Vladivostok (Russian: Владивосто́к) is a city in Russia. It is the home port of the Russian Navy's Pacific Fleet and the administrative center of Primorsky Krai. The city's name means "controlling the East" in Russian; in the Chinese language, the city is known as 海参崴 (pinyin: Hǎishēnwēi)—"holothurian harbor."
The territory of modern Vladivostok was part of Qing Empire. It was ceded to Russia as a result of the Treaty of Aigun of 1858 and of the Beijing Treaty of 1860.
In summer of 1859, Governor-General of Eastern Siberia, Nikolay N. Muravyov , visited the peninsula and the bay, which was somewhat similar to the Bay of the Golden Horn in Constantinople (now Istanbul), aboard the steam corvette Amerika. The peninsula was named Muravyov-Amursky . The future outpost was later named Vladivostok, and the bay—the Golden Horn Bay (Russian: Золото́й Рог; English transliteration: Zolotoy Rog). The first Europeans to visit this bay were two English frigates Winchester and Barrakuda in 1855.
On June 20 (July 2 Gregorian style), 1860 the military supply ship Manchur, under the command of Captain-Lieutenant Alexey K. Shefner , called at the Golden Horn Bay to found an outpost of Vladivostok. 28 soldiers under the command of Ensign N.V. Komarov were brought from Nikolayevsk-na-Amure 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 a Free Trade Status for imported goods, was established. In 1864 the Command of the Southern Harbours was moved to Vladivostok from Nikolayevsk-na-Amure. A year later a Shipbuilding Yard was established in Vladivostok and the first settlers from Nikolayevsk-na-Amure began arriving. Foreigners started visiting Vladivostok. In 1871 it was decided that the Naval Port, Military Governor's Residence, and the main base of the Siberian Military Flotilla were to be moved from Nikolayevsk-na-Amure to Vladivostok. The same year the Danish Telegraphic Company connected Vladivostok to Nagasaki and Shanghai by means of underwater International cable. Vladivostok's first street was Amerikanskaya Street (ул. Америка́нская), which was named to commemorate the above-mentioned corvette America in 1871. Two years later it was renamed Svetlanskaya Street (ул. Светла́нская), in honor of the frigate Svetlana, on which the Grand Duke Alexey Aleksandrovich visited Vladivostok. At that time it consisted of a part of today's Svetlanskaya Street, from the Amursky Bay to house #85. Its other parts were then considered as separate streets and had the names of Portovaya (Порто́вая), Afanasyevskaya (Афана́сьевская), Ekipazhnaya (Экипа́жная), etc.
In 1878, 40% of over 4,000 residents of Vladivostok were foreigners. This was reflected in the names of the young city streets, such as Koreyskaya (Korean), Pekinskaya (Peking), Kitayskaya (Chinese), etc. Their present names are Pogranichnaya (ул. Пограни́чная), Admirala Fokina (ул. Адмира́ла Фо́кина), and Okeansky Avenue (Океа́нский проспе́кт). In 1880 the Volunteer's Fleet with the help of the government organized regular trips between Odessa, St. Petersburg, and Vladivostok. On April 28 (May 10 Gregorian style), 1880 Vladivostok was officially proclaimed a city, and a separate administrative unit, independent from Primorskaya Oblast. At that time the city population totalled 7,300 people, which is twice as many as in 1878. Three hotels operated in Vladivostok at that time, including Moscow, Vladivostok, and Hotel de Louvre.
In 1883 the Resettlement Administration was established in Vladivostok, and the steamships of the Volunteer's Fleet began a mass transport of peasants from European Russia to the Far East, where active settling had recently begun. Vladivostok became the main shipping center. This resulted in a greater increase in the city's significance. In 1888 the residence of the Oblast Governor was moved from Khabarovsk to Vladivostok. In 1889 Vladivostok was proclaimed a Fortress, and two torpedo-boats, 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 Fyodor 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 to acquire modern amenities. The trees were planted along the main streets and 120 kerosene streetlamps were installed on the city streets.
