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Vladivostok

Country
Russian Federation
State
Primorski Krai
City
Vladivostok
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

Vladivostok is Russia's largest port city on the Pacific Ocean and the administrative center of Primorsky Krai.It is situated at the head of the Golden Horn Bay, not far from Russia's borders with China and North Korea.It is the home port of the Russian Pacific Fleet.The population of the city, according to the preliminary results of the 2010 Census, is 592,100,down from 594,701 recorded in the 2002 Census.In 2012, Vladivostok will host the 24th Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.In preparation for the event, the infrastructure of the city is being renovated and improved.Two giant cable-stayed bridges are currently under construction in Vladivostok, namely the Zolotoy Rog bridge over the Zolotoy Rog Bay in the center of the city, and the Russky Island Bridge from the mainland to Russky Island, where the summit will take place.The latter bridge will become the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world upon completion.The territory on which modern Vladivostok is located had been part of many nations, such as the Mohe, Balhae, Jīn Dynasty, Yuan Dynasty, and various Chinese dynasties, before Russia acquired the entire Maritime Province and the island of Sakhalin by the Treaty of Beijing (1860).Qing China, which had just lost the Opium War with Britain, was unable to defend the region. The Pacific coast near Vladivostok was settled mainly by the Chinese, Jurchens, Manchus and Koreans during the Imperial Chinese Qing dynasty period. A French whaler visiting the Zolotoy Rog in 1852 discovered Chinese or Manchu village fishermen on the shore of the bay.The naval outpost was founded in 1859 by Count Nikolay Muravyov-Amursky, who named it on the model of Vladikavkaz, a Russian fortress in the Caucasus. The Russians erected an elaborate system of fortifications between the 1870s and 1890s. A telegraph line from Vladivostok to Shanghai and Nagasaki was opened in 1871, the year when a commercial port was relocated here from Nikolayevsk-on-Amur. Town status was granted on April 22, 1880. The municipal coat of arms, representing the Siberian tiger, was adopted in March 1883.

A very important employer and a major source of revenue for the city's inhabitants is the import of Japanese cars.Besides salesmen, the industry employs repairmen, fitters, import clerks as well as shipping and railway companies.The Vladivostok dealers sell 250,000 cars a year, with 200,000 going to other parts of Russia.Every third worker in the Primorsky Krai has some relation to the automobile import business. In recent years, the Russian government has made attempts to improve the country's own car industry. This has included raising tariffs for imported cars, which has put the car import business in Vladivostok in difficulties. To compensate, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered the car manufacturing company Sollers to move one of its factories from Moscow to Vladivostok. The move was completed in 2009, and the factory now employs about 700 locals. It is planned to produce 13,200 cars in Vladivostok in 2010.Vladivostok is the starting point of Ussuri Highway (M60) to Khabarovsk, the eastern most part of Trans-Siberian Highway that goes all the way to Moscow and Saint Petersburg via Novosibirsk. The other main highways go east to Nakhodka and south to Khasan.The Trans-Siberian Railway was built to connect European Russia with Vladivostok, Russia's most important Pacific Ocean port. Finished in 1905, the rail line ran from Moscow to Vladivostok via several of Russia's main cities. Part of the railroad, known as the Chinese Eastern Line, crossed over into Manchuria, China, passing through Harbin, a major city in Manchuria. During the Soviet era, Vladivostok's status as a closed city meant that ferry-passenger tourists arriving from Japan to travel the Trans-Siberian railway westbound had to embark in Nakhodka. Today, Vladivostok serves as the main starting point for the Trans-Siberian portion of the Eurasian Land Bridge.Maxim Gorky Academic Theater was founded in 1931. It is named in honor of the Russian author, Maxim Gorky and is used for drama, musical and children's theater performances.



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How to Reach

By Air

Air routes connect Vladivostok International Airport with Japan, People's Republic of China, North Korea, South Korea and Vietnam. It is possible to get to Vladivostok from several of the larger cities in Russia. Regular flights to Seattle, Washington were available in the 1990s but have been canceled since. Vladivostok Air resumed flying to Anchorage, Alaska in July 2008.

