Welcome to Vladivostok
Vladivostok is a city in Russia. It serves as the eastern terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Some travellers arrive here at the end or the beginning of a trip on the Trans-Siberian. But it has enough attractions and atmosphere to support a couple of days. The city is holding APEC summit in 2012 and is under huge renovations and construction now.
What to see:
If you've arrived in Vladivostok on the Trans-Siberian, at the end of a trip that began in Moscow, head straight for Sportivnaya Harbor. The still waters of the sea will likely provide sweet relief after several days on the train. However, if you're fresh off a ferry from Japan or Korea, head up to Svetlanskaya and Ploschad Bortsov Revolutsy for a stroll to get your sea legs back. (Both destinations usually have food and drink vendors.)
Civil engineering buffs can gawk at the numerous construction projects peppering the city streets in preparation to 2012 APEC Summit, including the two enormous bridges across the Golden Horn Bay and Eastern Bosporus strait (the Rissian Navy officers first exploring the area were big fans of Istanbul harbour), the latter of which would be a largest cable-stayed bridge upon its completion. Locals are more ambivalent about all that construction, but the bridges and hotels nevertheless already have become a frequent visitor attractions.
Russia's Pacific Fleet (not all of it, mind you, just its destroyer squadron) is parked right in the downtown, in Golden Horn Bay. A walk along the waterfront on Korabelnaya Embankment offers the closest views; to get any closer, you will have to enlist. Photographs with an average-sized camera shouldn't attract any problems, but be mindful of your surroundings or an enterprising police officer might invent a fine for you to pay.
Ploschad Bortsov Revolutsy (Central Square), Svetlanskaya, between Aleutskaya and Uborevicha. This is a good place to relax and watch the locals at leisure. A pair of massive statues serve as the Memorial to the Fighters for the Soviet Power in the Far East, in honor of those who brought this remote corner of Russia under Bolshevik control. Today, they're more a memorial to the power of local skateboarders. You might also have the chance to take in a protest march. The giant, strikingly ugly regional administration building looms over the square.
Sportivnaya Harbor. A popular summertime promenade and beach just the short walk away from the square. The official swimming ban is cheerfully ignored by the locals, who frolic in the water between the yachts of the main city marina, which mostly shares the location with the beach. A small amusement park with various kiddy rides and 80 m Ferris wheel lines the other side of the promenade, and the stalls around will sell you drinks, snacks and souvenir knick-knacks for outrageous prices.
Dynamo stadium, the home arena of the city's eternally struggling Luch-Energia football outfit, as well as Olympiets sports center, a base of Spartak-Primorye basketball team and a popular venue for martial arts tournaments, are also situated there, as is the old city aquarium. The new, much larger and fancier one, is currently under construction on Russkiy island. In the winter the frozen waters of the bay become a home for hundreds, if not thousands ice fishers.
Museums and memorials
If you're a connoisseur of Lenin statues, don't miss the one overlooking the train station from the west, next to the post office (the popular joke goes that the World Proletariat Leader says "You're going the right way, comrades", while pointing at Japan). There are also some interesting statues heading east on Svetlanskaya, both Soviet-era and abstract.
Arsenev Regional History Museum
Museum Vladivostok Fortress
Primorsky State Art Gallery
Lighthouse at Egersheld cape
Marine Museum TINRO
Botanical garden FEBRAS
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