Foundation of the city

The town was founded 02 july 1860 as a Russian military outpost and was named Vladivostok (variously interpreted as “Rule the East,” “Lord of the East,” or “Conqueror of the East”).

Its foundation was preconditioned by signing the Treaty of Aigun in 1858, according to which Russia received the seaside territories that were previously owned by China. A year later, the East Siberian governor-general Nikolay Muravyov-Amursky explored Peter the Great Gulf's shores on his ship and noticed a deep and well-sheltered bay, which he named Zolotoy Rog (literally: Golden Horn) because of its resemblance with the namesake bay in Istanbul.

In 1872 the main Russian naval base on the Pacific was transferred there, and thereafter Vladivostok began to grow. In May 1880, Vladivostok with a population of 7.3 thousand people city status was conferred on it. The city also grew in importance after the construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway across Manchuria to Chita (completed in 1903), which gave Vladivostok a more direct rail connection to the rest of the Russian Empire.

20th century

During World War I Vladivostok was the chief Pacific entry port for military supplies and railway equipment sent to Russia from the United States. After the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917, Vladivostok was occupied in 1918 by foreign, mostly Japanese, troops, the last of whom were not withdrawn until 1922. The antirevolutionary forces in Vladivostok promptly collapsed, and Soviet power was established in the region.

During the Soviet period Vladivostok remained the home of the Pacific Fleet, which was greatly enlarged in the decades after World War II. Vladivostok’s military importance was such that it was closed to foreign shipping and other contacts from the late 1950s until the waning days of Soviet power in 1990. Its chief role as a commercial port subsequently reemerged, both as a link to other Russian ports of the Far East and as a port of entry for consumer goods from China, Japan, and other countries. The port is the eastern terminus of the Northern Sea Route along Russia’s Arctic seaboard from Murmansk and is the principal supply base for the Arctic ports east of Cape Chelyuskin.

In 1992 - the collapse of the USSR and the formation of the Russian Federation - that Vladivostok was re-opened for international relations.

APEC Russia 2012

The APEC Russia 2012 was the 24th annual gathering of APEC leaders. Leaders from the member economies met on Russky Island, off the coast of Vladivostok on September 9–10, 2012.

Transfiguration Cathedral
Transfiguration Cathedral

The summit on Russky Island saw the resort, catering and entertainment facilities, in addition to the renovation and upgrading of Vladivostok International Airport.

Two giant cable-stayed bridges were built in preparation for the summit, namely the Zolotoy Rog bridge over the Zolotoy Rog bay in the downtown, and Russky Island Bridge from mainland to Russky Island (which is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world right now). The new campus of the Far Eastern Federal University was also completed on the island by 2012 to house the summit.

Interesting Facts

The city train station was built as the last point of the Trans-Siberian Railway - the longest railway in the world that connects Moscow and Vladivostok - and is the utmost point of the immense Russia and the terminal point for everyone traveling from country's European part to the east.

Train Station

The Vladivostok train station was founded simultaneously with the railway in 1891. The Tsesarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich - future Russian Imperator Nicholas II - who visited the city within the framework of his Eastern trip participated directly in its foundation. Two years later the train station was solemnly opened. Its first stone building was notable for virtually ascetic simplicity and modesty of its forms.

However, in 1912, with Yaroslavsky terminal's construction in Moscow - the trains started their way to the Far East there - the Vladivostok train station was rebuilt in its image and likeness. In this way, architecturally finished train stations appeared on both sides of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Local residents used to joke that upon their arrival in Vladivostok a Muscovite who has taken a train from the Yaroslavsky terminal will see the Yaroslavsky terminal again.

Train Station

When the Soviet government took over the power, train station's building's appearance underwent significant changes: two-headed eagle was pulled down, panels with coats of arms, pictorial and relief scenes were covered with thick layer of plaster, and facades were repainted. Vladivostok train station preserved such look until the late 20th century, when tandem of talented Italian and Russian specialists restored the historical building in its initial splendor.

The funicular appeared on the Orlinaya Sopka's slope in 1962, with patronage of the then USSR's ruler Nikita Khrushchev, who was inspired by his visit to the USA and decided to turn Vladivostok into the second San-Francisco. In this way he intended to make it one of the most beautiful and beautified cities of the USSR and the whole world. Although large-scale USSR leader's plans weren't meant to come true in full, the funicular was built in Vladivostok.

Vladivostok funicular

Vladivostok funicular is an inimitable technical construction, too. It consists of two stops at Sopka's upper and lower points and two cars for 40 seats - red and blue - running between them. They move along single track railway, sliding apart at the midway.

Vladivostok funicular's total length is somewhat over 180 meters, and level difference between the lower and upper grounds is 70 meters. A ride takes only two minutes, but that's enough to enjoy mind-boggling views of the downtown area and the picturesque bay Zolotoy Rog. Observation ground on funicular's upper stop offers marvelous panoramic view.

Vladivostok funicular

Prior to funicular's appearance, a steep stairway was built on the Orlinaya Sopka's slope. It significantly shortened the way between mount's top and foot. Local residents give the stairs different nicknames: funicular's stairs, health stairs, and even 1001 stairs (although there are only 368 of them). Today, the stairway is used, when the funicular doesn't operate (i.e. at night) or is under repair.

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