The mouth of the Don River has been of great commercial and cultural importance since the ancient times. It was the site of the Greek colony Tanais
Tanais is the ancient name for the River Don in Russia. Strabo regarded it as the boundary between Europe and Asia.In antiquity, Tanais was also the name of a city in the Don river delta that reaches into the northeasternmost part of the Sea of Azov, which the Greeks called Lake Maeotis...

, of the Genoese
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 fort Tana, and of the Turk
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

ish fortress Azak. (See the article on Azov
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 for detailed information on those settlements.)

Rostov-on-Don was founded on December 15, 1749, as a customs house was set up on the Temernik River
Temernik River
Temernik River is a small river in Rostov Oblast of Russia. It is a right tributary of the Don River, and is 35,5 km long, with a drainage basin of 293 km². Temernik is very polluted....

 (a tributary of the Don) to control the trade with Turkey.