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Vladivostok Travel Guide

Vladivostok History

Vladivostok has more than 100 years long history. Founded in the second part of the 19th century, Vladivostok is a capital and the largest city of Primorye. It is located less than 100 km east the Chinese border and just across the Sea of Japan from the main Japanese island of Honshu. This unapproachable coastal fortress was erected at the naturally well protected Golden Horn Bay. As a Russian Far Eastern fortress it was officially announced on August 30, 1889.

Paul Unterberger is considered one of founders of Vladivostok. He proposed to build up fortifications providing all-round defence, deliver modern artillery, and concentrate suitable amount of infantry units with all necessary supplies and ammunitions. 70 cannons were delivered from Kronshtadt on a German schooner "Emma and Matilde".

They were intended for defense of South-Ussuriysk area in general, and Vladivostok in particular. A platoon of mountain artillery was located in the suburbs of the post, Tigrovaya and Batareinaya Mountains. The fortress itself consisted of 25 cannons of various types by 1878.

In the 1930's 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.

Vladivostok History

The prisoners, at first Russian, and after the end of the World War II the Japanese POW, 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 Khrushchyov, visited Vladivostok. Nikita Khrushchyov was the first acting leader of Russia and the whole USSR, who visited the city. Khrushchyov 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 1960's), Morgorodok (since the early 1960's), Churkin (since the late 1950's), 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 1950 to the 1980's 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 1970's 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 1991, for the first time in 70 years, Vladivostok was officially opened for visits by foreigners.

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