By Train

The Trans-Siberian Railway was built to connect European Russia with Vladivostok, Russia's most important Pacific Ocean port. Finished in 1905, the rail line ran from Moscow to Vladivostok via several of Russia's main cities. Part of the railroad, known as the Chinese Eastern Line, crossed over into Manchuria, China, passing through Harbin, a major city in Manchuria. During the Soviet era, Vladivostok's status as a closed city meant that ferry-passenger tourists arriving from Japan to travel the Trans-Siberian railway westbound had to embark in Nakhodka. Today, Vladivostok serves as the main starting point for the Trans-Siberian portion of the Eurasian Land Bridge.

By Road

Vladivostok is the starting point of Ussuri Highway (M60) to Khabarovsk, the eastern most part of Trans-Siberian Highway that goes all the way to Moscow and Saint Petersburg via Novosibirsk. The other main highways go east to Nakhodka and south to Khasan.

By Bus

There are a number of local bus routes from most suburban locations and nearby towns as well. Most places around the region are linked to Vladivostok by bus. There are also several international routes, linking Vladivostok to cities in northeastern China such as Harbin, Mudanjiang and Suifenhe. The easiest way from north eastern China is to take the direct bus from Harbin, to where there are good train connections to/from Beijing. It takes about five hours to get to the city from the Chinese border, and the road goes through one of the most picturesque areas of the Russian Far East.

By Ferries

There is also a service connecting Vladivostok and Sokcho, South Korea. It costs about US$200 and takes two days. One ship leaves Sokcho each week, on Thursday, although they become more frequent in the summer months (June-August). Due to the recent new law, anyone entering Russia on cruise ferries can do it without visa if the stay is no longer than 72 hours, and there are discussion to extend this practice to Russian nationals visiting Korea and Japan.It is also possible to go anywhere in the world (and come from anywhere as well) by booking a berth on a cargo boat. Usual caveats of freighter travel apply, though (it's definitely NOT for a casual tourist), and one need to keep in mind that Russian border and customs officials aren't used to people traveling this way. The ferry port is right next to the train station, so the two are interchangeable for purposes of orientation.

Key places to visit
Ploschad Bortsov Revolutsy, Arsenev Regional History Museum, Museum Vladivostok Fortress, Russia's Pacific Fleet, Maxim Gorky Academic Theater


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Places to Visit

Ploschad Bortsov Revolutsy

This is a good place to relax and watch the locals at leisure. A pair of massive statues serve as the Memorial to the Fighters for the Soviet Power in the Far East, in honor of those who brought this remote corner of Russia under Bolshevik control. Today, they're more a memorial to the power of local skateboarders. You might also have the chance to take in a protest march. The giant, strikingly ugly regional administration building looms over the square.

Arsenev Regional History Museum

Mostly a natural history museum, save for a few pieces of Stalinist kitsch and a tribute to Hollywood star and hometown hero Yul Brynner. There are some interesting displays on pre-Russian settlers and their techniques for hunting and survival, but the death-dance between the tiger and the bear has to be seen to be believed.

Museum Vladivostok Fortress

Opening time 10AM-6PM daily.Overlooking the sea, these fortifications were built more than a century ago to guard against invasion from Japan. Today, the grounds are cluttered with defused bombs, chain guns, and small military vehicles. Those can be visited for free; there's a small fee to go inside the several rooms of the fort, which feature displays on the history of Russia's presence in the region and some intricate dioramas.

Russia's Pacific Fleet

Is parked in the waters off the coast of Vladivostok, in Golden Horn Bay. A walk along the waterfront on Korabelnaya Embankment offers the closest views; to get any closer, you will have to enlist. Photographs with an average-sized camera shouldn't attract any problems, but be mindful of your surroundings or an enterprising police officer might invent a fine for you to pay.

Maxim Gorky Academic Theater

Was founded in 1931.It is named in honor of the Russian author, Maxim Gorky and is used for drama, musical and children's theater performances.

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