Rostov the Great

Rostov (often called Rostov the Great to reflect its role in the Russian history and distinguish it from its younger namesake Rostov-on-Don) is one of the oldest towns in Russia and an imporatant tourist centre of the Golden Ring. First mentioned in the year 862 as an already important settlement, by the 13th century, Rostov became capital city of one of the most prominent Russian principalities. It was incorporated into Muscovy in 1474.

Even after it lost its independence, Rostov was still an ecclesiastic center of utmost importance (from 988 it was the see of one of the first Russian bishoprics). In the 14th Century, the bishops of Rostov became archbishops, and late in the 16th century, metropolitans. One of those metropolitans, Iona (Jonah) Sysoevich (ca. 1607-1690), commissioned the town's main landmark: the kremlin (citadel) that many regard as the finest outside of Moscow. Rostov kremlin became the last great architectural ensemble built in the Russian classical style.

Rostov is located on the shores of Lake Nero, 202 km to the north east of Moscow. On the sunny days the brightly colored domes of the Rostov's monasteries are reflected in the water of the lake. Apart from its history, Rostov is renowned for its enamels. Enameled silver brooches and rings have become as famous symbol of the city as its architectural masterpieces and the city's main souvenir.