Rostov-on-the-Don - Encyclopedia

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ROSTOV-ON-THE-DON, a seaport of Russia, in the territory of the Don Cossacks, well situated on the high right bank of the Don, 13 m. from its mouth in the Sea of Azov. In 1731 a small fort was erected on an island in the Don, near its mouth. Thirty years later the fortifications were transferred to the site now occupied by Rostov, 5 m. above the head of the first branch of the delta of the Don. The Don, which has here a breadth of 230 to 250 yds., with a hardly perceptible current, offers an excellent roadstead. The navigation, however, is considerably impeded by the shallowness of the river. Dredging operations have but partially remedied this. Moreover, the river is frostbound for more than one hundred days in the year. The population has grown rapidly: while in 1881 it was 70,700, in 1897 it numbered 119,889, and in 1905 126,375, exclusive of the suburbs; if these, which comprise Nakhichevan (32,582(32,582 in 1905) be included, the population is well over 160,000, a figure which is still further swollen in the summer by the influx of about 60,000 men, who find work in connexion with the shipment of grain for export. The permanent population includes 15,000 Jews, 5000 Armenians, with Tatars, Poles, Germans and others. In Nakhichevan there are 20,500 Armenians. Owing to its situation on the navigable river Don and at the junction of three railways, radiating to north-western Russia, Caucasia and the Volga respectively, Rostov has become the chief seaport of south-eastern Russia, being second in importance on the Black Sea to Odessa only. It is the chief centre for the supply of agricultural machinery to the steppe governments of southeastern Russia. On an average, £3,000,000 to £4,000,000 worth of wheat, about £i,000,000 worth of rye, and over £1,500,000 worth of barley are exported annually, besides oats, flax, linseed, rape seed, oilcake, bran, flour, vegetable oils, raw wool and caviare. The imports average between four and five millions sterling annually, and consist largely of agricultural machinery. There are a shipbuilding yard, flour-mills, tobacco factories, iron works, machinery works, distilleries, soap works, timber mills, bell foundries, paper mills and rope works. Rostov is the chief centre of steam flour-mills for south-eastern Russia and Caucasia. Two fairs, one of which has considerable importance for the whole of south-eastern Russia, are held here yearly. Rostov has excellent fisheries. The town has a cathedral, a fine town hall (1897-99), navigation schools, technical schools, and a good municipal library.

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