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Rostov-on-Don

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World Cup 2018 Rostov-on-Don is one of the hosting cities for the biggest event in soccer—the Fifa World Cup. See more information here.

Rostov-on-Don is an administrative centre of Southern Russia, and one of the largest cities in Russia, with a population of over 1 million.

Rostov-on-Don (normally referred to as simply Rostov - not to be confused with Rostov Velikiy, a much smaller town north from Moscow) is a unique city for Russia, being formed of two adjacent towns, one of which was ethnically non-Russian. Two towns, one of which was original Rostov-on-Don, and the another Nahichevan-on-Don with predominantly Armenian population, were merged in 1928. The modern city still has two distinct central areas and Armenians form a major national minority in Rostov. Former border area between two towns was turned into a modern city's main square (Teatralny square) and the biggest city park.

Get in

By plane.

Rostov-on-Don airport facade

Rostov-on-Don Airport [2] has been moved out of the city in December 2017 and now has brand new terminal, with majority of flights handled via jetways. It is located 40 km (25 miles) north-east of downtown Rostov-on-Don. About 80% of operation is domestic; however there are scheduled fligths to a number of neighboring countries including Turkey, Israel, Belarus, Armeria, Georgia, UAE, Czech Republic.

Rostov-on-Don Airport apron, domestic flights

Public transportation from the airport is currently limited to two minibus routes, both operating 24 hours. Line 285 travels to the main railway station Rostov-Glavny (as well as the main bus station and local railway terminal, all co-located near downtown). The trip takes up to 1 hour and costs 95 roubles. It is also best for the western part of city center and western part of the city. Line 286 runs to local bus station (Prigorodny Avtovokzal) at Sholokhova St and is handy for trips to the eastern part of city center, as well as north and east of the city. Price is 75 roubles and travel time is normally 35-40 minutes.

Rostov-on-Don Airport

Intervals of both routes tend to be 30 minutes with most departures in 00 and 30 minues of each hour (but intervals can reach up to 60 minutes at night). Both minbuses take either cash or contactless bank cards, seats can be limited at peak times.

Any taxi offered at the airport itself (both from official stand and unofficial touts) will be overpriced. Regular fare (approx. 600-1200 roubles depending on the destination in the city and traffic conditions) can only be obtained from mobile apps of major taxi companies (Uber, Gett, Yandex, Maxim).

The airport has automated lockers - 300 roubles for 24 hours or 100 roubles for 1 hour (bigger luggage twice that price). When departing internationally, it's possible to access domesctic airside area with better choice of cafes and shops before clearing customs and border control. However, the only budget cafe, Vkusnolubov pancake outlet, is landside near arrivals.

Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport, and there are multiple power outlets in virtually all cafes in the terminal and in sitting areas in airside. All cafes and most other facilities are 24 hours.


By train. Rostov-on-Don has several train stations, but only main station Rostov-Glavny normally handles long-distance trains (occasionally in summer, a small number of slower long-distance trains may be routed through Rostov-Pervomayski, a smaller station in the far west of Rostov - twenty-minute taxi ride from downtown). Rostov-Prigorodny terminal, located 300 metres from Rostov-Glavny, handles local and commuter rail routes.

Both Rostov-Glavny and Rostov-Prigorodny are centrally located and are only a five-minute taxi ride to downtown. Square in between, which also houses main bus station, is a major hub for city transport as well, with several dozens routes to almost anywhere in Rostov. Downtown is served from there by frequent departures of buses 3, 3A, 7, 70, 80 and trolleybuses 1, 2, 22. As with the airport, taxis ordered via the mobile app are considerably cheaper than those offered at the station itself.

Main station Rostov-Glavny has a spacious terminal with plenty of seating both in the main building and in the concourse over the tracks. Free Wi-Fi and multiple charging stations are available. Ground floor has a small food court with 3 decent food outlets, located opposite of the main entrance. Baggage lockers are near the entrance. Most facilities are 24 hours.

