Bolshaya Sadovaya Street

Valery Matytsin/TASS
Alongside Pushkinskaya Street, but slightly closer to the Don River, runs Rostov’s central street, Bolshaya Sadovaya. This is where the city’s administration and businesses have their offices and it is also the heart of Rostov’s cultural life. Until the mid-nineteenth century, this area was actually outside the city limits and was a genuine garden. But Rostov was growing and in the 1870s, a street appeared. Gradually, it filled up with banks, hotels, shops and private houses belonging to the rich residents of Rostov. Many of these mansions still stand to this day. For example, the House with Caryatides at 27 Bolshaya Sadovaya was built for Margarita Chernova, an actress at Rostov Drama Theatre, by one of her admirers. Back in those days, the house hosted magnificent balls with opera performances by Feodor Chaliapin and poetry readings by Nikolai Gumilev.

In addition to the shops, the Trading House of Yablokov at 64 Bolshaya Sadovaya was the location of a famous nightclub and one of the first cinemas in the region. The fanciest building, #47, is the City Council. It was built by the Provost of the Imperial Academy of Arts, Alexander Pomerantsev. If you think that the building resembles Moscow’s GUM department store, this is no coincidence: Pomerantsev designed the Upper Trading Rows of the GUM store, too.