By the end of the 18th century, Taganrog lost its importance as a military base with Crimea and Azov Sea being under command of the Imperial Russia. The cities on Black Sea and Azov Sea transformed into important trade centers. The trade development demanded new measures and Alexander I introduced the office of governors who were in direct contact with H.I.M. The governorships (in different periods of time) were introduced in four Russian cities: Odessa, Taganrog, Feodosiya and Kerch. The post co-existed with the Head of the City or mayor and helped to develop trade and raise well-being of its citizens.
October 8, 1802 H.I.M. Alexandre I signed a decree establishing the city of Taganrog as a governate or borough (incorporated municipality with privileges given by royal charter). Taganrog was also the center of uezd (including the cities of Rostov on Don, Nakhichevan and Mariupol) from 1816 to 1834. Rostov was subordinated to Yekaterinoslav Governorate in 1834, while Nakhichevan and Mariupol remained within Taganrog's governorate until 1859.
In 1805, Balthasar von Campenhausen was appointed Mayor of Taganrog, where he created: the Taganrog Customs district; the new slope to the haven; new stone storehouses for goods; started construction of coasting vessels for transportation of goods to other Russian ports on Black and Azov Seas; inaugurated the navigation school, the commercial gymnasium and the commercial court; opened the first drugstore and introduced the posts of the city doctor and city midwife; opened the construction and building committee that planned the future city architectural development; introduced oil lighting in the streets; started the paving and greening of the streets; in April 1806 founded the City Park (now Gorky Park).
Tsar Alexander I also left his mark on the city. He came to Taganrog for spiritual solace at the end of his reign, and settled in a modest single-storeyed palace. Soon after moving to Taganrog he died - at least we think he did. Rumors arose that he ran off to Siberia and became a holy man, and that the body of a soldier who resembled him was used in the funeral. Taganrog was briefly a shadow capital of the empire.
After Alexander's death in Taganrog in 1825, the Empress Consort of Russia Yelizaveta Alexeevna (born Louise of Baden) stayed in the summer palace, where the tsar died, making all arrangements for the burial service in the Taganrog's Jerusalem Greek Monastery, and inaugurating in Taganrog the first memorial museum of Alexander I in Russia in 1826, which existed up until 1920. She died on the road from Taganrog to St. Petersburg in 1826.
At different times, eleven to sixteen foreign countries had their consulates in Taganrog. In 1911, the following foreign consulates were open in Taganrog:
The market played a key role in the city life and influenced also its appearance. From the beginning of the 19th century the city had rich private residences, social buildings. The commercial Taganrog became one of the largest industrial cities of Russian South. By the end of the 19th century grew the number of educational institutions.
Giuseppe Garibaldi frequently harbored his schooner Clorinda
in the city of Taganrog. There are even records that he was fined here for smuggling contraband cigars. A special day for Garibaldi came on a visit to Taganrog in April 1833, as his schooner charged with a shipment of oranges was moored for ten days in the Taganrog seaport. While the ship was unloading, the young captain walked through the streets of the city, visiting the houses of Italians who lived in Taganrog, and spending the night in little port inns. In one of such inns, he met Giovanni Battista Cuneo from Oneglia, a political immigrant from Italy and member of the secret movement "Young Italy"(La Giovine Italia
). Later, Garibaldi described this meeting in the following way: "In all circumstances of my life I continued consulting people and books on the revival of Italy, but until 24 years of old, these efforts were in vain. Finally in Taganrog I met a Ligurian who was the one to reveal me the real state of things in this country. I guess Columbus never felt so happy discovering America, as I felt there among the people who dedicated their lives to liberation of their Homeland
". In Taganrog, Giuseppe Garibaldi joined the society "Young Italy" and took an oath of dedicating his life to struggle for liberation of his Homeland from Austrian dominance.
During the second half of the 19th century the foreign trade turnover of Taganrog increased distinctly. Already at the beginning of the 20th century Taganrog held the second place in Russia in the importation and the sixth in the quantity of exported products. Due to dramatic developments in domestic commerce, the fairs lost their dominant role, and the stores, these 'eternal trade points' started to appear in the city. Petrovskaya Street and Gogolevski Street turned into main commercial highways of Taganrog.
The foreign investments into Russian economy influenced the development of a large-scale industry in Taganrog. In 1896 with Belgian investments, started the construction of the iron-and-steel factory
. Next year the factory began to function. The plant produced iron beams, railings, pipes, railway bands, iron sheets, rolled steel.
In 1896 the Belgian company “Albert Neuve, Wilde & Co” started the building of the boiler plant
. Besides the boilers, the works produced metallurgical constructions, iron and coppery castings, although it was inferior to the steel plant in the production volume and workers quantity. The tannery, founded in 1853, passed into the hands of the Belgian experts and was distinctly enlarged then.
Russian playwright and poet Nestor Kukolnik
who settled in Taganrog in 1857 influenced a lot the way the city and the neighboring area developed. Kukolnik was the first to prove the need of university education in the Don River region and on Azov Sea. His offer to open a university in Taganrog was not successful, but later it proved to be an important foundation for opening the Novorossiysk University in 1865. Kukolnik
also proved necessity of a newspaper in Taganrog. It was one of the reasons to open newspaper-publishing houses not only in Taganrog, but also in Odessa and Rostov on Don. Since 1865 Nestor Kukolnik led the workgroup that proved necessity of a railroad line from Kharkov to Taganrog. This work was success and Russian tsar Alexander II approved the project in 1868. He also was the first to raise the issue of environmental protection of the Gulf of Taganrog. But the related project encountered strong resistance from regional leadership and was not realized. Nestor Kukolnik
assisted in opening the county court in Taganrog, open after his death in 1869.
In 1887, the Taganrog's status as a borough was annulled, and Taganrog was annexed to the Don Voisko Province (earlier Taganrog was part of Yekaterinoslav government). According to the "City Statute" of 1870, the City Council (Duma)
was established in Taganrog for managing local development, trade, healthcare and public education.
Since the 1870 the roadwork was expanded. By the end of the century the main part of the downtown streets was already paved. At the same time the greenery was planted in the city center.
In 1866, the new city theatre
building was erected by the Italian architect Londeron. Thanks to the excellent acoustics of its hall, the theatre gained a nationwide glory. The plays of Anton Chekhov
, M.Gorky, A.N. Ostrovsky, W. Shakespeare were performed here. The special pride of the citizens was the Italian opera, financed by the local merchants, patrons of art. Taganrog theater had its own Italian opera from 1866 to 1875.
In 1876, the first public library was opened by Mayor Admiral Ivan Furugelm (Johan Hampus Furuhjelm), in 1898 the regional museum was founded, in 1907 the first “Mirage” cinema was built, few years later the wooden building of the circus was erected. In 1871 the first private newspaper “Azovski Vestnik” (“Azov Bulletin”) was established, later renamed “Taganrogski Verstnik” (“Taganrog Bulletin”). Among the city intellectuals were artists, musicians and columnists.