A stroll through Azov

Azov’s military glory is a thing of the past. This cozy, green town will not remind even the most impressionable history buff of the battles between the Russian and Turkish troops, which took place at the end of the XVII century, when Peter the Great and his army fought here for Russia’s sea access. Set aside 3-4 hours for a stroll through Azov. All of the major attractions are located near each other, so you can start sightseeing anywhere you want.

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One of the largest museums in the south of Russia, the Azov Museum-Reserve got its start from the National Education society, , which in 1917-1918 was led by well-known public figure and enlightener Mikhail Makarovskiy. The society and its leader set out to provide a comprehensive education for the residents of Azov. According to Makarovskiy, the museum was to play an intricate part in it. During the Civil and the Great Patriotic War, the first collections were lost, but by 1960 the museum was revived and for the past fifty years has acquired some awesome exhibits in its halls.
Mikhail Mordasov/TASS

The Gunpowder Cellar was built in the center of the ancient Azov fortress in 1770 during another Russian-Turkish war. A quarter-century later, the dilapidated wooden structure was dismantled and by 1799 it was replaced by one of stone. This building is the only remaining military engineering monument of the XVIII century in the south of Russia.

Here you can see the artillery cannons that date back to Peter the Great - old cannons and mortars, which were used in the legendary Azov campaigns, grand diorama "The Storm of Azov, July 18, 1696" authorship of the Rostov artist Arseny Chernyshev, as well as the original Polovtsian stone sculptures at the entrance to the cellar.

The house museum of the Russian polar researcher Rudolf Samoilovych was founded in Azov in 1981, in honour of what would have been the 100th birthday of the famous traveler and scientist. There are many spots named after Samoilovych called a lot of geographical spots - Strait in the Franz Josef Land, Peninsula and cape in Antarctica, an island in the Kara Sea and others.

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Already by the end of the XIII century, a major commercial and administrative center of the Golden Horde, the city of Azak, was where modern day Azov is now. At the end of the XIV century, the city was sacked by Tamerlane and rebuilt by the Genoese and Venetian merchants who turned Tan (second name of Azaka) into a trading outpost for the Italian cities. By 1471 Azak became a Turkish fortress. The Turks strengthened it with deep ditches and steep shafts, which subsequently were rebuilt several times - including with the help of Russian troops during the Russian-Turkish wars. Today, in Azov you can see its remains together with the ruins of the Genoese fortress and part of the Alekseevskie fortress gates (they date back to 1770). There is a wonderful view of the Don delta from this historical site.

A remarkably preserved brick mill, owned by the Cossack Nikolai Bulanov, is among the few samples of industrial architecture of the early XX century in southern Russia. It has not been possible to determine the date of its construction more precisely, the city documents show both 1905 and 1912. The building was reconstructed several times, that is how in 1925 a single-storey extension that houses a steam engine appeared on the territory of the complex.

Mikhail Mordasov/TASS
St. Luke’s Chapel is the only surviving pre-revolutionary religious structure in Azov. According to archives, the money to build the chapel was donated in 1912 by a local resident Mikhail Golovskoy, who transferred all of his savings, about 400 rubles, to Azov’s mayor Vissarion Myshkin. The government official drew in several wealthy city residents and a year later, in 1913, a chapel was built and consecrated.
Mikhail Mordasov/TASS

The Azov Mother of God icon, in whose honor the church is consecrated, is considered one of the most extraordinary icons in the history of Russian Orthodoxy. The information about its authorship, as well as when it was written, is contradictory. According to one version, in 1711, Peter I, was returning after his victory over the Turks, and capturing the Azov fortress, stopped for the night in the house of the local priest, and he in turn, drew an image in honor of the meeting, which since then has been especially revered by the Russian soldiers.
The regimental church was build by the entire community in early 1990s. Everyone participated in the construction from government representatives and entrepreneurs to ordinary citizens.

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Peter the Great matured in the battles for this city, and Azov could not get by without having a monument to the great emperor. It was opened in 1996, to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Russian fleet. A group of sculptors led by Oleg Komov and Andrei Kovalchuk portrayed Peter the General, still young, but already extremely motivated and persistent.
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One of the closest companions to Peter the Great in the Azov campaigns of 1695-1696, a representative of the old boyar family, Alexey Shein made a significant contribution to strengthening the Russian positions in the Sea of Azov. During the second Azov campaign in 1696, that resulted in the capture of Azov after a long siege, Shein was appointed commander of the Army, and then granted the title of generalissimo and given a personal award from Peter I - the nominal gold cup.
The monument to Alexey Shein, by sculptors Mikhail Lushnikov and Vladimir Mokrousov is the only monument in Russia to this remarkable military leader and statesman.
Mikhail Mordasov/TASS
The history of the Azov Flotilla, formed in 1768, has many glorious pages. During the Prussian-Turkish war of 1768-1774, it was led by one of the greatest Russian admirals Alex Senyavin. During the Civil War, the Azov fleet was involved in the fight against the White Guard and German connections. During the Great Patriotic War , the Don detachment sailors of the Azov flotilla under the command of Caesar Kunikov, constrained the superior forces of the enemy when they tried to capture the Taganrog harbor.

A combat torpedo boat on the pedestal, the monument to the Azov flotilla sailors commemorated this feat and is quite popular among the residents of Azov, of all generations and ages.