"Ladies and gentlemen, you don't have to hurry because Russia
ends here and there is nowhere to go from here," the conductors of
the Trans-Siberian express used to announce in the past arriving in Vladivostok.
That was the end of Russia. That was the end of the world. Presently it
takes a transcontinental express "Russia" six days to get from
Moscow to Vladivostok. If you come to Vladivostok by train you will see
a milestone with the figure 9,288 km. Nowhere else in the world you can
see such a figure on a milestone measuring the distance between a capital
and its terminus. The last meters of the Trans-Siberian railroad go through
the coastal line of Vladivostok.
The construction of a terminus of the Trans-Siberian railroad on the
shores of the Peter the Great Bay began in 1891. Architect A.Basilevsky
was commissioned to design it. The most remarkable day was May 19 (June
1 in new style) 1891 marking the arrival of His Majesty Cesarevitch (Crown
Prince in tsarist Russia), the son of Alexander III, the heir to the Russian
throne, Nikolai, who was to become the last tsar of Russia so tragically
assassinated. He was making a round the world tour with Prince George,
the heir to the Greek throne, and arrived in Vladivostok aboard the ship
Pamyat' Azova. On May 19 Cesarevich Nikolai laid the cornerstone
into the foundation of the train station building. Specially designed silver
hoe and silver wheelbarrow which Cesarevich Nikolai used had been kept
up to the Revolution in the local museum. Later they were destroyed. A
silver plate with an inscription was bricked up into the northern wall
to commemorate this outstanding event. The original building was dedicated
in 1893, the first trip being carried in May 1894. By 1907 the original
structure has become too small to meet the needs of a growing Vladivostok
population and the decision was made to build a new one. Architect N.Konovalov
could skillfully preserve the old towers, foundations and partially the
walls of the old structure. By the end of 1911 the new building was accomplished.
Cut into the hill, it is much larger than the old one. Built in the traditional
Russian "pattern" style, the new building exhibits outstanding
architectural features: towers and turrets crowning the roof, majolica
and tile panels in the niches of the golden yellow walls, richly decorated
entrance portal. Over the entrance arch of the southern wing there is a
colored mosaic panel with the emblem of Moscow, an equestrian figure of
St.George striking a snake. On the opposite wall there is a similar panel
with the emblem of Primorye, a tiger holding an anchor against silver background.
A two-headed eagle crowns this picturesque and grand composition. Architect
Konovalov was awarded a special prize "for the best architectural
design in Russian style" by the St. Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts.
Reminiscent of the 17th century Russian masterpieces, this architectural
monument was to symbolize the fact that Vladivostok was an inseparable
part of Russia, it was to underline tight connections with the rest of
Russia. The building was and may be still is the best and the most beautiful
one among all the train station buildings along the Trans-Siberian railroad.
This building has been remodeled several times: when it was damaged
by the artillery and machine-gun shooting during the Gide uprisal in 1919;
later, in May 1921, on the day of the Merculovs counter-revolutionary coup,
the frescoes were destroyed. But most outrageously it suffered in 1924
when all the symbols of the tsarist autocracy were done away with the two-headed
eagle, for example, was so firmly fixed that the workers had to cut the
heads first. At the same time the mosaic panels were stuccoed. Later on,
in 1927, the ceiling painting on biblical subjects was also stuccoed. The
building was considerably remodeled in 1935-1936. Many townspeople expressed
great concern about this architectural monument when due to finances the
restoration had been delayed for decades. At last, in 1994, the gem of
the Vladivostok architecture was restored to its original looks, with the
cobble stones on the square in front of it to give the building the original
flavor. The interior of the building was restored in 1996.
Looking back we must say that the construction of the Trans-Siberian
railroad radically altered economic and demographic situation in Vladivostok
THE LENIN MONUMENT (THE TRAIN STATION SQUARE)
Unveiled in 1930, the Lenin monument stands in the center of the Train
Station square. An identical monument, unveiled three years earlier, stands
in front of Smolny--the headquarters of the Revolution--in St. Petersburg.