It's best to arrive at the station at least 10-15 minutes before departure to clear security (located in a separate pavillion before entrance) and navigate your way to the platform. As in many other Russian stations, platform numbering is complicated. For each train, both platform and track numbers are mentioned on station boards and in announcements. In Rostov, Platform 1 has Track 1 only, Platform 2 has Tracks 2 and 3, Platform 3 has Tracks 4 and 5. Same numbering is used at adjacent Rostov-Prigorodny commuter trains station.

Flying is normally the cheapest comfortable option of travelling from Moscow or Saint-Petersburg to Rostov. Trains can be cheaper in summer period of high airfares, but take at least 15 hours from Moscow and more than 24 hours from Saint-Petersburg.

By bus. If both rail and air options are expensive, express buses of various companies link Rostov and Moscow approx. 15 times daily. Trip takes 15-17 hours, normal fare is between 1000-1500 roubles as of 2018. Most such buses depart from the square between main rail and bus stations. Same place is full of ticket booths selling express bus tickets to a number of cities in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia. These can be best option for going to places without reliable air or rail link from Rostov, like Volgograd, Stavropol, Elista, or places in Ukraine.

Main bus station ("Glavny Avtovokzal") [3] itself has buses to all major places in Southern Russia, but these tend to be slower than express buses departing from outside the station. It also has services to dozens of smaller towns around. Tickets for almost all routes can be booked online on bus station website (Russian only).

A number of express buses to Moscow also travel from local bus station ("Prigorodny Avtovokzal"), Sholokhova 126. This station also handles some suburban routes.

Both bus stations are cramped and uncomfortable, with little seating space. Main staion is 24 hours, local station closes for the night.

Get around

There is no metro system in Rostov. Transportation relies mostly on buses and minibuses ("marshrutka"). Trolleybus and tram (light rail) systems are of limited use, although all trolleybus and tram routes pass through city centre. The bus system can take time to understand, but is VERY efficient and reliable, with frequent departures on most routes.

There are no day or weekly passes. However, you can buy a local transport card called Prostor for 100 roubles at almost any newsstand - but topping it up can be tricky, as it is currently done only in several dozens places across the whole city and requires understanding some Russian. The card pays off after approx. 20 trips, so it is only good for those coming for several days.

As of September 2018, standard bus fare is 24 roubles (20 roubles if paid by Prostor card or any contactless Visa or Mastercard card). Trams and trolleybuses are 17 roubles and minibuses 24 roubles irrespective of the payment method. Some minibuses don't take Prostor cards or contactless bank cards. Pay when you enter (except in minibuses, where fares are paid when exiting). Free or discounted transfers are not provided. There are no conductors or ticket inspectors in Rostov, and passengers normally don't bother to take tickets after payment.

Make sure to have YandexTransport mobile app on your phone. It shows the real time movement of all buses, trams, trolleybuses and most minibuses. It also shows any chosen vehicle's route on a map - so you can see where this or that bus could bring you. YandexMaps app has the same capability if in city transport mode. Web map with simular functions can be found on local website [4]. Some buses and all minibuses have their entire route listed on the side (in Russian only). Alternatively, route schemes in both Russian and English are posted on some bus stops in the city centre only; just show up to the bus stop, determine the bus number, and wait.

Minibuses are allowed to pick up and drop off passengers at any point along the route - provided that stopping there is not forbidden by road signs. Buses, trolleybuses and trams are supposed to call at designated stops only, but if you are desperate to catch some particular vehicle outside a stop (e.g. in early or late hours or being in a hurry), just flag it down - the vast majority of drivers would stop and pick you up.

Buses and especially minibuses in Rostov can get crowded in peak times, but tourists staying in city centre are less likely to experience this. More of a problem is disappearance of most routes at about 9-10 p.m. Very limited service on certain routes operates between 11 p.m. and midnight. In the morning, most routes start operation between 5 and 6 a.m. No night buses exist.

Buses in Rostov are notorious for long waits (up to 3-4 minutes) at certain stops, where they try to collect more passengers. Introducing of non-cash payments in 2017 has led to diminishing of this problem, however it is not yet solved. Expect a bus taking 5-15 minutes more for the same route than minibus.

