Rostov-on-Don is a flamboyant cosmopolitan metropolis with a vibe of a Southern port city like Odesa or Marseille. A geometrical grid of streets lined with late 19th-century-early 20th-century houses sweeps down towards the mighty Don. There's a certain level of bustle and clutter in its street, but just enough to handle and find it charming. Yet the delusive order of the city's grid system falls apart when you reach one of the major avenues dividing Rostov into several parts. To get away from the crowd, noise and traffic, peek into one of the typical southern courtyards living their own peaceful life with vine-cloaked open galleries, washing lines strung across the yard, children, cats and dogs playing around.
There's a profound sense of the union between the city and the river which is also reflected in the city's name. In fact, Rostov's logistic success is based on its strategic location on the Don River which flows into the Azov Sea, leading into the Black Sea, and is connected to the Caspian Sea via the Volga-Don channel. It is also an important railway junction which connects the South of Russia and the Caucasus with the rest of Russia.