Until 1805, the capital of the Don Cossacks was the town of Cherkassk (now known as Starocherkasskaya Cossack Village), but the excess of buildings made it difficult to fight fires and the annual floods of the Don River. Matvey Platov, the chieftain of the Don Host and future hero of the Patriotic War of 1812, petitioned Emperor Alexander I for permission to move the capital. Not only did Alexander give him permission, he ordered Platov to draw a map of the future city. Platov decided to build the new capital in accordance with European templates, on a hill above the rivers Aksai and Tuzlov. On 18 May 1804, Ascension Day, Novy (New) Cherkassk was founded. Amid great fanfare, the capital was moved from Cherkassk a year later, but construction continued for many years.
The town still has two triumphal arcs, which were raised before Alexander’s visit in honour of the victory in the Patriotic War of 1812: the Cossacks did not know which direction the Emperor would arrive from, so they built an arch on each of the major incoming roads.