The thing is that the same forms were used for the monument in Vladivostok
by sculptor V.Kozlov. Later, in 1970, the Lenin statue was moved higher
on the hill slope and placed on a new pedestal.
The attitude of the townspeople to the Lenin monuments is extremely
controversial. There were far too many monuments to Lenin in every city
of the former USSR and Vladivostok was not an exception in this respect.
Comparing the Vladivostok monuments to Lenin we must admit that this one
is the best and should be preserved for posterity.
#2, PERVAYA MORSKAYA ST.
Constructed in 1902, the five-story yellow building on the corner of
Pervaya Morskaya (the First Sea) and Aleutskaya (Aleutian) streets used
to be Grand Hotel before the Revolution. The owner of this hotel was entrepreneur
L.Skidelsky, the architect is unknown. From the architectural point of
view the building is noted for the simplicity of construction: the decorative
belts on the facade and alternation of windows bring the architectural
style of the Grand Hotel closer to the works of classicism. The hotel rooms
have been closed since the 1920s. In 1930s the building housed the so called
Palace of Labor with the figure of worker tearing the chains wound around
the globe on the facade. For a long time it housed the Regional Executive
Committee and now a variety of offices and companies are there. Catholic
Relief Service rents their premises here.
#15, ALEUTSKAYA ST.
This three-story edifice was constructed in 1910 by German architect
G.Yunghendel for the Brynners, the family of Swiss entrepreneur who contributed
much to the industrialization of the region. Thus, Yu.I.Brynner participated
in three monopolies: "T'et'ukhe"--non-ferrous metals--, "Primorye",
established for the exploitation of Brynner's coal mines and "Societe
d'exploitation des placers Sofie Alexieyevnas", established for the
exploitation of Brynner's gold mines. As early as 1888 Brynner started
timber export to China, he owned several buildings in Vladivostok, including
the one located nearby--#13, Aleutskaya st.--which used to house "Brynner,
Kuznetsov & Co" and housing Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESCO)
now. It may be noted that famous American actor Yul Brynner (1920 - 1985)
was born in this townhouse. When in 1960s The Magnificent seven was on
in Vladivostok, many Vladivostokians flooded to watch the film and see
the famous compatriot.
Highly talented, torn with controversy, Yul Brynner faced many challenges,
and experienced ups and downs in his life. In 1956 he received Oscar from
the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of the U.S.A. for professional
achievements in performance (The King and I). Noteworthy is the fact that
when he realized that he was dying of cancer he had been desperately fighting
with for several years and it was caused by smoking, he taped his address
to the people calling to give up smoking. The tape was demonstrated after
his death and produced an enormous effect.
Executed in art nouveau with wide use of ferroconcrete and adorned
with smalt and glazed ceramic mosaic panel in the upper part of the facade,
the building has simple effective external design emphasizing internal
comfort of this structure. The two staircases which used to lead up to
the entrance, supporting stone walls, winter garden and wrought iron fence,
all were stylistically connected with the building and created a harmonious
whole. Thanks to its situation on the steep slope providing diverse background,
the building looks very dynamic and picturesque. In 1930 the FESCO communist
party committee replaced the private printing house established in the
building after the Revolution.
##17-19, ALEUTSKAYA ST.
The first eight-nine-story buildings of "Greater Vladivostok"
constructed in 1937 - 1940 (architects I.A.Poretskov, N.A.Bigacheva). These
buildings brightly exemplify the style characteristic of the Soviet architecture
of the 1930s, the objective of which was to give an architectural representation
of the grandeur of the Soviet power period. Aptly labeled "gray horses'"
these two buildings with flamboyant decoration, balconies, statues executed
by an amateur sculptor, a soldier, are not of great architectural value,
as some art critics think, but they are interesting from the engineering
standpoint and the apartments in these buildings are very comfortable.
