Port of Taganrog
Review and History

The Port of Taganrog rests on the northern coast of the Taganrog Gulf off the Sea of Azov near the mouth of the River Don in southwestern Russia. The leading industrial center of the Rostov region, the Port of Taganrog is home to many industries including aerospace, automobiles, iron and steel, engineering, machinery, metal processing, timber, pulp and paper, chemicals, and many others. It is also at the heart of a diverse agricultural industry.

It is a leading port on the Azov Sea, and the Port of Taganrog is located strategically to be a major player in the emerging Commonwealth of Independent States (including such countries as Turkey, Italy, Egypt, Greece, and South Korea). The Port of Taganrog is also the birthplace of world-famous author Anton Chekhov. In 2006, the Port of Taganrog was home to over 268 thousand people.

Port History

Archaeologists believe that a Greek settlement existed on the site of the Port of Taganrog in the late 7th Century BC perhaps called Emporion Kremnoi. They believe it was instrumental in the Greek colonization of the Black Sea region.

Peter the Great conquered the Turkish fortress of Azov in 1695 to get access to the Black Sea. Establishing the first Russian Navy base, Peter the Great ordered a war fleet be built to protect Azov and defend it from the Turkish Navy. The base was officially founded in 1698.

The Port of Taganrog was one of the first cities in Russia to be built following a detailed plan that was adopted in 1698. The first farming in the area began in 1705 when the imperial vineyards and orchards were planted near the Port of Taganrog. The construction of the seaport, the town, and the fortress were completed by around 1710.

The Port of Taganrog was the first artificial harbor in Russia. A pentagonal fortress built on the Cape protected the port and was the first residence for the soldiers and civilians. By 1711, more than 8000 people lived in Port of Taganrog. As the town grew, the strong military influence shaped its character. Soon, it was a commercial and handicraft center for the region.

Unfortunately, Turkey went to war against Russia in 1710, forcing the Russian tsar to surrender and agree to destroy the Port of Taganrog. In 1712, Russian troops left the town, and for the next fifty years, it lay in ruins.

In 1769, the Russians re-took the Port of Taganrog, and the Turks ceded the area in the Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji in 1774. The city was re-founded by Catherine the Great. The new Port of Taganrog was settled by Greeks refugees escaping tyranny or poverty in townships across the north Black Sea and Sea of Azov. Some of the refugees had been pirates in the Mediterranean who brought great wealth to the town. They cheated farmers and bribed Russian customs officials, but they also funded local civic arts, orchestras, clubs, schools, and churches. They imported French chefs and Italian sculptors to the Port of Taganrog.

In 1802, Tsar Alexander I made the Port of Taganrog a municipality with royal privileges, and he appointed Baron Balthasar von Campenhausen as Governor of Taganrog. Von Campenhausen made significant contributions for which he is still remembered. Some of those are the

  • construction of stone storehouses for goods,
  • construction of vessels to transport goods to other Russian ports,
  • establishment of a navigation school,
  • introduction of oil lighting to the city streets,
  • paving the streets, and
  • founding of the Gorky Park

Tsar Alexander I came to the Port of Taganrog near the end of his reign, living in a modest one-story palace and making the city a shadow capital for a short time. The tsar died soon after arriving, though, and rumors persisted that he had not really died. It is also said that Italian hero Giuseppe Garibaldi was inspired to join the revolutionary movement while on a visit to the Port of Taganrog.

Russian poet and playwright Nestor Kukolnik was influential in the Port of Taganrog. Arriving there in 1857, he led a movement to establish a university in the city (although it did not happen until 1865). He also argued for the foundation of a newspaper and the construction of a railroad from Kharkiv to Taganrog. Tsar Alexander II approved the project in 1868. Kukolnik was also an advocate for environmental protection in the Gulf of Taganrog and a key player in the establishment of the county court there.

In 1855, French and English warships and gunboats attacked the Port of Taganrog, which had become important due to the large stores of wheat, barley, and rye that had been collected there during the Crimean War. They bombarded the Port of Taganrog for several hours and landed 300 soldiers in the downtown area who were driven back by Don Cossacks and volunteers. In the summer, the HMS Jasper grounded near Port of Taganrog when fishermen created a deception with the river buoys. Cossacks then captured the gunboat and blew it up. Later in the year, the attackers were forced to leave the Gulf of Taganrog.

From the early 19th Century, the Port of Taganrog was home to many rich residences and society buildings. It had become one of South Russia’s biggest industrial cities. By the end of the 19th Century, the Port of Taganrog housed many educational institutions and was a center for foreign trade. By the beginning of the 20th Century, the Port of Taganrog was the second biggest importer in Russia and the sixth biggest exporter. Foreign investments led to the development of large-scale industry.

The prosperity brought with it new cultural institutions to the Port of Taganrog like the city theater, designed by Italian architect Londeron, that gained national attention for its excellent acoustics. The Port of Taganrog had its own Italian opera for a number of years. A city library opened, a regional was founded, and a wooden circus building was constructed. In 1907, the city got a new cinema.

In 1918, everything changed for Russia and for the Port of Taganrog when the tsars were overthrown forever. The first local soviet was headed by Anton Glushko. For a short time, the Port of Taganrog was occupied by the Germans during World War I, but they were driven out by the Cossacks.

The Red Army entered the city in December 1919. A few months later, the foreign consulates in the Port of Taganrog were closed, and the Soviet Workers’ council was empowered. In December 1920, the Port of Taganrog became part of the Ukrainian SSR, but it was transferred to the Russian SFSR in 1924.

The Port of Taganrog was occupied by the Germans during World War II from 1941 until 1943, and they did significant damage. They replaced the local government with the Burgermeisteramt. Taganrog was liberated from German occupation in 1943.

After the revolution and the war, the city began to grow again. New industries began to emerge (power machinery, engineering, metallurgy, and instrument-making). The Taganrog State University of Radio Engineering was opened, demonstrating the development of science in the area. By the 1970s and 1980s, the Port of Taganrog was an important center for science in industry for all of Southern Russia. Its companies manufactured steam boilers, combine harvesters, pipes, gears, and many other products that were exported to more than 50 countries.

When the Soviet Union dissolved, the economic reforms were difficult for the Port of Taganrog. Despite a struggle, the city managed to keep their experienced workforce and adapt to new technologies. By the end of the 20th Century, production output had reached an almost 400% growth rate. The Beriev Aircraft Company produced the multi-purpose amphibian BE-200 amphibian aircraft. The TAGMET Iron and Steel factory adopted the world’s most progressive steel casting technology. The Doninvest Finance and Industry Group produced passenger cars sold by Citroen and Hyundai.

The Port of Taganrog welcomed a new maternity center and a new opthamology department for veterans. New trolleys and shuttle bus routes made inter-city travel far easier. New high-tech communications technologies are now widely available. In short, the modern Port of Taganrog is a sophisticated cosmopolitan city full of optimism for its future.

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