190 km from Moscow and 60 km from Yaroslavl. 64,750 inhabitants. The oldest city of the Golden Ring, Rostov was founded in the 9th century on the shores of Lake Nero. The first mention of Rostov dates back to 862. In the Middle Ages, it was the capital of the region called "beyond the forest" (Zalecie or northeastern Russia), as well as the region of Rostov and Suzdal.
The geographical position of the city, far removed from the seat of the Kiev princes, allowed the boyars to conduct numerous seditious enterprises, including regularly fighting against Vladimir and Suzdal. The boyars were aristocrats (or knights) who could, as such, enter the throne as tsars.
The pagan rites being well established in the region, the establishment of the Church in 989 had a difficult start here - the first two bishops of Rostov, Abraham and Leonti, were thus murdered. Their relics can be found in the Cathedral of the Dormition. The city nevertheless took off in the 12th and 13th centuries, forming with Suzdal the most powerful region of Russia. Serge of Radonege stayed at the Rostov Kremlin.
Thanks to Yuri Dolgoruky, Rostov gained independence from Kiev, but did not obtain, as she expected, the title of capital, the prince having settled in Suzdal. In spite of his antiquity, his wealth, and his power, Rostov never attained this supreme distinction, and conceived an eternal jealousy for successive capitals, or cities, which, for a time, carried the favors of the prince or tsar.


The city was soon considered suspect by the authorities, who thought they saw in Rostov a nest of intrigues for ambitious and unscrupulous boyars. The history of Rostov, however, was often illustrated by the bravery of its inhabitants: at the beginning of the 10th century, they left with the Slavs of Russia of Kiev to fight Constantinople who paid accordingly his contribution to Rostov. In 1238, the grand prince of Vladimir, Yuri, and the prince of Yaroslavl, Vsevolod, perished on the banks of the river, while the young prince of Rostov, Vassilko, was assassinated by the Mongol Tatars. On six occasions the inhabitants of Rostov tried to break free from the Mongolian yoke after 1262. At the beginning of the 13th century, Rostov became an important cultural place: there was a seminary with a rich collection of manuscripts of Greek origin. In the 15th and 16th centuries, there were no fewer than 20 churches and 10 monasteries, of which only the Cathedral of Dormition remains today. The struggles between the princes and the resulting fragmentation led the country to a serious crisis: Rostov was divided into two parts, each governed by her own prince. It was an occasion for the inhabitants to mock power: "on the lands of Rostov, there is a prince in every village," or "the seven princes of Rostov have only one warrior for them all. "


It was Ivan Kalita, who told Ivan l'Escarcelle, that Rostov would enter Muscovy (1474), gradually buying the lands of the city until he could claim ownership. A legend tells that Ivan the Terrible, on his way to Kazan where he was going to fight, stopped at Rostov and seized the staff of the monk Abraham, founder of the monastery of the same name. This stick brought him luck, since he won the victory and, in gratitude, built in this monastery the church of Epiphany, whose complex composition is the prototype of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow (the architect in was probably Andrei Mali, builder of the Church of Ascension). Towards the end of the 16th century, when the Poles reached the gates of the city, the Metropolitan of Moscow was called Theodore Romanov, whom Boris Godunov forced to wear the habit and who was none other than the father of the future Tsar Michael Romanov . The history of the Rostov Kremlin is closely linked to that of Metropolitan Ionas who, in the 17th century, became such an important figure in the city that his fame reached the capital Moscow.


Ionas became Metropolitan of Rostov in 1651 and remained there until 1691, that is for forty years. He could probably have had a brighter career without an unfortunate misstep. In fact, the inclinations of power of Patriarch Nikon led Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich to remove him from office in 1658. For two years, Ionas held the position of Patriarch in Moscow, but without having the title. At an office he headed, Ionas had the unfortunate idea of ​​asking Nikon, then a simple believer, for the blessing. This unacceptable act is enough to send him back to Rostov. Rancorier, he strove to build richer and more extravagant buildings than those in the capital. In addition to the sumptuous Kremlin of Rostov, whose construction began in 1670 and whose design is more like a princely residence than a monastery, he built in Uglich, Borissoglebski Monastery and his hometown of Anguelovo where he built a wooden church with as many windows as there are days in the year. In the eighteenth century, the Metropolitan went to Yaroslav, leaving the Kremlin of Rostov to merchants who found in its architecture many advantages: churches in floors, galleries and ground floor, so many places easy to transform in warehouses or stores.


Peu à peu, les édifices commencèrent à se détériorer, d’autant que les nouveaux propriétaires, soucieux de leurs affaires, n’hésitaient pas à emprunter des briques aux églises pour équiper les galeries marchandes. Pourtant, à l’orée du XIXe siècle, le sentiment artistique et religieux refleurissant, on entreprit quelques restaurations, dont celle de la grande salle blanche avec son pilier central (voir les photographies affichées sur des panneaux dans la galerie). A partir de 1883, les habitants de Rostov réunirent leurs objets précieux afin de constituer le premier musée du kremlin. Soixante-dix ans plus tard, le 24 août 1953, un terrible ouragan emportera les toitures et les coupoles de différents bâtiments. Les photos de la galerie montrent également les trois seules coupoles (il y en avait vingt-quatre avant la catastrophe) restées en place. Jusqu’en 1970, on s’attacha à restaurer les coupoles et à les replacer une à une, ce qui explique leur état de fraîcheur actuel.