Set on the Don River, this prominent port city and the capital of southern Russia is known as the doorway to the Caucasus. The city’s economic and cultural importance goes back several millennia, when the Don river was settled by a string of tribal dynasties like the Scythian nomads of Eurasia. Owing to its position on the river, it flourished as a trade hub for several European merchants in the centuries that followed. The advent of the Volga-Don Canal in 1952 furthered its importance as a key port, one that now served five major seas. Besides its status as a commercial city at the cusp of major geographical regions, Rostov-on-Don also seethes today with a cultural tenor that is hard to ignore. Its fine troupe of theaters like the Rostov Musical Theater and impressive fleet of art institutions makes it more than just an austere economic power at the edge of Russia.