Situated at the end of the line (or at the start, depending on your point of view) of the more than 9,000 kilometre long Trans-Siberian Railroad, Vladivostok is an intriguing place to visit in the Russian Federation.
Ranking as the city of only real size in the Russian Far East (it has little more than 500,000 souls within its borders), it is a unique place to explore, given the fact that it is a majority Russian city sandwiched between Asian influence and desolate wilderness.
Don’t rush through on your way to the train – take time to explore this bubble of European/Russian culture before heading off on your week-long journey.
While the Russian Far East isn’t the best place in the world to go for groundbreaking culture, this urban outpost has its fair share of attractions that will appeal to those looking to enjoy some of the finer things in life.
The Arsenyev Primorye Museum should be your first stop, as this institution, split into four separate buildings, tells the story of a city and region that lies 9,166 kilometres to the east of Moscow, and that is one of the most sparsely populated regions on Earth.
Named after a Russian scholar that explored this remote land extensively in the 19th century, it consists of a museum that boasts exhibits that showcase pottery from indigenous people among its oldest collections, the house that served as Vladimir Arsenyev’s home, the home of the State Councilor (which features a fine collection of antique furniture), and the City Museum, which offers workshops and film screenings for local residents.
Those that wish to view the best visual art that Vladivostok has to offer will find it at the Primorye State Picture Gallery.
Here, one will find pictures dating back to the 18th century, with pieces of Russian and Western origin being found on its walls.
With regular traveling exhibits being hosted here, you might be in for a surprise, as pictures from various art legends make regular temporary stops in its touring gallery.
For the few specks of culture that can be found on Vladivostok’s streets, most of what defines this city lies in its military past, and in the wilderness that envelops it for countless kilometres.
In the case of the former, the S-56 Submarine Museum will tell the story of a fleet of sub surface marine vessels that defended the Russian East coast from the Japanese and the Germans during the Second World War.
Housed partially in the body of submersible S-56, this museum explores this dangerous period in history through photographs, exhibits using military artifacts from that time, and the sub interior itself, with mannequins used to illustrate the roles and responsibilities of each individual crew member.
The natural aspect of Vladivostok is front and centre as an attraction in this part of the world, and the best place to find it without journeying too far out of the core is to pay a visit to Russky Island.
Get there by driving across the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge, which was built to provide access to the island ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in 2012.
With that event in the past, there is talk of building a resort here, but for the time being, its easy going rural charm remains mostly intact – there are beaches, coastal rock formations, WWII era gun batteries and trails that can be explored, making it a must visit for outdoor enthusiasts.
Those wanting to get an elevated view of the city will want to take a ride up the Vladivostok Funicular. One of only two electrified transport options in all of Russia, getting to the top will put you within a short walk of the best viewpoint in the city, giving you the perfect place to take a panoramic shot of the city and its world famous bridge before heading out of town.
If you took a boat across from Japan to here, chances are you are taking the Trans-Siberian Railway to Moscow. To buy your tickets and get on board, you’ll want to find the Vladivostok train station shortly after arriving in town. Built to mirror the architectural beauty of its counterpart in Moscow, there is no better way to begin your trans-continental journey then by passing through its halls.