Rostov-on-Don is a port city and the Southern Federal District of Russia. It lies to the southeast of the East European Plain, on the Don River, 32 kilometers (20 mi) from the Sea of Azov.

Since ancient times, the area around the mouth of the Don River has held cultural and commercial importance. It was the site of Tanais, an ancient Greek colony, Fort Tana, under the Genoese and Fort Azak in the time of the Ottoman Empire.

With the construction of the Volga-Don Shipping Canal in 1952, Rostov-on-Don became a port of five seas: the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov, the Caspian Sea, the White Sea, and the Baltic Sea.

The most conspicuous architectural feature of the central part of the city is the Cathedral of Virgin's Nativity (1860–1887), designed by Konstantin Thon. The small collections of the Art Gallery and the Museum of Arts include some works by Repin, Surikov, Perov, Levitan, Aivazovsky.

The most popular tourist sites are local bazaars and markets of fresh fish, bridges over the Don river and embankment, Don River lookout, River Steamboat rides, Orthodox Cathedral of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin, Maxim Gorky Park, Azov ancient fortress, Rostov state opera and ballet theater, Monastery of St. Jacob etc.