Sportivnaya harbour is on the Amurky bay side of Vladivostok (rather than the Pacific side) and is a lovely place for a stroll. We were there in winter and saw people swimming in a hole made in the ice, but we were told that in summer there are kiosks selling souvenirs and snacks and it's possible to swim in the bay. But, as the sea was frozen during our visit, instead of swimming we walked out to the famous mermaid who's rising out of the sea about 100 metres from the shore.
All of us were really impressed by this aquaium (in Russian, okeanarium) which we only decided to visit becasue we felt cold on our way back from the Fortress. It's pretty big and on the first floor has the "live exhibition" with a huge number of fish, including some truly bizarre specimens and other sea animals including a massive tank full of turtle and another with a giant sturgeon longer than a person is tall. On the second floor there is a museum of the sea. Tickets cost 200 rubles (in 2010).
This is an S-56 Submariine (podvodnaya lodka in Russian) which destroyed 10 enemy ships in the Second World War and is now a museum. There is a collection of photographs and other memorabilia inside and it's fun to scamble around inside through hatches and small cramped passages. Tickets cost 100 rubles (we visited in 2010) and an extra 50 rubles for a ticket that allows you to take photos.
An historic mansion built in 1906 and originally owned by a merchant in now housing the Arseniev Regional Museum.
Named after Vladimir Arseniev, the explorer of the Russian Far East and prominent writer, this place is a must-visit as it gives an insight into the history of the region and Vladivostok in particular. Lots of things are on display - from local flora and fauna species to various historic objects.
Mind its historic doors and staircases among the interiors.
Glory to our municipal authorities!
This amazing pedestrian street has just gotten quite a good bit of make-up it needed so desperately! Teeming with boutiques and quaint (and not so quanit) restaurants and cafes this street is a deinty morcel both for locals and city guests.
The revelation of this season: the fountais are working again! COME AND BEHOLD!
Also, drop into Fokina backyards, wind your way through their mysterious passages and find... the Eiffel Tower! :)P
Recently reopened after a thorough refurbishment this cinema boasts great emerald interiors. Movies in English and French are screened sometimes.
Drop in to have a look or for a cup of whatever-you-prefer in one of its three cafes.
Built in 1876 as a facility building by the the adjacent Cathedral of the Dormition, it survived the Revolution while the latter was demolished.
After the USSR collapsed, the facility building was converted into an Orthodox church. It has undergone some major renovations, the altar part and the belfry were built up, while the roof was topped with domes.
Have a look at pic N2 to compare the modernized church building with what it looked like 100 years ago, and imagine the dimensions of the Cathedral towering nearby.
Drop into the church, listen to the choir, have a look at the interior with its icons, giant gilded chandeliers, and relics of Orthodox saints in shrines. You may also be lucky to hear some stunning bell-ringing .
There is a icon-shop on the lower level with lots of icons and other Orthodox objects, as well as Orthodox music CDs.
A new belfry that makes a perfect architectural ensemble with the church was commisioned in 2010.
One of multiple Vladivostok fortresses turned into a museum in 1996 and put on the State protected area list.
It houses an impressive collection of historic military objects.
Check out the pics of the external expositions here:
Internal expositions to see in the bunkers of the fortress:
Dedicated to the Far Easterners who perished during the WWII this memorial comprises:
1) St Andrew's Chapel - drop in to have a look around; taking pictures in there is not recommended, though. If you come over on a week-end morning or in the afternoon, you may hear some amazing bell-ringing.
2)The Memorial Wall with plaques listing names of perished locals.
3) Canons and the eternal flame.
4) C-56 Submarine that sank 12 Nazi ships, now being a museum - getting inside it is a must-do.
This site is a very popular wedding place. Foreign visitors seem to like taking pictures of the beautifully dressed Russian brides.
When our last Tzar Nikolas II came to Vladivostok to supervise the final stage of the Trans-Siberian Railway construction, the locals were so exhilarated that they built up this arch.
Later on it was blown up, as Imperial symbols were not quite appreciated by the Communists.
Then sometime in 2000 the drafts of the original arch were found in the Arseniev Regional Museum archives, and and the original arch was reconstructed.
Have a thorough look at its top: there are old city/region coats-of-arms on each side, along with the icon of St Nikolai - the patron saint of our last Tzar.
After (of before) visiting the Aquarium, walk by the seaside along Naberezhnaya ("The Quay").
Have your ice-cream, find some good deals among LOTS of souvenir/local gift sellers.
Watch the sails in Amur Bay, spot the statue of the Little Mermaid poke out of calm waters, get to the yacht pier for some more views, or take a tourist ferry to conquer the bay.
(see all PICS)
Quite a Soviet thing right in the heart of the city.
And 80% of locals would prefer to have it knocked down. Anyway, it is still there and foreign visitors love it, revealing a tendency of finding Soviet era scraps all over the city and taking pictures of them.
Have a closer look at the monument to find a Soviet emblem - a sickle and a hammer - to take a picture of.
Mind Soviet stars woven into the tram wires above Svetlanskaya Street in that area.
(see the PICS)
Built as the Imperial Navy headquarters it was housing KGB offices during Soviet times. Secret underground passages were dug beneath the building into the hill.
Go inside in case you need to visit a currency exchange point (on the first level) or to use an ATM.
Some original interiors are well preserved and you will see that this is quite a bank.
And it has a webpage available in English (!)
Check it out for exchange rates.
The viewing platform is located atop Eagle's Nest Hill that rises 180 meters above the city.
There are neither eagles, nor their nests left, but you will find breathtaking panoramic views, as well as a monument to Cyrill and Methodius, "equal to the Apostles, Enlighteners of the Slavic people", as its plaque says.
So from the above you will contemplate the city panorama including
1) Golden Horn Bay (which never freezes in winter) in front of you;
2) Churkin residential district (the hugest one with a population of 230.000 people and where I was blessed to live for a couple of years) across the bay;
(and now imagine a bridge that will have linked this side with that side by 2012)
3)Russky Island in the background, that will host the APEC-2012 Summit;
4) the Egersheld Peninsula on the left and Amur Bay further on the left.
Take your time to walk around our downtown area:
browse into its shops, cafes, bookstores, admire its historic buildings, and feel its bustling port-city ambiance.
is the main downtown street, it is 6 km long and goes along Golden horn Bay. Its first 3 km are worth walking along to spot some amazing buildings, shops, and patches of green. As there is no Tourist Office in Vladivostok, the best option is to buy your Vladivostok map in ENGLISH (!!!) in Flostky Universmag (Navy Store). They specialize in selling military uniform and stuff, but there are also souvenir and book sections. Seen on the pic #2 it is on the right where the jeeps are parked (Svetlanskaya 16/18).
goes from the Railway station towards the central bus terminal. It is absolutely worth walking along after being given a good face-lift in 2010.
(Have a look at all the 5 pics)