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Brief History.

Vladivostok’s beginning started with the ratification of the Aigunski Treaty between Russia and China in 1858. As an outcome of the Agreement Russia had obtained the seashore territory in the east of the country.
The first task was to find a non-freezing way into the Pacific ocean and to build a port. Soon the first settlement was developed in the bay which resembled the Istanbul’s Golden Horn Bay and was named the same way. The port was named Vladivostok which is literally translated “The owner of the East”.

It started to develop rapidly and soon became the commercial, military and cultural center of the Eastern Russia. The headquarter of the Russian Pacific Imperial Navy moved here from Nikolayevsk.

A further boost to the region was given by the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway which connected Vladivostok with Europe and became the longest Railway in the world (9288 km). By the beginning of the First World War the population of the city reached 100 thousand; the port of Vladivostok became one of the biggest in the world and contributed a lot to supplying belligerent Europe with ammunition and equipment. In 1915 a large fortress was completed which is known to be the best sea fortress in the world.

In 1917 when the communists seized the power in Russia and the Civil war broke out Vladivostok became one of the centers of the White Army striving to defeat communists. It was fated to be the last Russian city where the White Army continued resisting to the communists but in 1922 thousands of officers, merchants and noblemen had to emigrate from Russia being oppressed by the new government from the port of Vladivostok.
During the Soviet era once the most international Russian city was closed for foreigners and was reopened only in 1991.


Vladivostok Overview.

Vladivostok is a vibrant city on the easternmost edge of Russia. It represents Russian culture in Asia but it is so different from other Russian cities, as many foreigners admit.

This is the most European city in Asia and the easternmost European city. Three Asian capitals (Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing) are situated just in a 90 minutes flight from Vladivostok while the Russian capital – Moscow – is 9 hours away. Even Australian Sydney is closer. This nearness to the most important Asian cities contributed to the formation of the international spirit here in Vladivostok and despite its population of less than 1 million many other Russian cities (which are closer to Moscow) are much more provincial in nature.

Vladivostok is definitely the third greatest Russian city after Moscow and St Petersburg. Not the biggest cities (it is less then million) but certainly the most important ones. Often on the world maps only these three Russian cities are marked. Moreover, in the past few years Vladivostok began to attain significant attention from the Russian government – it attracts huge public investments. Here are just a few projects under implementation:

- New international airport with high speed railway connection with the city center;

- One city entrance highway is being reconstructed and one more is being built;
- Two huge guy bridges are being constructed, one would-be the biggest one in the world (linking Russky island where the APEC 2012 summit will take place);
- Opera Theatre with 1800 seats;
- Far Eastern Federal University campus etc.

The city is build on hills surrounding the Golden Horn Bay and most of the roads start in the town below and make their way winding up to the hills. It offers a lot of view points across the bay and port and is often called “Russian San-Francisco” or even “the most American Russian city”. This is a marvelous place to stay fit: scattered among the hills it sometimes can turn a walk into a good hiking.

Vladivostok is the terminus of the Trans-Siberian railway – the longest railway in the world. Though in the city it is considered that the railway starts her but not ends. The port of Vladivostok is an important trading and military port and also the base for the Russian Pacific Fleet.
Vladivostok downtown impresses its guests with its 150-year-old charm and sometimes eclectic mix of modern and historic buildings. Business centers and shopping malls neighbor both with historic imperial style buildings and blocks of former China Town with its numerous nooks and dark corners.

If one heard that Vladivostok is the place where tigers and bears are walking in the downtown, let he know that that was a joke. These animals are gone within city limits, though having left some traces in the city toponymy: such as Tiger Hill with its three tiger sculptures.

Numerous guests notice mainly two weak points of the city – firstly, this is one of the most expensive places in Russia and, secondly, there are constant traffic jams. The latter thing is the result of the fact that Vladivostok holds one of the leading positions in the number of cars per person in Russia.