Vladivostok is the largest city in the Russian Far East with a population of about 800,000 people. It is also a busy transportation hub, a place where the great Trans-Siberian Railway reaches the Pacific coast and joins with sea routes. The Trans-Siberian Railway starts in Moscow, the capital of the Russian Federation. There is a marker with the number 9288 set near the Vladivostok railway station – this is exactly the number of kilometers separating Vladivostok from Moscow.
Twelve passenger trains are constantly on the run connecting Vladivostok with the western part of Russia. It takes seven days by train to get to Moscow from Vladivostok or nine hours by plane, with Vladivostok being seven hours ahead of Moscow in time. On the other hand, by air, only a few hours separate Vladivostok from the capital cities in Northeastern Asia, making Vladivostok Russia’s true “gateway” to the Asian Pacific. This ideal location provides an excellent opportunity for the city’s economic development and integration into the global economy.
In addition, Vladivostok boasts a modern port infrastructure, which services multiple fishing and commercial vessels. Numerous sea routes link Vladivostok with key ports in China, Japan, Australia, Korea and many other countries. Here, containers from Asia are forwarded to Western Europe via the Trans-Siberian Railway and vice versa.
Vladivostok is also a cultural center representing Europe in the eastern part of Asia. Its downtown features a quaint mixture of Russian and European architectural styles, which give Vladivostok the look of a cosmopolitan city with an old world influence. This blend of various styles is enhanced by the lack of skyscrapers and major highways in the downtown area. The buildings of the Versailles Hotel, the former Kunst and Albers Department Store and the Pushkin Theatre retain the charm of the old days and demonstrate the eastern and western artistic influence in their architecture. Perhaps this diverse heritage had an influence on well-known Hollywood actor Yul Brynner, who starred in “The Magnificent Seven” and “The King and I”, who was born in revolution stricken Vladivostok on July 11, 1920.
Today Vladivostok is a city famous for its fish and seafood, ship repair facilities, scientific and educational institutions, and contemporary ports joining Russia with cities in the Asian Pacific. New, exciting changes are expected in the city in the near future as it prepares to host the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) in 2012. As much as $5 billion (USD) is expected to be invested in the city’s infrastructure as well as new hotels, exhibition halls, marine amusement park, etc. New roads will be built and bridges constructed across the Zolotoy Rog Bay and the Bosphorus Vostochny Strait.