Vladivostok City

 About city

In summer of 1859 Governor-General of Eastern Siberia N.N. Muravyov-Amursky calling at the Gulf of Peter the Great on board the steam corvette America visited the peninsula and the bay that was somewhat similar to the Bay of the Golden Horn in Konstantinopol (Istanbul). The peninsula was later named Muravyov-Amursky and the bay the Golden Horn Bay (Zolotoy Rog). A beautiful, convenient harbor as though nature-intended to be a port of, caught his eye. The first Europeans visited this bay were two English Frigates Winchester and Barrakuda and it happened in 1855.

On June, 20 (July, 2 - New Style) 1860 the military supply ship Manchur under the command of Captain-Lieutenant A.K. Shefner called at the Golden Horn Bay to found an outpost. The future outpost was named Vladivostok (meaning Lord of the East). 28 soldiers under the command of Ensign N.V. Komarov, were brought from Nickolaevsk-on-the-Amur by ship to construct the first buildings of the future city. In 1862 the outpost of Vladivostok officially became a Port. With the purpose to encourage foreign trade, a Free Port Status or Free Trade Status for imported goods was established. In 1864 the Command of the Southern Harbors was moved to Vladivostok from Nickolaevsk-on-the-Amur. A year later a Shipbuilding Yard was established in Vladivostok and the first settlers from Nickolaevsk-on-the-Amur began arriving. Foreigners began visiting Vladivostok. In 1871 it was decided that the Naval Port, Military Governors Residence, and the main base of the Siberian Military Flotilla were to be moved from Nikolaevsk-on-the-Amur to Vladivostok.

The first street of Vladivostok was Americanskaya Street that was named in 1871 to commemorate the above-mentioned corvette America. Two years later it was renamed and got the name Svetlanskaya Street in honor of the frigate Svetlana on which the Grand Duke Alexey Alexandrovitch visited Vladivostok. At that very time it was consisted of a part of todays Svetlankskaya Street: from the Amursky Bay to house # 85. Its other parts were then considered as separate streets and had the names of Portovaya, Afanasyevskaya, Aekipazhnaya streets.

In 1878 40% of over 4 000 residents in Vladivostok were foreigners. In 1880 the Volunteers Fleet with the help of the government organized regular trips between Odessa, Petersburg and Vladivostok. On April 28 (May, 10) 1880 Vladivosotk was proclaimed a city and a separate administrative unit independent from the Primorye Oblast. At that time the population of the city totaled 7300 people that is twice as many as in 1878. Three hotels operated in Vladivostok at that time, they are Moscow Hotel, Vladivostok Hotel and Hotel De Louvr.

In 1883 The Resettlement Administration was established in Vladivostok and the steamships of the Volunteers Fleet began a mass transport of peasants from European Russia to the Far East where active settling had begun. Vladiostok became the main shipping center. A great increase in the citys significance was a result. In 1888 the residence of the Oblast Governor (Governor of the region) was moved from Khabarovsk to Vladivostok. In 1899 Vladivostok was proclaimed a Fortress and two torpedoboats brought disassembled from the Black Sea were launched.

In the 1880s the cultural life in Vladivostok became more active and a music school at the Siberian Fleet Depot was opened. In 1883 the first newspaper Vladivostok began circulation. In 1884 The Society of the Amursky Territory Study headed by F. Busse was established. In 1887 the public Reading-Hall was opened in Vladivostok and the professional theater performed in Vladivostok for the first time. The city began acquire modern amenities. The trees were planted along the main streets and 120 kerosene street-lamps were installed in the city streets.

By the end of the 1880s Vladivostok had approximately 600 wooden and more than 50 stone houses, some of them were 2 and 3 storied buildings. The main urban buildings were grouped in the area of todays central square and the Matrosskaya Sloboda (Sailors Suburb) a territory from the Obyasneniya River as far as Gaydamak Tram Stop. These figures are not large for a city, which was about 30 years old. But considering the fact that it is located 10 000 km from the major cultural centers of the Russian Empire and that it took 3 or 4 months for the mail to arrive from those places, one can admire the persistence and stubbornness of the first settlers.

In the 1890s the shipping lines Kobe Nagasaki Vladivostok were opened. In 1891 the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad began in Vladivostok. This is one of the longest railroads in the world and it was very important for the development of many remote Russian outlying districts. In 1897 a new Commercial Port in Vladivostok was opened and regular traffic to Khabarovsk by rail began. In 1899 the first Far Eastern higher educational institution The Oriental Institute was established. Today it houses the main building of the Far Eastern State Technical University. From 1899 through 1909 four theaters were opened in Vladivostok. In the period between the two Russian Revolutions (1907 - 1917) a Railway Station of Russian Architecture of the 17th century style which resembled the Yaroslavsky Railway Station in Moscow, the City Power Station, two Girls Schools, the School of Commerce and Versailles Hotels were constructed. There were about 3000 shops and stores, Publishing Houses issued 61 different books in Russian and foreign languages. By 1917 Vladivostok had become a scientific, cultural and industrial center, the largest in the Far East and Eastern Siberia. Many newspapers and magazines were published and the first theater buildings of stone were constructed in the city.  

