The Don

The Don is one of the major rivers of Russia. It rises in the town of Novomoskovsk 60 kilometres (37 mi) southeast of Tula (120 km south of Moscow, and flows for a distance of about 1,950 kilometres (1,220 mi) to the Sea of Azov.

From its source, the river first flows southeast to Voronezh, then southwest to its mouth. The main city on the river is Rostov on Don. Its main tributary is the Seversky Donets. The Don basin is situated between the Dnieper basin to the west, the Volga basin to the east, and the Oka basin (tributary of the Volga) to the north.

In antiquity, the river was viewed as the border between Europe and Asia by some ancient Greek geographers. During the times of the old Scythians it was known in Greek as the Tanaïs (Τάναϊς) and has been a major trading route ever since. Tanais appears in ancient Greek sources as both the name of the river and of a city on it, situated in the Maeotian marshes.

While the lower Don was well known to ancient geographers, its middle and upper reaches were not mapped with any accuracy before the gradual conquest of the area by Muscovy during the 16th century. The Don Cossacks, who settled the fertile valley of the river in the 16th and 17th centuries, were named after the river. Representing military estate they served in the horse guards of the Russian Empire but their everyday life and folklore are also very interesting. River tourists can learn more about that in the Cossack villages.

At its easternmost point, the Don comes near the Volga, and the Volga-Don Canal, connecting both rivers, is a major waterway. The water level of the Don in this area is raised by the Tsimlyansk Dam, forming the Tsimlyansk Reservoir.

The Don is a southern river. Thanks to fertile soil this area is known for its rich harvest and is good for making wines. So cruising along the Don the travelers can participate in wine tasting.

The navigable part of the Don is rather short, that’s why the cruises from Rostov-on-Don usually don’t last longer than a week. But a combined cruise “the Volga & the Don” is among the most lasting river voyages in Russia. A trip from Moscow to Rostov and back lasts for 3 weeks.

Throughout the world the river is associated with images of the turbulent and colourful Don Cossacks—romanticized in a famous series of novels by the 20th-century Russian writer Mikhail Sholokhov—and with a series of large-scale engineering projects that have enhanced the waterway’s economic importance.

Don’t miss a unique possibility to see and feel the noble Don River with Infoflot Cruise Company!