AZOV, or Asov (in Turkish, Asak), a town of Russia, in
the government of the DonCossacks, on the left bank of the southern arm
of the Don, about 20 m. from its mouth. The ancient Tanais lay some 10 m.
to the north. In the 13th century the Genoese had a factory here which
they called Tana. Azov was long a place of great military and commercial
importance. Peter the Great obtained possession of it after a protracted
siege in 1696, but in 1711 restored it to the Turks; in 1739 it was
finally united to the Russian empire. Since then it has greatly declined,
owing to the silting up of its harbour and the competition of Taganrog.
Its population, principally engaged in the fisheries, numbered 25,124 in
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