The Rostov Kremlin is a 17th-century architectural ensemble in the center of Rostov and former metropolitan residence of the Rostov Eparchy. During its construction Rostov ceased to have defensive significance, therefore the Rostov Kremlin is not a citadel, but was built in the style of a defensive fortification. It is a monument of Russian wartime architecture. Since 1998 it has been a candidate for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Rostov Kremlin was built from 1670 to 1683. Until 1787 it was the seat of the bishop (Russian: архиерейская кафедра). In 1787 the episcopal see was transferred from Rostov to Yaroslavl. After that the Rostov Kremlin lost its function, remained without care, was used as a storehouse and fell into disrepair. Between 1860 and 1880 it was restored thanks to donations from merchants. In 1883 a museum of church history was established here until 1918, after which the Museum of the History of Rostov was located in the building until 1934, the Museum of Local History until 1969, and the Museum of Nature Reserve (Russian: музей-заповедник) until 1995. In 2010 the Rostov Kremlin was taken over by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Rostov Kremlin is located on the shore of Lake Nero. The fortress wall with eleven towers is 1.3 km long, up to 12 m high and 2 m thick. Inside the fortress, with an area of about 6 ha, there are the following buildings:
- Cathedral of the Assumption (1508-1512)
- The bell tower of the Cathedral of the Assumption (1682-1687)
- Church of the Resurrection (1670)
- Church of Hodigitria (1692-1693)
- Church of St. John (1683)
- Church of the Redeemer (1675)
- other stone and wood buildings
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