Rostov Veliky is one of the most ancient Russian towns, having been mentioned from 862. It was one of the centers of Kievan Rus. From the tenth to the middle of the twelfth century Rostov, along with Suzdal, became one of the centers of the Rostov-Suzdal kingdom. From the ninth century Christianity was established in the area, and Rostov became home to one of the most authoritative Russian orthodox churches. Rostov was later part of the kingdom of Vladimir, and from 1212 became the capital of an independent kingdom, which later was divided into a number of smaller segments. On the eve of the Tatar-Mongol invasions Rostov was one of the largest Russian towns. It was a center of stonework and bookmaking, and there is record of extensive libraries belong to the Episcope Kirill and Prince Vsevolodovichy. Rostov’s residents were frequent participants on the battlefield, and took place in the 1380 battle of Kulikovo and other important fights which led to the end of the Mongol occupation. The city developed particularly quickly in the second half of the seventeenth century. The Rostov market, the third most important in Russia, also started at this time.
Contemporary Rostov is a museum town, where visitors can see monuments of Russian culture. The first view of Rostov for travelers from Moscow is Lake Nero, the southern side of the city. The city is defined by the ensemble of the Rostov kremlin and the Spaso-Yakovlev and Avraamieva monasteries. The kremlin, which looks down on the city from a modest height, dominates this panorama.