For a taxi, it's best to use mobile apps of major companies (Uber, Gett, Yandex, Maxim). As with most taxi companies in Russia, only some of the vehicles carry company livery, so the absence of such livery doesn't mean the taxi is unlicensed or suspicious. Just make sure that registration plate matches the one mentioned in the app. Local Leader taxi [5] can be booked online, probably with Google translate. Recently, Uber has begun operations here [6].

A taxi ride within the city center normally costs 100-150 roubles, a trip from centre to the outskirts can set you back 200-250 roubles - however the price can go up 2-3 times in peak times such as Friday or Saturday nights or in bad weather conditions. A word of warning: as in the rest of Russia, unlicensed taxi drivers may attempt to scam foreigners. ALWAYS determine the fare to your destination before getting in the taxi (mobile apps would normally quote the approximate price when you make the order).

See

  • Don River Lookout, Beregovaya ulitsa. (47.215538,39.721733) Often referred to as "The Enbankment", visitors and locals alike will enjoy a stroll along the riverside. More than a picturesque view, the Embankment is lined with several restaurants, statues, lighted fountains, and a few shops; It is the center of nightlife in Rostov. Several steamboats are docked along the bank, and tickets for hour-long excursions can be purchased at the ticket booths on location for about 200 rubles.
  • An Obelisk at Teatralnaya square, Teatralnaya ploshad. (47.226097,39.745800) Affectionally dubbed "Stella", by locals, the obelisk appears as a winged tower, across the street from Maxim Gorky Drama Theatre. As one approaches the obelisk, inscriptions honoring the arts, science, agriculture, military, and education can be seen at the base. On the south side of the obelisk, the golden lady (Stella) hovers between the wings.
  • Pushkin Street. Visitors may enjoy a stroll down this highly ornate, landscaped boulevard, lined with thousands of trees, restaurants, food kiosks, flowers, benches, statues, and memorials. A favorite sight near the eastern end of the boulevard are the wrought-iron globes, depicting scenes from Pushkin's most popular works. Pushkin Street leads into both the City Park (Park Gorkovo) and October Revolution Park, where visitors will see more meticulously cultivated garden beds and other diversions such as amusement parks and souvenir kiosks.
  • Underground Tile Work, While perhaps not the most impressive sight, tile mosaics (depicting scenes of Soviet life, found on the walls of underground street crossings ("perekhody"), make for a momentary distraction. Though mosaics are found under several street crossings on Bolshaya Sadovaya Street, the most beautiful and well-maintained mosaics are under the intersection of Boshaya Sadovaya and Buddyonoskiy Prospect. Note: Appreciate the tile work as you walk; do not stop and stare, or you will block other pedestrians.

Note: Many statues and monuments not listed here can be found in almost every public park and major street of Rostov.

