Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East
By Marina Smiley
To many world-wide travelers seeking adventure, the Russian
Far East is a very desirable place to visit, and of course
if you are going to visit this region, you do not want to miss seeing the famous sea port, Vladivostok.
Vladivostok, meaning the “Lord of the East” in Russian, is
located just across the Sea of Japan but a very distant
6,200 miles east of Moscow.
Interestingly, this beautiful sea port city was so far from
the center of communist rule, when Russia was better known
as the Soviet Union, that it was not until 1954 that a leader of the USSR visited this city.
I am talking about Nikita Khrushchev, a man who became famous, worldwide, for his eccentric statements and actions. He was the first one to call Vladivostok the “Russian San-Francisco” which in many ways is a fairly accurate comparison.
Like San Francisco, the city of Vladivostok is located on a
hilly region surrounded by a bay, in this case the Gold Horn Bay
Visitors who arrive to this city enjoy the spectacular view,
which is surprisingly similar to San Francisco.
Vladivostok is also the home port of the Russian Navy’s pacific fleet, and there are hundreds of military ships and submarines located in the Gold Horn Bay. As a result of this, the city of Vladivostok was a closed region for more than 70 years.
Vladivostok was city for a military installation, and even Russian citizens wanting to visit relatives, were forbidden to travel to this city without special permits and passes. It was not until the year of 1992 that Vladivostok was officially opened for foreign visitors as well as the rest of the Russian population.
Today thousands of tourists from all over the world travel to Vladivostok. Some take the wonderful 7 day journey from Moscow on the Trans Siberian Railway, while others prefer to travel to Japan or China, and finally finishing their adventure by arriving at the Russian “Lord of the East”.
Many travelers make the exciting journey by the ship, going to every worlds’ major sea port including Vladivostok.
Vladivostok attracts many tourists’ attention not only because of its’beautiful location, but also for its’ very rich history:
There are quite a few historical buildings and monuments still standing that hold the memories of many events from the 1860, when this city was founded, to present day.
These historical buildings remember the times when Vladivostok was given a free trade status with the purpose of encouraging foreign trade in 1878.
There are still building standing that, if they could speak, could tell you about the times of the Russian-Japanese war, when a squadron of Japanese warships attacked the city firing over a hundred shots.
Vladivostok’s hills saw the Japanese, British, and American cruisers entered the Golden Horn Bay in 1917, and the supporters of the Bolsheviks conducted a partisan struggle in the city.
From 1917 to 1922 Vladivostok became a cultural bastion.
During the ensuing years, beginning in 1917, Vladivostok became a haven for many Russians trying to escape from the clutches of the new Soviet regime, settling in the port city while retreating to the east together with the White Army.
Among them were many Russians, the creative intelligentsia from Moscow and St Petersburg. They established conservatories, theaters, symphony orchestras and art centers in Vladivostok before escaping to countries such as Australia, China, the USA, and other lands after the Bolsheviks, in 1922, achieved victory in the Far East.
This city can still remember the 1930s when the Stalinist repressions began and the transit camps were constructed housing political prisoners from the Western regions of Russia to Kolyma, and to the new camp in Vladivostok.
This city remembers when it was Russia’s biggest military port during the cold war and the beginningof “Perestroika.”
Now, Vladivostok is filled with businesses from all over the world coming to take advantage of the city's position as the gate to modern Russia, Japan, China, and Korea.
About the Author
Marina Smiley is the author of the popular eBook
"Cheap Ticket To Russia" - tips for budget travelers to Russia.