In one of his last acts as leader of Russia, President Vladimir Putin declared Rostov-on-Don a Heroic City for its role in World War II. Cities such as St Petersburg, Volgograd, Moscow and Kiev have long been Heroic Cities. And President Putin expanded that list to include Rostov among others.
Below is Rostov at its best. You'll see several sights around Theatre Square, an area heavily bombed during the war.
The tall obelisk, Stella, commemorates the end of Nazi occupation during World War 2 and overlooks the Don River and vast steppe which stretches out to the south. The white and boxy building featured early in the video is Gorky Theatre, named in honor of Maxim Gorky, the great Russian writer. The theatre is built in the shape of a tractor, of all things, but to honor the importance of agriculture in the Rostov area.
Of course during the war, things were quite different. Thanks to YouTube, we can see German newsreels from WW2.
Here is close combat in Rostov, July 1942. It's sad to see what was done to the beautiful city, albeit 60-plus years ago.
Back to happier times, the photos below courtesy of A.A. Dolgyshev.
Rostov from the air. Notice the Don River flowing along, 35 miles west to the Sea of Azov and then into the Black Sea.
Theatre Square, downtown Rostov. On the left is Gorky Theatre, in the foreground is the fountain. Both were damaged by bombs and have been repaired.