Rostov rŏ´stŏv, Rus. rəstôf´ [key], city (1989 pop. 35,700), E European Russia, on Lake Nero. It is a road and rail junction and has food-processing and flax-spinning plants. Linen is produced, and an old enamel-painting craft is still practiced. One of Russia's oldest cities, Rostov has been known since 862. It became the capital of the Rostov-Suzdal principality in 1207, was annexed by the grand duchy of Moscow in 1474, was made the seat of an Orthodox metropolitan in 1587, and served as an important commercial center from the 16th to 19th cent. Rostov's ancient kremlin contains the Uspenski Cathedral and other splendid 13th-century churches with precious murals. The palace of the metropolitan is now a museum. The city was also known as Rostov-Veliki (Great Rostov) and Rostov-Yaroslavski.
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