Rostov is one of the ancient and most beautiful towns of the Russian land (it was called Rostov the Great in 12th–17th centuries). The town was established much earlier than Moscow. It was first mentioned in Russian manuscripts in 862. Since the introduction of Christianity in Russia and till late 18th century Rostov was the centre of the eparchy.
There was a residence of Rostov bishops in the town. In the beginning of the 13th century the political significance of Rostov was highest, it became the capital of an independent principality.
An unbeleivable economic and cultural growth of the town was interrupted by the Mongol-Tatar invasion in 1238. In the end of the 15thcentury Rostov lost its independence, the lands of the Rostov Principality were included in the Great Moscow Principality.
Since the 18th century Rostov was well-known as a big centre of trade famous for its fairs. The town was also notable for vegetable gardening, and Rostov cucumbers were delivered to the Tsar's meals.
The Rostov chimes are well known all over Russia. The French composer G. Berlioz and the Russian singer F. Shalyapin admired them. In 1987 the Rostov Cathedral Belltower was revived and nowadays bell chime concerts are enjoed by both gasping townsfolk and tourists.