Rostov Oblast is a region rich in history. The steppes of the Don retain the memories of the Cossacks, Scythians, Sarmatians, and Greeks. The Don, one of Europe's longest rivers, flows through the region and is celebrated in the works of Mikhail Sholokhov, whose museum you can visit in the village of Vyoshenskaya. Taganrog, the birthplace of Anton Chekhov, is home to a museum-reserve. The ancient ruins of the city of Tanais and the secrets of the Aksay catacombs, discovered one thousand years ago, await lovers of antiquities and researchers.
The Don River with its channels and tributaries; the Azov Sea and Taganrog Bay; the Tsimlyansk Reservoir and the Don and Priazov steppes create a unique and unforgettable image of Rostov Oblast.
The Don is associated with the works of Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Sholokhov, and Nikolai Turoverov. A unique community of people has formed here over many years, with their own way of life, common interests, traditions and work—the Don Cossacks. The region's history is closely associated with the names of famous Don Cossacks fr om the 16th–18th centuries: Yermak Timofeyevich, Stepan Razin, Kondraty Bulavin, Yemelyan Pugachev, and Matvei Platov. The glorious history of the Don is associated with the Russian emperors Peter the Great and Alexander I.
Since ancient times, the Cossacks have tried to surround themselves with beautiful things. Each Cossack homestead and village was home to different types of artisans, mostly potters, and basket makers. Pottery and wicker work—from fishing traps to fine nets, from intricate to wicker furniture—were used by Cossacks from ancient times.
The regions's main tourist centers are the cities of Rostov-on-Don, Novocherkassk, Azov, Taganrog and Aksaysky, Azovsky, Neklinovsky, Ust-Donetsky, Belokalitvinsky, Tsimlyansky, and Sholokhovsky districts.
Novocherkassk is home to the Museum of the History of Don Cossacks, a 19th century building with two cast iron cannons standing at its entrance. The museum is the only such museum in the world and has a collection of more than 190,000 items associated with Cossack culture.
The museums of the Don bring together unique collections of Scythian-Sarmatian period gold, an excellent ethnographic collection representing the various national cultures in the Don region, Cossack household items and paintings from famous artists of the 18th–20th centuries.
In the small town of Aksay, the locals have a superstitious fear of its famous underground passages. The first catacombs were dug for religious reasons by inhabitants of the ancient village of Kobyakov about 2,000 years ago and later generations added to the network with new labyrinths. So now there is a real underground town under Aksay and its surroundings, wh ere, according to legend, various strange phenomena occur.
The Rostovsky Nature Reserve is a unique example of wild nature; it entices with its sea of flowering feather grass, its silent salty lakes and fascinating world of plants and animals. Lake Manych-Gudilo, which is twice as salty as the Dead Sea, is one of the largest lakes in Europe. Vodny Island in the middle of the lake is inhabited by a herd of wild horses, one of the attractions of the Rostovsky Nature Reserve.