By the end of 1880s Vladivostok had approximately 600 wooden and more than 50 stone houses, some of them were 2 and 3 story buildings. The main urban buildings were grouped in the area of today's 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 stubborness of the first settlers.
In the 1890s the shipping lines Kobe-Nagasaki-Vladivostok and Shanghai-Nagasaki-Vladivostok were opened.
In 1891 the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad began in Vladivostok. This is one of the world's longest railroads, and has been very important for the development of many remote Rusian outlying districts.
In 1897 a new Commercial Port was opened in Vladivostok 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 (FESTU).
From 1899 through 1909 four theaters were opened in Vladivostok. They were the Tikhy Okean Theater (the Pacific Ocean), the Public Theater, which followed the creative methods of Moscow Artistic Theater, the Zolotoy Rog Theater (the Golden Horn), the Pushkin Theater, where the guest performance by Vera Kommisarzhevskaya , a famous Russian actress, took place. In 1912 The Theater and Music Newspaper was first published.
During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 a Japanese squadron of warships attacked the city with over a hundred shots. The Vladivostok Cruiser Group participated in the war, blocking the approaches to the besieged Port-Arthur.
During the first Russian Revolution the city was involved in the conflict. In the beginning of 1906 it was even governed by the rebelling military units.
In the period between the two Russian Revolutions (1907-1917) a Railway Station of Russian architecture of the 17th century style, the city power station, two girls' schools, the School of Commerce, and Versailles Hotel were constructed. Trams began operating in the city streets. In 1909, for example, the port was visited by a total of 795 steamships, including 477 foreign ships. There were approximately 3,000 shops and stores in Vladivostok. In 1913 the local 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 incindent 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 the population of Vladivostok 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. Among them were many Russian cultural workers. From 1920 through 1922, 650 representatives of the Moscow and St. Petrsburg creative intelligentsia lived in Vladivostok. They established two conservatories, two theaters, and several symphony orchestras here. They also published a number of art magazines. (After the victory of Bolsheviks the majority of these people moved to Australia, China, USA, and other countries. By 1926 the population of Vladivostok totalled 108,000 people). On October 25, 1922 the last units of the interventionists left the city, and the units of the Red Army completely took control. On November 15, 1922 the Far Eastern Republic, which existed from 1920 through 1922, was included into the RSFSR.
The Bolsheviks who won control of Russia understood very well 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 began. In the beginning of the 1930s direct air traffic to Moscow and Vladivostok began. In 1932 Vladivostok became the base of the Pacific Naval Fleet.
Science and culture acquired the spirit of that time, which was reflected in their zigzag development. In the beginning of the 1920s the Far Eastern State University was established in Vladivostok. At the end of the 1930s, during Stalin's 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 (TINRO) in 1930. In 1932 the Far Eastern Division of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR was created in the city.
In 1926 a radio station began broadcasting in Vladivostok. Three theaters and three new movie-theaters were opened in the city in 1931. The collection of the Primorye Picture Gallery was formed during 1929-1931. About 1,000 pictures were brought here from the Hermitage, Russian Museum, and Tretyakovskaya Gallery . After the Revolution of 1917 many museums located in the Russian provinces were formed by this principle.
In the 1930s the mass repressions began in the country, and the transit camp for political prisoners carried from the Western regions of Russia to Kolyma, was opened in Vladivostok. The prisoners, at first Russian, and after the end of the World War II the Japanese POWs, constituted a considerable part of the labor force which built factories, ports, and cities in the Far East from 1930 through 1940.
In 1954 the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, visited Vladivostok. Nikita Khrushchev was the first acting leader of Russia and the whole USSR, who visited the city. Khrushchev became famous worldwide for his eccentric statements and actions. He also used to compare Vladivostok with San Francisco. After his visit intensive development of the city began.
