Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Azoff

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AZOFF, or Asov (in Turkish, Asak), a town on the left bank of the southern arm of the Don, about 20 miles from its mouth. Its identification with the ancient Tanais and the mediæval Tana seems erroneous ; but it was long a place of great importance both as a military and commercial position. Peter the Great obtained possession of it after a protracted siege in 1696, and did a great deal for the security and prosperity of the town. At the peace of 1711, however, he had to restore it to the Turks ; and it was not till 1774 that 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 the city of Taganrog. Its population, principally engaged in the fisheries, numbers, according to Russian statistics, 16,791.