Starocherkassk. Cossack capital

Formerly known as Cherkassk, now Rostov’s Starocherkassk, is a town which cherishes Cossack traditions. Today. All major attractions of the town are located on the territory of the Starocherkassk Historical and Archeological Open-Air Museum. Visiting this place is like stepping into a frozen era, where time has stopped and the past is in the present.

Valery Matytsin/TASS

Starocherkassk’s main attraction is the military Resurrection Cathedral, which was built in 1719, but its history goes back to 1652, when there was a wooden church, consecrated in the name of God's Resurrection.

The construction continued despite the order, in which Peter the Great prohibited stone buildings elsewhere, but in St. Petersburg. Legends say the tsar made an exception for Starocherkassk as he considered it a symbolic gesture underlining his authority over the historically troubled Don. Legends claim the tsar was participating personally in the construction.

Valery Matytsin/TASS

The Maidan Square in front of the military Cathedral of Resurrection is a truly historic area. Maidan remembers steps of Peter the Great, who visited Cherkassk four times between 1695 and 1709. In Maidan, chieftains (atamans) Kondratiy Bulavin and Matvei Platov swore in. Here Stepan Razin raised the people in protest against the tsar power. In this square the local protesters took decisions in the supreme Cossack meetings.

As you feel spirit of that time, pay attention to the legendary trophy of the Azov siege. Here you can see the artillery captured from the Turks in 1637-1641, as well the iron gates from the Azov citadel, which used by be a Turkish fortress then.

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Chieftain’s Courtyard architectural complex combines two historical monument of the XVIII-XIX centuries (Ataman's Palace and the Church of Don). It is related to an influential Cossack family of the Yefremovs. Several representatives of this family became chieftains (atamans), who preserved and enhanced the family's wealth.

Ataman Danila Yefremov, a founder of the dynasty, was extremely ambitions and used examples of best Petersburg aristocratic houses in construction of his courtyard.

The family’s palace has 21 rooms of about 1,000 square meters.

Mikhail Modrasov/ТАSS

Reports about a wooden cathedral in the place of the Peter and Paul Church go back to 1692. Construction of the new, made of stone, building is believed to be supervised by Empress Elizabeth, who financed the construction and provided necessary masters. Ataman Danila Efremov oversaw the work.

In 1751, this small church, constructed in the baroque style, was consecrated. Future legendary ataman, hero of the Borodino and other battles, Matvey Platov, was baptized there.

Another example of Ukraine’s baroque, the (Military) Church of Transformation used to be a well-known place in the Don area. This is from where Cossacks left for "overseas" trips. Regiments were assembling there before marches. The sources, which are available now, say the church had been in that place from the late XVII century – wooden at first, and after 1740 a church of stone took its place.

Mikhail Modrasov/ТАSS

The famous leader of the Cossacks, Kondratii Bulavin, led the people’s upspring in 1707-1709, which later on was called in his name. The reasons for the upspring was Peter the Great’s interference with the Cossacks’ life and the attempt to cut their freedoms.

Bulavin lived in this house in 1707-1708, and legends say he was killed by the wealthy Cossacks, who did not support him, as they did not want conflicts with the tsar.

Representatives of the old and influential Cossack family of the Zhuchenkovs lived at Don from the early XVII century, and, as legends say, they had come first to Cherkassk (now called Starocherkasskaya Village).

Their house, like the house of Kondratii Bulavin nearby, was an inhibited citadel with thick walls, cast-iron bars on the windows resembling castle embrasures, the open yard space, convenient for shooting, and practically no smaller houses around the yard.

Another Russian rebel, Stepan Razin, is said to be kept prisoner here in 1671, and later on sent for execution from here.

The building was changed many times. Nowadays, it is a wonderful example of the classical Cossack kuren (house) of the XVIII century.

St. Ann’s ground fortress is the only fortifying construction of the kind in Russia. It was built in 1731 at the order of Empress Anna. It was an important outpost for the Russian troops during the war with Turkey in 1735-1739. The garrison watched order at the Russian southern border, and also kept an yet on the turbulent Cossack squads.

With time, the citadel lost its military importance, giving in to the mightier and stronger fortified citadel of Dmitry Rostovsky, which in 1761 gave birth to the Rostov-on-Don city.