In 1956 the Far Eastern State University, the only classical university in the Russian Far East until today, was reopened. The micro-regions of Vtoraya Rechka (the Second River) (since the early 1960s), Morgorodok (since the early 1960s), Churkin (since the late 1950s), and Tikhaya Bay have been built intensively. Vladivostok's last large district built with the new multistory houses is the region of Patrisa Lumumby Street and Neybuta Street where the multistory construction works began in 1980.
From 1950s to the 1980s the fisheries industry was developed. For many years the ports of Vladivostok ranked first in terms of freight turnover in the Far East of Russia, having only recently yielded to Nakhodka. Vladivostok produced a large volume of military goods.
From 1930 till 1970s foreigners were not allowed to visit Vladivostok. In 1974 a historic meeting between the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) Leonid Brezhnev and the president of the USA, Gerald Ford, was held in Vladivostok. Nevertheless, after Ford's visit to Vladivostok the ordinary citizens of the USA and other countries could not visit the city, which was home base of the Pacific Fleet, for almost 20 years. In 1992, for the first time in 70 years, Vladivostok was officially opened for visits by foreigners.
Now there are 6 consulates, correspondent offices of 4 Japanese TV-companies, information service of the USA, more than 100 representative offices of foreign firms and approximately 600 joint venture enterprises in Vladivostok.
Vladivostok is in the Russian Far East, on the coast of the Sea of Japan and near both the Chinese border and the Japanese island of Honshu.
It is located in the Southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky peninsula , which is about 30 km long and approximately 12 km wide.
- Total city area: 600 km².
- Geographical coordinates: 131°54' E, 43°7' N.
- Time zone: +10 GMT, +7 Moscow.
The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik , the height of which is 257 m. Eagle's Nest Mount is often called the highest point of the city; however, with the height of only 199 m (214 m according to other sources), it is the highest point of the downtown area, but not of the whole city.
Vladivostok shares the latitude with: Sukhumi (Georgia), Almaty, Nice, New York, and Chicago.
Railroad distance to Moscow is 9,302 km (5,767 mi). Direct distance to Bangkok is 5,600 km (3,472 mi), to San Francisco—8,400 km (5,208 mi), to Seoul—750 km (465 mi), to Tokyo—1,050 km (651 mi).
- Mean annual temperature: 4.3°C (39.7°F)
- Average temperature in January: -13.7°C (7.3°F)
- Average temperature in August: 20.2°C (68.4°F).
- Average annual precipitation: 722 mm (28.4 inches).
The city's current population is approximately 591,800 (census 2002).
From 1958 to 1991, only Soviet citizens were allowed to live in, or even visit, Vladivostok (and even Soviet citizens had to obtain official permission in order to enter the city.) Before this closure, the city had large Japanese and Chinese populations.
The city's main industries are shipping, commercial fishing, and the naval base. Fishing accounts for almost four-fifth of Vladivostok's commercial production. Other food production totals 11%.
In 1995, Vladivostok's annual foreign trade totalled 725 million USD, including 206 million USD of exported goods, and 519 million USD of imported goods. The main export items were fish, timber products, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and ships. The main import items were food products, medicine, clothes, footwear, automobiles and household technical items, and ships.
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, many businesses have opened offices in Vladivostok, taking advantage of its location.
Unfortunately, the crime rate and cost of living have also increased, and the city is believed to be a hotbed of organized crime activity and abuse of power by regional and municipal authorities.
The Trans-Siberian railway was built to connect Vladivostok, Russia's first Pacific Ocean port, with European Russia. Finished in 1905, the rail line ran from Vladivostok to Moscow. Part of the railroad, known as the Chinese Eastern Line, crossed over into China and passed through Harbin, China. Later, a northern line was built, which was contained within the Russian borders.
