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Merchant Pyotr Maksimov, Rostov’s first millionaire who had made his fortune in grain trading, had this house built in 1867, presumably to the design of Trofim Sharzhinsky. This late-classical masterpiece was among the first stone buildings to be constructed in Rostov-on-Don. At different times, the building was occupied by City Hall (which would later on move into its own building), by the office of the local merchant community leader, and it served as a courthouse for a while. Mayor Andrei Baikov, who ran Rostov throughout the latter half of the 19th century, had his office here. Pavel Chekhov, the father of the great writer, worked in this building.

Maksimov’s House is located in the historic part of downtown Rostov, next to the legendary Old Marketplace (now Central Market), and the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady. Plan to fit all the three landmarks into one tour.

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The students of Southern Federal University (SFU), and the students of Rostov State University before it, know this building in Rostov’s main pedestrian street, Pushkinskaya, as Zonalka, or SFU zonal library. And yet this majestic neoclassical mansion wasn’t always a 'temple of science'. Leonid Eberg, a famous local architect, designed it in 1914 to the order of Nikolai Paramonov of an influential merchant family.

A publisher and patron of the arts, Paramonov lived here with his family until 1918, when the house became property of a communist party institution. A few years later it would serve as the headquarters of the White volunteer army. The mansion is currently under reconstruction, but can be appreciated from outside.

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Georgy Pustovoytov, a Rostov ship-owner and patron of the arts, ordered this art deco building constructed on a central Rostov street in 1910. It was the city’s tallest building at the time. It is believed that the architect on the project, Evgeny Gulin, had modelled his creation on the Singer House in St. Petersburg. It is, indeed, easy to see certain affinities in the look of the two buildings.

Pustovoytov’s house was destroyed during the Second World War, but subsequently restored, augmented with a new annex, and rebranded as TsUM, Tsentralnyi Universalnyi Magazin. And that is how several generations of Rostovites have known the former Pustovoitov Trading House.

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One of the finest buildings in Rostov-on-Don, the stately City Hall was built in 1899 to the design of the great Aleksander Pomerantsev. Along with many other Pomerantsev creations, this eclectic masterpiece with baroque elements is today one of the city’s signature landmarks.

The ground floor was originally leased to various retail establishments, while City Hall officials worked on the second, third and fourth floors. Like many other buildings in the city, this one suffered heavy damage during the Second World War, but was subsequently restored.

It’s still City Hall, like it was a hundred years ago. The Pomerantsev masterpiece looks great by day, but make sure you see it again at night, when crafty illumination makes it look like a palace.

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The exact year is not on record when this mansion was built for the Rostov merchant and horse breeder, Ivan Suprunov. However, it can be stated with certainty that it was built in the early 1900s. They say that Suprunov fell in love with an amazing Italian mansion he had seen once while walking around some Italian town. So obsessed was Suprunov with that mansion he bought it for a million rubles, had it taken apart and shipped to Rostov, where it was reassembled. There is another legend that sounds more convincing.

Suprunov visited the World Fair in Brussels in 1910, and was inspired by what he saw there. He returned with a clear vision of a marble and majolica-decorated house in his head. The Suprunovs lived in this house until 1918. It was almost completely destroyed during the war, but some of the pre-1917 façade finishing had survived and was later restored.

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Another eclectic masterpiece, which must not be overlooked when exploring Rostov-on-Don, Masalitina’s House was designed by a well-known architect, Grigory Vasiliev, and assumed to have been built in 1890. Its central architectural feature is the belvedere, capped by a dome with a spire, which was partially destroyed during the Second World War. The damaged parts of the belvedere and the dome have been restored.

The house used to belong to the merchant family of Masalitin before 1917. They sold confectionery, sausages and watches in separate shops on the ground floor. There is a restaurant on the ground floor now.

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Another art deco specimen, this house once belonged to factory-owner Georgy Kistov, who had made his fortune in wood trading.

Assumed to have been designed by Grigory Vasiliev, the house was completed in 1914. Only local historians know the history of this building before 1935, when it became the administrative headquarters of Rostov State University, now Southern Federal University. Some architectural elements from before 1917 are still evident, despite the facelift restoration. The façade looks particularly interesting with its mouldings, little balconies, corbel-piece and semi-columns.

This beautifully preserved building once was a boarding house owned by Vladimir Chirikov, who also owned a local confectionery factory. Chirikov had asked a friend of his, the architect Leonid Eberg, to design it. The majestic building in an eclectic style was completed by 1914, taking the pride of place at Taganrogsky (now Budyonnovsky) Prospekt of Rostov-on-Don.

Chirikov targeted well-to-do tenants, so his apartments had all the modern amenities like electricity, running water and sanitation. Some apartments had as many as six or even seven rooms. During the Soviet years, members of the City Soviet lived here. Now it is the city’s police headquarters.

The architect Nikolai Doroshenko had created a great many buildings in Rostov-on-Don, most of them along the lines of eclecticism, in the 13 years that he lived here. One of his incontestable masterpieces was the mansion he designed for the local merchant Apollon Dombrovsky. By the time the mansion was completed in the 1890s, Dombrovsky had gone bankrupt, so he had to sell his new house to pay back his debts.

The house remained property of the Vladikavkaz Railway Authority for a while. In the early 1900s, the Railway Authority gave it to Apollon Petrov, an attorney, in lieu of his fee for winning a particularly challenging court case for the authority. The Petrov family was forced to emigrate after the 1917 Revolution, whereupon their mansion would be used by a succession of communist party institutions. The former Petrov mansion has served as the Rostov-on-Don Art Museum since 1959.

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This beautiful mansion has a fascinating romantic story to it. One Pyotr Paramonov, a successful local merchant, descendant of a wealthy and influential family of Rostov merchants, fell in love with an actress of a street theatre, which happened to be popular in Rostov at the time. As part of his courtship, Paramonov initiated an unheard-of display of generosity. He asked a renowned local architect, Nikolai Doroshenko, to design a house that would look nothing like any of the existing buildings in Rostov. The house was designed to Paramonov’s liking, and built in 1899. Paramonov proposed and the actress accepted, and moved into this eclectic masterpiece on Bolshaya Sadovaya, one of the main streets of Rostov-on-Don. The family would host illustrious social events for the next ten years.

Fyodor Shaliapin sang here, and Nikolai Gumilev read his poetry. The post-1917 history of the mansion was not so romantic. It began to fall apart and was pronounced unsafe by the early 2000s. Then it was restored in its erstwhile glory. The building currently houses the offices of a major commercial bank.