After the October Revolution of 1917 a new stage of life began in Vladivostok as well as in the whole country. The armed forces of the Entente were brought into the city and the West of Russia. On December 31, 1917 Japanese, British and American Cruisers entered the Golden Horn Bay. In April of 1918 the Japanese Firm Isido was attacked in Vladivostok. After this incident the Japanese and British Commands landed their troops under the pretext of protecting their citizens. The supporters of the Bolsheviks conducted a partisan struggle in the city. From 1916 through 1922 population in the city increased from 97 000 to 410 000 people as a result of the opponents of the new Regime settling in the port city while retreating to the East together with the White Army. There were many Russian cultural workers among them; about 650 representatives of Moscow and Petersburg creative intelligentsia lived in Vladivostok. They established two conservatories, two theaters and several symphony orchestras here. They published a number of art magazines. After the victory of the Bolsheviks the majority of these people moved to Australia, China, USA and other countries. On October 25 1922 the last units of the interventionists left the city and the units of the Red Army took control completely. Later, in November, the Far Eastern Republic existed from 1920 till 1922 was included into the RFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republc). The Bolsheviks understood the importance of Vladivostok as a major Russian port on the Pacific Coast and as an outpost of the Communist Empire in the East. In the 1920s 1930s the reconstruction of the Vladivostok Port was carried out and the construction of the Fishing Port began. In the beginning of the 1930s direct flights left Moscow for Vladivostok and vice versa.

Far Eastern University was established in Vladivostok in the beginning of 1920s but at the end of the 1930s, during Stalins Regime, it was closed for 20 years. In 1925 The Pacific Scientific-Commercial Station was established in Vladivostok. It was reorganized into The Pacific Scientific-Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography in 1930. In 1932 the Far Eastern Division of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR was created in the city. So, as you can see, science and culture acquired the spirit of that time which was reflected in their zigzag development. Radio Station began broadcasting; three theaters and three new movie-theaters were opened in the city. The collection of Primorye Picture Gallery was formed during 1929-1931. About 1 000 pictures were brought from the Hermitage, Russian Museum and Tretyakovskaya Gallery. And you know, after the Revolution of 1917 many museums located in the Russian Provinces were formed by this principle.

In the 1930s the mass repression began in the country and the transit camp for political prisoners carried out from the western regions of Russia to Kolyma was opened in Vladivostok. The prisoners constituted a considerable part of the labor force that built factories, ports and cities in the Far East from 1930 through 1940.

A new intensive development of the city began after visiting by Nikita Khruschev in 1954, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He was the first acting leader of Russia and the whole USSR who visited the city. Far Eastern State University, the only classical university in the Russian Far East until today, was reopened; a lot of micro-regions have been built intensively; new multistory buildings and constructions were built; the fisheries industry was developed, a large volume of military goods were produced. And from 1930 till 1970s foreigners were not allowed to visit Vladivostok. And even after Gerald Fords, the president of the USA, visit to Vladivostok the ordinary citizens couldnt visit the city, the city that was home base of the Pacific Fleet for almost 20 years. Even Russian citizens had to get special permission to visit their friends and relatives. And in 1992, for the first time in 70 years, Vladivostok was officially opened for visits by foreigners. Since that time it has been welcoming many people to enjoy its beauty and culture.

Today Vladivostok is the capital and the largest city of Primorye. With a population of 660,000 people and a total area of over 600 sq.km (230 sq. miles), it is also the largest city of the Russian Far East and, of course, one of the most interesting and remarkable cities of Russia. Vladivostok is one of the ten most prospective cities of the world, as determined by the special UNESCO Commission. Of all the European-style cities it is the closest to the Asian Pacific region. And its not the all. Today Vladivostok is a port city of sailors, fishermen and shipbuilders. The third part of Vladivostok citizens work in professions relating to the sea. The streets begin and end at the coast. The numerous masts of vessels in the Golden Horn Bay look almost like a forest of trees. Passenger ships, huge fish-factory vessels, military ships and even ice-breakers sail in the waters of Vladivostok. As you will see, everything in Vladivostok has connection with the sea: the city's history, landscapes, and industry; even the railroad, which ends where the ocean begins.

Vladivostok is the leading scientific center in the Russian Far East. The headquarters of the Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Science is located in Vladvostok. The academy consists of 35 scientific research institutions located in Vladivostok, Kamchatka, Sakhalin, Khabarovsk and Magadan. Scientists are engaged in fundamental and applied research in a variety of fields. Many scientists are the members of various foreign academies and well known in the world.

There are many educational centers: 13 higher education institutions such as the Far Eastern State University, the Far Eastern State Technical University, Vladivostok Medical University, Far Eastern Marine Academy, Pacific Naval Institute, Vladivostok State University of Economics and Management and the Far Eastern State Institute of the Arts.

Many universities established links with educational institutes of the USA, Japan, Great Britain, Italy and China. Regional scientific conferences and symposia are regularly held in the city. Two frigates Pallada and Nadezhda were designed to train students of the Fishery University and Marine Academy. They participated in numerous regattas and round-the-world trips. Today they are one of city attractions for tourists. Voyages on these frigates can be arranged upon request.

There are a number of theaters in Vladivostok. The biggest and the most popular one is Primorsky Krai Gorky Drama Theater. Russian and foreign plays are regularly staged here. There are also fine performances in Chamber Theater, Pacific Navy Theater and Youth Theater. The majority of the concerts take place in the Concert Hall of Primorsky Krai Philarmonic Society situated in a historical building in downtown. The biggest concert hall of the city is in the Seamen Culture Palace located on Egersheld Peninsula.

The comfortable location of Vladivostok makes it a real Gateway to the Russian Far East or as its called sometimes Russian San Francisco. A sprawling port and transport hub that links the capitals of Asia and Europe. Flights from Vladivostok to cities in Japan, South Korea, Peoples Republic of China take a few hours only. The flight to Moscow, however, takes about 8 hours. Here, from the Peter the Great Bay Russian vessels go away to Japan, Korea, China and other countries of the South East Asia.



You are welcome to Vladivostok!

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