You don't have to walk very far away from the Train station square
to see the famous sights. Most of Vladivostok's historic sites are clustered
on the main street, the original name of which was Americanscaya (American
street). The name was given in honor of the famous corvette the
America. Built in the U.S.A., the corvette was among the first three
ships to have arrived in Vladivostok. The corvette the America with
N.Muravyov-Amursky, the governor general of East Siberia, aboard participated
in the expedition mapping Peter the Great Bay in 1859. When in 1872 the
corvette aboard which was rear-admiral A.E.Crown, the commander-in-chief
of Eastern Ocean Ports, arrived in Vladivostok it had to wait for the arrival
of the squadron with the guest of honor grand duke Alexey Alexandrovich.
Having three months at their disposal, the crew helped clear the ground
of what now is the main street. This part was called Amerikanka.
This nickname stuck and remained as an inofficial name of the main street
for a year. In 1873 the street was renamed for the fregate the Svetlana
aboard which grand duke Alexey Alexandrovich visited Vladivostok. Half
a century later after V.Lenin's death, in 1924, the main street was renamed
into "the street of comrade Lenin," Leninskaya for short. After
hot debates and much discussion in August 1992 the old name Svetlanskaya
was returned, hopefully, for ever.
Many buildings in Svetlanskaya street used to belong to foreigners.
No matter how surprising it may be, but Vladivostok was given the "porto
franco"-"free port"--status already in 1861, on the second
year of its existence, and it stayed up to 1909. It meant that businesses,
factories, plants, stores and other enterprises were tax-free for foreigners
for several years. That is why many entrepreneurs took advantage of the
"porto franco" status of Vladivostok and came to settle here
and established their companies, corporations, concessions, and so on.
#10, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
Constructed in 1909, by engineer I.Meshkov, the building originally
known as hotel Versailles looked unusual and ultramodern to the
townspeople of that time. Its most outstanding feature is an attachment
to the motifs of classicism: the use of columns between the arched windows
and pilasters and the order. The building is remarkable for its ornamentation
and the lavish use of the smalt and ceramics. The classical ornamentation
being exclusively decorative, the hotel Versailles is a good example
of art nouveau with its apt use of new building materials: concrete and
Owned by an entrepreneur L. Radomyshelsky, the building housed an affiliate
of the trading house "Churin and Co," "Brize and Daniel,"
the "Businessmen Assembly" along with the hotel. The Military
Council of Primorye which was here in 1920 was replaced in 1921 by the
residence of Ataman--a chief of cossacks, elected by the whole group--
Semyonov who sympathized with the Whites. In 1935 it was renamed for the
legendary ship the Chelyuskin . The Chelyuskin expedition started
from Murmansk, a seaport in the North-West Russia, intending to go through
the Arctic Ocean, the Bering Strait, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Sea of Japan
and to reach Vladivostok during one navigation season. Unfortunately, the
ship was crushed with ice in the Chukchi Sea on February 13, 1934. The
Chelyuskin expedition participants were saved by the Soviet pilots who
were the first to be awarded the Heroes of the U.S.S.R. orders. The participants
stayed at this hotel.
The reconstruction of the hotel following the devastating fire of 1992
was finished in 1993, and now it offers a variety of comfortably furnished
rooms and suites. The original name was recently returned, and here the
hotel "Versailles" stands in its prime beauty delighting
#12, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
With the development of Vladivostok and the growth of trade turnover
and bank transactions there was a great need in buildings specially designed
for banks. The first structure of this kind was constructed in 1899 for
the affiliate of Russo-Chinese Bank. The two-story building decorated with
a tower met the requirements. Being "the advocate of 'peaceful' economic
penetration of China," S.Witte, the then Russia Minister of Finance,
founded The Russo-Chinese Bank in December 1895. Five-eighths of the capital
belonged to the French but the management was controlled by the Russian
government. Having established the Chinese Eastern Railroad Company, the
Russo-Chinese Bank built an extension--which was to become the famous Chinese
Eastern--of the Trans-Siberian railroad across Manchuria to cut the way
to Moscow. Though the Chinese Eastern Railroad Company was the formal owner
of it, the shares of this special "private" corporation were
held by the Russian Treasury. Up to 1913 the building housed the Russo-Chinese
Bank, later on, the City Public Bank, editorial boards of several newspapers.
