Founded in 862, Rostov the Great sits on the shores of the sparkling Lake Nero. This Rostov is not be confused with Rostov-na-Donu, and so is often called Rostov Velikiy (Rostov the Great) to avoid misunderstanding. The first records of Rostov originated in the 9th century. Many prominent icon painters called this city home, and their work is reflected all over Russia.
Rostov has dozens of amazing sites. The centerpiece of this historic town is its silver-domed Kremlin, one of the most attractive in Russia. This Kremlin was originally built not as a fortress, but as a residence of the local church leader. The Yaroslavo-Rostovsky Museum inside the Kremlin is a treasure trove of Russian icon art, while the Churches of Vozneseniya, Spasa na Senyakh, and St. John the Divine hold many of their own beautiful frescoes. The Uspensky Cathedral was built in the 16th century, a rare cathedral open to visitors during services. The belfry of the Uspensky cathedral has fifteen bells that can be heard 20 km away. The atmosphere of these churches, with their candlelit interiors and haunting chorus-singing, infuses the entire city with an air of venerable worship.
The Borisoglebsky Monastery sits 18 km from Rostov. The monastery was founded in the 14th century by two monks who supported St. Sergiy. It is believed that St. Sergiy himself selected the location for the monastery. It was often visited by Russian princes and tsars including Ivan the Terrible, who visited the monastery three times and made more than twenty donations. In 1994, the Borisoglebsky Monastery witnessed a revival after the dark Soviet times. Nowadays it is a male monastery and a branch of the "Rostov Kremlin" museum sanctuary.