellow vans called marshrutkas. The buses cost 12Ru per journey and the marshrutkas are similar but depends on the distance.
  • City tram getting stuck....again, What to do in Rostov on Don, Russia, Travelling for Fun: The driver going mad as this was the 4th time in 30minutes that somebody’s car was blocking the tracks. Some people just don’t have any brains I think.Tram – Rostov-on-Don has a tram system. This run from east of the city centre for 8km westwards and ends on Rostov-Glavnyy train station. It costs 15Ru per journey. The tram passes straight in front of the Nativity of the Virgin Cathedral. The tram is old but still works well. The only downside is that it runs on the road and if somebody parks their car arseways and over the tracks then the tram has to wait until they move it. Queue hilariously angry scenes from the driver beeping and shouting. This happened 4 times in 30minutes on one journey. Still though people usually haven’t gone too far.
  • Train- Rostov-on-Don is well connected by train to both Moscow and other cities. Rostov-Glavnyy train station is the last stop on the tram line and is approx a 12story building. The previous stop is also a train station but a local one I think. We got the train from Volgograd to Rostov-on-Don. It is 13hrs despite only being 470km which means you tip along at snails pace. http://eng.rzd.ru/
  • Flights- Rostov-on-Don has an international airport north east of the city and is mainly fed by Aeroflot (www.aeroflot.com/cms/en), S7 airlines (www.s7.ru/en/) and Rusline (www.rusline.aero/). But FlyDubai and airlines from surrounding countries also fly to Rostov-na-Donu.
  • Accommodation – US$100 per night for an average double room. As one publication said; ‘Rostov has 30 hotels to choose from’! 30? In a city of over a million that is very few.
  • Beer – A pint of beer cost approximately 150 Rubles. The cheapest drink I found in Russia was in a pizza place near the Memorial Stele of 100Ru for 1litre of beer!
  • Visa: All foreigners must get a visa pre-arrival for Russia but a number of countries (usually old USSR) don’t need a visa.  You can get single, double or multiple entry (costs vary) and you must specify the dates you enter and exit the country. Your passport must be valid for at least the following 6 months. General info can be found on Russian Visa’s here www.russianembassy.org/page/general-visa-information but contact each individual countries embassy for charges.
  • Population of Rostov-on-Don: 1 million

Map of Rostov-on-Don

What to do in Rostov-on-Don, Russia

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Pushkinskaya Ulitsa. (Pushkin Street): 47.226184, 39.719310
Rozhdestva Presvjatoj Bogoroditsy\'s Cathedral (Nativity of the Virgin): 47.217149, 39.712089
The Local Market: 47.217229, 39.713645
The Don Embankment - Walk by the River: 47.217149, 39.726605
The Memorial Stele: 47.226541, 39.745617
October Revolution Park: 47.230366, 39.745059
Statue of Bridge - (sorry don\'t know the name): 47.213622, 39.692960
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Pushkinskaya Ulitsa. (Pushkin Street)
Russia, Rostov Oblast, Rostov-on-Don, Pushkinskaya ulitsa
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Rozhdestva Presvjatoj Bogoroditsy's Cathedral (Nativity of the Virgin)
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The Local Market
Russia, Rostov Oblast, Rostov-on-Don
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The Don Embankment - Walk by the River
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The Memorial Stele
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October Revolution Park
Russia, Rostov Oblast, Rostov-on-Don
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Statue of Bridge - (sorry don't know the name)
Russia, Rostov Oblast, Rostov-on-Don

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Ross Travellingforfun

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I have ducked, dived, bungeed, burned, skydived, surfed, volunteered, volcanoed, crossed continents, conquered mountains, got robbed, got sick and got drunk and I hope this website will inspire you to do the same.