Air routes connect Vladivostok with Seattle and Anchorage (USA), Niigata and Toyama (Japan), and Incheon and Busan (South Korea). It is possible to get to Vladivostok from almost any large city of Russia including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Rostov-na-Donu, and Chelyabinsk.
The following kinds of public transportation operate in Vladivostok: trolleybus, bus, tram, train, funicular, ferryboat, and cutter. The main urban traffic lines are City Center - Vtoraya Rechka, City Center - Balyayeva, and City Center - Lugovaya.
The science of Vladivostok is represented by the Presidium and approximately 10 Institutes of the Far Eastern Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Institution which stands separately from the Russian Academy of Sciences is TINRO-center (the Pacific Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography).
There are nine higher educational institutions in Vladivostok, and five of them are universities.
Over 40 newspapers and regional additions to Moscow publications are issued in Vladivostok. The largest newspaper of the Primorsky Krai and the whole Russian Far East is Vladivostok with a circulation of 124,000 copies at the beginning of 1996. Its founder, joint-stock company Vladivostok-News, also issues a weekly English-language newspaper Vladivostok News. The subjects of the publications issued in these newspapers vary from information around Vladivostok and Primorye to major international events. Newspaper Zolotoy Rog (Golden Horn) gives every detail of economic news. Entertainment materials and cultural news constitute a larger part of Novosti (News) newspaper which is the most popular among Primorye's young people.
As of 1999, there were 7 local TV companies with 7 channels broadcasting. They are the Pacific State TV and radio Broadcasting Company Vladivostok, Vostok-TV, PKTV (Primorsky Commercial Television), RVK (Russian Broadcasting Corporation), Uchebnoye Televideniye (Educational TV), Okean-TV, and New Wave TV.
As of 1999, there were also 7 radio stations, the most popular being 24 hour VBC (612 kHz, 101.9 MHz) and New Wave (738 kHz, 104.2 MHz). New Wave normally broadcasts popular modern British-American music, while the ratio of Russian and foreign songs over VBC is fifty-fifty. Every hour one can hear local news over these radio stations. Radio Vladivostok (1098 kHz) operates from 6:00 till 1:00 a.m. It broadcasts several special programs which are devoted to the music of the 1950s-1980s as well as New Age.
Two thirds of Vladivostok's suburbs are so polluted that living in them is classified as a health hazard, according to the local ecological specialists, Ecocenter. Some areas, such as those near the printing works in Pokrovsky Park and the Far Eastern State University campus, are so polluted that they are defined as ecological disaster zones. Only a few areas have permissible levels of contamination. Professor Boris Preobrazhensky, a top ecologist at the Pacific Institute of Geography said that there was nowhere in the area that was really healthy to live.
The Ecocenter report has taken 10 years to compile and is believed to be the most comprehensive of its kind. It was based on analysis of over 30,000 samples of water, snow, soil, air and human tissues taken between 1985 and 1993. Samples showed significant rises over that period in the levels of heavy metals, such as cadmium, zirconium, cobalt, arsenic, and mercury, which severely affect the respiratory and nervous systems.
The pollution has a number of causes, according to Ecocenter geo-chemical expert Sergei Shlikov. Vladivostok has about 80 industrial sites which may not be many compared to Russia's most industrialized areas, but those around the city are particularly environmentally unfriendly, such as shipbuilding and repairing, power stations, printing, fur farming and mining. In addition, Vladivostok has a particularly vulnerable geography which compounds the effect of the pollution. Winds cannot clear pollution from some of the most densely populated areas around the Pervaya and Vtoraya Rechka as they sit in basins which the winds blow over. In addition there is little snow in winter and no leaves or grass to catch the dust to make it settle down.
Vladivostok is a sister-city of San Diego and Tacoma (USA), Niigata, Akita, and Hakodate (Japan), Busan (South Korea), and Dalian (China).
The city's phone code is +7 4232, or simply 8 22 if you call from inside of Primorsky Krai.
Last updated: 02-07-2005 03:57:22