What I Learned in Rostov

Greetings from my last night in Rostov-on-Don, where the N-Ost conference has just about wrapped up, and it has been a great success as far as I can tell. There is plenty to write about in a city that is so seldom heard about outside of Russia, yet has such personality. As its been a busy few days and I must already prepare to leave, I wanted to make a brief list of things I learned in and about Rostov which I thought you might find interesting:

  • Very big Korean population, who have been here for about 50 years, while still maintain their traditions and language, they’re an important part of what makes this city work.
  • Parks. They like their parks. Sometimes its more of a long green tree lined walk way stretching many city blocks and offering a great alternative to walking on streets with traffic.
  • Sometimes your huge truck breaks down in an intersection and its perfectly acceptable to just stand there and everyone will drive around you for hours.
  • Rostov has many religions, Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Armenian, Muslim, Jewish and according to the guy at the Korean cultural assocation- Buddhist.
  • The Bridge over the Don river takes you from Europe to Asia.
  • Don’t count on every street being paved and don’t underestimate how giant potholes can be.
  • People in Rostov don’t speak much in terms of languages besides Russian, but if you’re in need of something they’re more than willing to work with you through pointing, hand signals, and smiles.
  • The Armenian population of Rostov has been here for ages and make up another important part of the civic tapestry.
  • We may be far from Japan but Rostovians love Sushi and manage to put it on the menu at any kind of restaurant.
  • 4 days is not enough to really get to know a Russian city like this, but it does provide enough time to make some great friends.