Novocherkassk

Novocherkassk

Novocherkassk (Russian: Новочерка́сск, lit. 'New Cherkassk') is a city in Rostov Oblast, Russia, located near the confluence of the Tuzlov and Aksay Rivers, the latter a distributary of the Don River. Novocherkassk is best known as the cultural capital of the Cossacks, and as the official capital of the Don Cossacks. Population: 168,746 (2010 Russian census);[2] 170,822 (2002 Census);[7] 187,973 (1989 Soviet census).[8] Although the first settlement in the region was founded by Temroqwa Idar,[9][10] the city of Novocherkassk was founded in 1805 by Lieutenant-general Matvei Platov, the Ataman of the Don Cossacks, as the administrative center of the Don Host Oblast. It was established in reaction to the original administrative center, the stanitsa of Cherkassk, being deemed unsuitable as the capital for the Don Cossacks for several reasons. Cherkassk was repeatedly flooded for long periods of time due to its low-lying location on the banks of the Don River, and attempts at constructing levees to protect the town were found to be too costly and ineffective.[citation needed] Additionally, Cherkassk was prone to destructive fires due to its chaotic layout and wooden buildings, and was located far away from any major roads. Despite the fact that ten of the eleven representatives of the villages that were part of Cherkassk refused to move the capital, Platov still made a presentation to Tsar Alexander I asking him to allow the capital of the Don Cossacks to be moved to another location, and was granted permission in a decree from the Tsar on August 23, 1804. Platov and the engineer François Sainte de Wollant developed Novocherkassk as a planned city, deciding to build it on a location at the top of a hill known as the "Wolf's Lair" to the north of Cherkassk, near the confluence of the Tuzlov River and Aksay River. On November 7, 1804, De Wollant and Platov presented to Tsar Alexander a plan for the future of the city and an extensive report, in which the clearly embellished merits of the area chosen for construction were described. The city was designed in the popular traditions of European models of urban development, with spacious areas, wide avenues and boulevards full of greenery. De Wollant, calling the future Novocherkassk "little Paris" on the basis of numerous town squares, each of which was supposed to feature a church, and to have streets beginning radially around each square. On December 31, 1804, after reviewing the plan and the report of Platov and De Wollant, Tsar Alexander personally inscribed: "To be according to this. Alexander". The construction of the city was slow, primarily because of the reluctance of most Don Cossacks to leave their homes in Cherkassk, and the new capital being 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the River Don, with which the Cossacks were closely connected throughout its history. To compensate, there were even plans to deepen the Aksay River (a distributary of the Don) where the new city was located to eventually alter the course of the Don through the city. This plan was abandoned due to lack of funds, and for more than three decades the question of the place of the capital of the Don Cossack remained unresolved, while growth of Novocherkassk stagnated.