Do

File:Don River in Rostov.jpg
Don River in Rostov-on-Don
  • Rostov State Opera and Ballet, (134 Bolshaya Sadovaya Street), [1]. Rostov has a nice Musical Theatre,which is not located far from the Maxim Gorky Drama Theatre. Most operas are sung in an original language. Ballets are exquisitely choreographed and are invariably accompanied by extravagant sets. Refreshments are almost always sold in the lobby during intermission (for an inflated price). Most Rostov locals will dress formally (but practically) while attending a ballet or opera. $10-$40 / 400-1500 rubles.
  • Rostov-on-Don ZooPark [7], This zoo is well worth a visit, especially if one is accompanied by children. As one of the largest in Russia, the ZooPark is home to a staggering variety of animals, including giraffes, camels, polar bears, falcons, reptiles, fish, and simians. Entrance costs only 200 rubles for adults and 100 rubles for children. To get there, take the #6 Bus from the Central Rinok and exit at the stop "ZooPark".
  • Shopping at the Central Rinok, "Rinok" might be translated at "bazaar" or "farmer's market". This massive outdoor-and-indoor assortment of tiny shops and booths can be both exciting and intimidating for Westerners, who are unaccustomed to either haggling/ bargaining or being yelled at by shopkeepers. Shopping at a Rinok is one of the most memorable experiences that Russia has to offer for an adventurous North American, so don't be put off by the different feel of things. The majority of the Rinok is devoted to food and clothing, but you can buy anything here. Yes, anything (though it might take a while to find). Even if one does not speak the language, shopping at the Rinok is far preferable to shopping at the nearby, overpriced, department stores. Just let the money do the talking. The Rinok is located downtown, on Stanislavskovo Street, just four blocks south of the central intersection of Bolshaya Sadovaya Street and Buddyonovskiy Prospect.
  • Maxim Gorky Academic Drama Theatre. (1 Teatralnaya Ploshad), [8] Despite the name, this theatre is a venue not only for dramatic plays, but also comedies and concerts. The theatre is located on the eastern end of Bolshaya Sadovaya Street, directly across the street from the monument known as "Stella". Even throughout the summer months (when other theatres may be closed), Maxim Gorky Theatre still operates. Prices will vary depending on the show, but tickets are generally inexpensive when compared to other large theatres.
  • Stroll Through October Revolution Park, More than just a wooded area, this park is filled with things to do: amusement park rides, ping-pong tables, and a petting zoo, just to name a few.
  • Stroll Through the City Park (45 Bolshaya Sadovaya Street), Sometimes called "Park Gorkovo", this park is filled with beautiful flower beds, a full amusement park, restaurants, and souvenir kiosks.

Buy

Most Western-style shopping malls are in the outskirts of the city. The two relatively close to the centre are:

  • Gorizont (Горизонт) [9] at 32 Nagibina Av, 10-minute ride from the centre. Biggest mall in Rostov, with 300+ shops, cafes, cinema etc. Served by 20+ bus and minibus routes.
  • Megamag (Мегамаг) [10] on the left bank of the Don river. Take minibuses 49, 77, 92 along Voroshilovsky Av.

The best shopping can be done at the Central Rynok (Bazaar/ Farmer's Market) in downtown Rostov. (See "Do" Section, above). This Rynok, located on Stanoslavskovo Street sells everything. It is an interesting place but be careful, criminal's activity possible.

For a more Western-type mall experience, check out the new Megamag Shopping-Entertainment Complex (Megamag TrK) on the south bank of the Don River, or another on East exit from Rostov (Sholohova st, road to Moscow). Take a #75 or #73 bus from the Central Rinok across the bridge to 1 Poymennaya Street, on the stop "Megamag".

If you are uncomfortable speaking Russian, but need to buy groceries downtown in a familiar supermarket-type environment, try either Zelenyy Perekrestok (49 Buddyonovskiy Prospect, bottom floor of the department store "Astor"), or Magnit (146 Bolshaya Sadovaya Street, next to the State Ballet and Opera Theatre).

It is not recommended to shop in the upscale department stores (such as TsUM, on the corner of Bolshaya Sadovaya and Buddyonovskiy), where prices are inflated and store clerks are intimidating.

Many souvenirs sellers, graphists, painters with his pictures, may be founded in undergrounds at "Voroshilovskiy prosp / Sadovaya st" and "Buddyonovskiy prosp / Sadovaya st", in Gorky's Park in Saturday and Sunday, at Beregovaya st.

If you are interested in "swap meet", visit "Radio Rynok" (radio market) on Guseva str (on hill), it works Saturdays and Sundays from 09.00 to approx. 13.00. You may see old "one-storey" Rostov near that market, cobblestones roads, and look for different electronic used equipment near (outside) that market, many from soviet era: radio receivers, headphones, old vynil, electronic parts and other. Inside market, under roof, you may find used and new electronic stuff, TVs, cell phones, notebooks, CDs and other. This is an interesting place for nerds and retro-electronics collectors.

Eat

Rostov has enourmous choice of eateries of all sorts. As with other southern places, locas have a passion for good food. This results in overwhelming quantity of cafes everywhere and a whole 3-kilometer strip of restaurants on the left bank of Don river. Most Russian chains and some international ones, such as Starbucks, McDonalds, Subway etc, are also present.

