Vladivostok Travel Guide
Vladivostok Travel Guide
Vladivostok is a port city in the Russian Far East, a gateway to Asia. Located on a peninsula washed by the Sea of Japan, it is the centre of the Primorsky Territory. This modern, changing city with its unique Russian and Golden Horn bridges, a huge university campus, and the Seaside Opera House is a place of sailors, fishermen and, of course, real adventurers. The city also hosts world-class events, including the APEC summit and the Eastern Economic Forum.
In ancient times, different peoples lived where modern Vladivostok now stands. The last of these tribes left the land after the Mongolian attack of 1233, and the territories remained unoccupied until the beginning of the 19th century.
The new development of the maritime provinces began with the signing of a Russian-Chinese treaty, according to which these lands were to be used by both countries. However, in 1860, the land was completely transferred into the possession of the Russian Empire. Shortly before this, the ships of Governor-General of Eastern Siberia Muravyov-Amursky, moving along the shores of the present Gulf of Peter the Great, discovered a fairly deep bay surrounded by mountains. It was a convenient place for mooring ships, and was chosen to establish a Russian outpost which marked the beginning of Russia’s ownership of the East. The place was called Vladivostok, and the bay itself received the poetic name of the Golden Horn.
Two years later, Vladivostok became a port and began to develop. The main naval base of the Siberian Navy was transferred to Vladivostok in 1871. Since that time, administrative, industrial and residential buildings appeared there, and the population of the port grew rapidly. It became more and more important in economic and strategic terms.
In 1880, Vladivostok acquired the official status of a city, and by the beginning of the 20th century, it had become the largest Far Eastern port and naval base in Russia. Here, the sea connections with the capital and other Russian port cities were established, and a railway linked the city with Siberia and the European part of the country. It was a time of industry and international trade development. Theatres, museums and libraries were opened, too.
The city became more and more attractive in a variety of ways, so the authorities began thinking about more reliable protection. Vladivostok fortress was considered one of the best coastal fortifications in the world.
In 1917, the revolution led numerous invaders to the city. In 1922, the Soviet authorities decided to begin restoration of an important political and military centre of the Far East coast. By the Second World War, they had achieved quite a lot. The infrastructure was improved, there was an extensive network of public transport, and several enterprises began to operate.
With the outbreak of the war, the transport routes became essential arteries for delivering the necessary cargoes to the front and their supporting industrial enterprises. During the war, the city ensured the uninterrupted work of the Ural and Siberian factories. After the war, Vladivostok managed to regain its former prosperity. In 1958, this booming international centre became a closed city.
Vladivostok continued to develop, and concentrated on internal trade and economics. New houses, administrative facilities, hospitals, kindergartens, cultural and art institutions were built at that time. Vladivostok became a leader in processing fish, shipbuilding and the repair of sea transport.
Today, Vladivostok is the administrative centre of Primorsky Territory with a population of more than 500 000 people.
Where to Stay
Guests staying in the city’s numerous hotels will be surprised by the fact that most of the staff speak not only Russian or English, but also Chinese or Japanese. A large influx of tourists made hoteliers improve their level of service, so most hotels in Vladivostok surprise visitors with their high service quality. Even economy-class hotels for low-cost accommodation provide the city's guests with everything they need.
Business-class hotels are located in the administrative centre of the city. Many hotels are located within walking distance of Amur Bay and offer guests comfortable accommodation and round- the-clock service. Have a look at luxury Hotel Versailles, Azimut Hotel, Hotel Hyundai or more affordable options like Capsule Hotel Zodiac or Hostel Millionka.
Bars and Restaurants
Vladivostok is a unique mixture of Russian, Korean and Japanese cuisine. There is a great variety of seafood restaurants offering the freshest oysters and Far Eastern fish. To try something special, visit Restaurant Svoy, Apartment 30 or Zuma. Chaynyy Dom Po-Vostochnomy offers a Chinese samovar where they bring out a pot of broth made up of different ingredients, and guests can make their own soup. Locals also recommend Tokyo Kawaii, Midia, Limoncello and Pyaty Ocean.
What to See
- The best way to explore the city is to walk down Svetlanskaya Street, the first street in the city. Its buildings preserve the historical spirit of the Russian Far East from the beginning of the 20th century, a real port city with numerous lodging houses and inns.
- The Golden Horn Bay (Zolotoy Rog) and the Golden Bridge are the main and most recognisable attractions. The Bridge is one of the five largest cable-stayed bridges in the world. Its construction was completed in 2012 and coincided with the APEC summit. The bridge across the Golden Horn Bay is located in the heart of Vladivostok and connects the city with remote areas and the federal highway. The Golden Bridge begins on the right bank of the bay in the Children's World area.
- Tokarevskaya Koshka lighthouse is a must-see during any excursion. It has been pointing the way for almost 150 years to ships entering the port through the Eastern Bosporus Strait. Tourists come here to see the ancient lighthouse and the seals, and take photos on the extreme edge of the continent.
- The Primorsk State Art Gallery is the only art museum in Primorie containing a wide collection of masterpieces.
- To see the unique species of Pacific flora and fauna, visit the Vladivostok Aquarium.
- Vladivostok Fortress is a complex of fortifications. One of the forts has been turned into a museum.
- The War History Museum of the Pacific Fleet is a unique open-air exhibition of military equipment. It includes a submarine and a Japanese mini-tank which took part in the battles near Lake Khasan in 1938. Here, you can see models of ships belonging to participants in the expedition of V.I. Bering and an extensive collection dedicated to the history of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905.
The city’s transport network includes buses, trolleybuses and trams. You can get to the urban territory of the islands by boat or ferry. You can also use the funicular in the Far East which begins on the slope of Eagle Hill and descends to the Golden Horn. The line of the underground metro consists of just seven stations.
As for international and long-distance routes, it’s relatively easy to get to Vladivostok from anywhere in the country as the city has all possible transport connections: railway, air and sea.
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