Vladivostok, like Ekaterinburg, was a closed city during the Soviet era – even Russians needed permission to visit friends and relatives who lived there. It opened up to tourists in 1992 and since then there has been a slow but steady increase in numbers. For those of you who have been living and working in Japan, Vladivostok is a great place to start your Trans-Siberian trip and the start of the longest single train ride on the planet.
Moscow is 9,288km from Vladivostok. The idea of a railway to connect the two was conceived in 1877. By 1891 the station at Vladivostok was being built and to highlight the importance of this the heir to the Russian throne, Nicolas II, participated in the stone-laying ceremony. The first station building was simple. The current, more impressive construction was constructed in 1912 and is regarded as one of the best stations along the whole of the Trans-Siberian route. In the 1990’s the station was extensively refurbished. At the terminal is an old steam engine with the number 9,288 on its side to represents the distance to Moscow.
Vladivostok Fortress Museum: (Muzey Vladivostokskaya
Krepost). This place is full of all sorts of military hardware
such as sea mines, torpedoes and supersonic missiles. Inside
are informative displays about the defenses of Vladivostok (the fortress
was once thought to be the best maritime defense structure in the world)
as well as a good selection of old photographs.
Arsenev Regional Museum: (Kraevedchesky muzey Arseneva). This is the biggest and best of Vladivostok’s museums and covers everything from the flora and fauna of the region to the development of the city. A must to have your picture taken next to are the life sized Siberian tiger and bear locked in an eternal brawl! Besides this there are art displays and a small shop selling souvenirs.
Submarine Museum: Down on the waterfront next to the war memorial and eternal flame is an old S56 submarine parked up on the pavement. Inside (and not for the claustrophobic) is a small museum as well as some engine rooms and torpedo hatches and an abundance of opportunities to crack your head open on low doorways. You’ll be left wondering how on earth people could spend more than half an hour inside such a vessel.
The Railway Station: Despite the fact you will definitely see this at some point on your stop in Vladivostok it is well worth going to look at it without your baggage and when you have a bit more time to appreciate it’s location by the water (and right next to the ferry terminal).
Views: The best view in the city is from the lookout at
the top of Ulitsa Sukhanova and next to the DVGTU State Technical
University. It’s a 20-minute walk up from the waterfront or for 10 cents
you can take the funicular railway from next to the Pushinsky
Theatre. The view from here at night is also worth a look.
Wandering: Many of the old buildings along the streets of central Vladivostok have been restored and walking around with the occasional stop in a café and in conjunction with a stroll along the waterfront with all it’s military and commercial shipping whilst getting it into your head that you are actually in Vladivostok! is an excellent way to spend a sunny summer afternoon in this most unusual of Russian cities.
Have a look at our Deal Tour pages for Trans-Siberian trips from Vladivostok.