07 Dec Rostov in One Day. Explore Golden Ring
Escape from busy and noisy Moscow and spend your weekend break in Rostov. Rostov (or Rostov Velikiy) is one of the towns, which belong to Golden Ring, a complex of historic settlements located northeast of Moscow. Among many other attractions, Rostov is known for The Rostov Kremlin, which in old Russian language meant a citadel or a fortress.
Many Russian cities, which are older then 900 years have their own kremlins, which are fortress walls with ancient buildings on their territories. But the true is, that Rostov Kremlin has never been a real Kremlin (a real fortress). Its walls wouldn’t be able to protect the city from conquerors if there were any. The story of Kremlin goes back to its founder Ion Sysoevich, very energetic and entrepreneurial former Moscow patriarch, who was sent away from the capital not to be involved in an important decision making process. So he founded the city of Rostov in 1670-1683.
Assumption Cathedral. One of the main attractions of Rostov is which stands right outside the Rostov Kremlin. It has a famous bell tower: it has 15 bells and the heaviest one weights more than 32 tones. It is still uncertain when exactly this cathedral was built, but most of the historians say it took place in 1508-1512. When Ion Sysoevich started building the Rostov Kremlin he slightly changed the exteriors of the Assumption Cathedral, because back in these years, Rostov was the center of Russian Orthodox church, so the Cathedral had to have proper festive appearance.
Nowadays, Rostov Kremlin serves as a museum, so you have to buy tickets to get inside the territory and the separate ticket for each building. Our personal recommendation is to get to the top of their bell tower, because it will give you an amazing view to the Kremlin’s territory and to the Nerl Lake.
The other interesting city landmark is the Monastery of St. Jacob Saviour (Spaso-Iakovsky Monastery). It is situated in the outskirts of Rostov, but as the city is small it will take you around 15-20 min on foot to get there from Rostov’s Kremlin. This monastery was found in 1389. The complex has very special exterior, not typical because many churches and the gates to the monastery are made in the Empire style. So we can see very beautiful elements, a lot of details on roofs, columns and bas-reliefs. The monastery is functioning until today.
Just outside, nearby the wall there is a kiosk, where goods made by monks are sold (different dairy product kefir, ryazhenka, snezhok, cheese, also some bakery) – everything is really tasty and deserves trying!
Rostov is also famous for traditional Russian jewellery, called finift. Finift is an old art, which came to Russia from Bizantine Empire in the 10th century and spread here in the 16-17th centuries. Finift is unique painting on enamel. In their factory, there is an opportunity to see how the production process, to visit the museum of finift and of course to buy these beautiful pieces. If you just want to buy something, visit the small souvenir shop in Rostov’s Kremlin (though the choice is not great there). Rostov finift is also available in many souvenir shops in Moscow.
Address: Rostov, Borisoglebovskoe shosse, 3
Fun fact about Rostov: One of the legendary soviet movies “Ivan Vasilyevich: back to the future” a super hilarious comedy about Soviet life and Ivan the Terrible times was partly shut in Rostov Kremlin.
Where to eat in Rostov?
There are many cafes with very fair prices just outside of Kremlin. We usually choose “Alyosha Popovich” (Address: Karla Marksa st, 1), it has tasty pancakes and Russian soups.