Rostov also has several local chains of cafes and fast food outlets. The ones with decent budget food are:

  • Vkusnolubov (Вкуснолюбов) pancake outlets [11] come in the form of both street kiosks and sit-down cafes. Several dozens locations in the city and the region.
  • Zolotoy Kolos (Золотой Колос) [12] has two dozens cafeterias and even more street kiosks. The chain is very popular for their outstanding cakes and confectionery (but for anything more than that try other places).
  • Pit Coffee (Пить Кофе) [13] has about a dozen restaurants, half of them 24 hours, with wast and inexpensive menu. English-language menus were available as of World Cup 2018.

For a more upscale experience in the city centre, try a bunch of restaurants located in the former tobacco factory building. Korova (Корова)[14] (Gazetny 84), Bukovsky (Буковски), Vino & Myaso (Вино & Мясо) (both at Gazetny 99) are among many options there.

If an English-speaking visitor wishes to eat in a sit-down restaurant, be warned that in southern Russia most restaurants do not carry a copy of their menu in English. Also, service at these restaurants is slow compared to North American sit-down restaurants. It is not uncommon to spend half an hour waiting for your meal, even when the restaurant is not busy. For travelers on a budget, be warned that a meal for two in these restaurants often costs more than 1500 rubles ($40), and the portions are comically small.

Perhaps preferable is the cafeteria-style restaurant that is ubiquitous in Russia, where non-Russian speakers can point at items on display, or load up a tray. Most cafeterias carry good quality, authentically Russian food at reasonable prices.

For those of you still reading who still want to go to a sit-down restaurant, the best ones are on the River Embankment (See section "See", above), on the north bank of the Don. These include: Frau Mueller (Фрау Мюллер) (German Cuisine, 29 Beregovaya Street), Osaka (Japanese Cuisine, 30 Beregovaya Street), and any of the ship restaurants docked at the bank.

Drink

Tap water is relatively safe, but definitely not recommended for drinking or using for tea or cooking. Use bottled water instead (See "Buy" section, above), available in 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 or 5 litre bottles almost everywhere for 15-50 roubles. In summer time kvass points pop up on streets (Starominskiy, Otlichnik and other kvass).

Sleep

Westerners will appreciate the Don Plaza Hotel (sometimes called the "Intourist"). This four-star hotel is a three-star on the North American rating, and features a fantastic free breakfast buffet. I'm not kidding. This breakfast is freaking amazing. The Don Plaza has quite small rooms and spotty Wi-Fi, but makes up for those shortcomings with a really, really, really, really good breakfast menu.

Other options for hotels with less-illustrious breakfasts include the Hotel Rostov (corner of Krasnoarmeskaya Street and Buddyonovskiy Prospect) and the Hermitage Hotel (54 Ulyanovskaya Street).

Contact

Consulates

  • Am-flag.png Armenia (General Consulate), Sovetskaya street, 24, +7 (863) 269-7239 (, fax: +7 (863) 269-7240).
  • Fr-flag.png France (Honourary Consulate), Zhuravleva street, 37, +7 (863) 295-0090 (fax: +7 (863) 295-00997).
  • Ro-flag.png Romania (General Consulate), 7th Line street, 18/39, +7 (863) 253-0861, 230-2915, 227-5925 (, fax: +7 (863) 223-6293).
  • Lo-flag.png Slovakia (Honourary Consulate), Bogatyanovsky Spusk, 27, office 215, (fax: +7 (863) 227-7324).
  • Up-flag.png Ukraine (General Consulate), Khalturinsky pereulok, 28/40, +7 (863) 227-05-51, 227-05-53 (, fax: +7 (863) 62-57-89). 9AM - 6PM.

Visa Centers

  • Bu-flag.png Ez-flag.png Da-flag.png Gr-flag.png Ic-flag.png Mt-flag.png Nl-flag.png Sp-flag.png Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Malta, Netherlands, and Spain (EU Visa Center), Semashko per., 117 G, +7 (863) 237-89-72 (fax: +7 (863) 269-7240).

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