After reconstruction the cafe on the ground floor Russky Chai (Russian
Tea) was followed by the restaurant Russian with Russian cuisine
owned by an insurance company.
#20, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
In its present location, the Arsenyev Museum building has served several
purposes. Locally known as "Babintsev's 1906r house" before the
Revolution, it belonged to the trading house "Brynner, Kuznetsov and
Co." The building has also housed the Siberian Trade Bank, a variety
of stores and apartments. In 1930 it was given to the Pacific Research
Institute of Fishery and Oceanography. At present the Arsenyev Museum owns
the whole building. It focuses on area studies. The rooms of the museum
show the cultures of indigenous peoples inhabiting Primorye. The museum
collections highlight the history of exploration and settling of the region,
and the more recent history.
#3, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
In 1899, on the corner of Svetlanskaya and Koreyskaya (modern Pogranichnaya)
streets, the merchant A.Ivanov constructed a big masonry building intended
for the theatre Tikhy Okean (the Pacific Ocean) which was the first
masonry theatre in the whole Russian Far East. Crowned with a large lyre,
the new theatre became one of the main attractions for the townspeople
of the time. Renowned actors used to perform here (for example, N.Sikorskaya
who had toured worldwide). In spring 1901 a cinematography, a motion-picture
camera "Biograph" was on display here and about 2,000 passers-by
who had happened to be in the vicinity of the Kunst and Albers Trading
House on April 15 were shown, that is why many curious and vain people
visited it several times to see themselves on the screen. Unfortunately,
due to imperfect fire-prevention measures which could not meet standard
requirements, the theatre was closed in 1908. The upper floors have been
used as living quarters since the time when the building was remodeled
(in 1910). On the ground floor there is now a confectionary.
#11, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
Owned by local architect V.Goldenshtedt, the building on the corner
of Svetlanskaya and Aleutskaya streets has served as a hotel for many years.
Opened as the Central Hotel, it kept that name up to the Revolution
when it was changed to the Zolotoy rog (Golden Horn) hotel. The
ground floor was used for the offices and the drug store of the Valdecker
and Peppel Company which had affiliates all over Russia and abroad. When
the construction of the hotel began in 1907, one of the local newspapers
wrote that there would be a hotel with the furniture eclipsing all the
Designed in the so called "rational variety of art nouveau,"
the Central Hotel is extraordinarily rigor, only the facade is embellished
with decorative bricks, with the peaked towers crowning the roof representing
the elements of the Gothic style. This mixture of art nouveau with different
styles elements is typical of the Vladivostok architecture.
#22, ALEUTSKAYA ST.
Though the two-story building was basically executed in art nouveau,
its design is reminiscent of oriental style. It has many features characteristic
of oriental traditions: slight curvature of the window arches, whimsical
curvature of the pediment and other elements are a clear indication of
the eclectic style called by some art critics the "Vladivostok style,"
where the oriental embellishment and other elements were transplanted,
though modified by local conditions and materials and Russian tradition.
This pseudo-Eastern style building, constructed in 1908 was designed for
the Lotus cabaret famous for its oriental repertoire with dancers
and actors from South-East Asia. The building had been used as the "House
of Revolutionary Defense" for several years after the Revolution.
When in 1927 the British statesman Sir Austen Chamberlain (1863 -1937)
threatened to declare a new campaign against the Soviet Union the young
Communist League members formed a regiment called "Our Answer to Chamberlain"
in this building. Since the 1920s it has housed the F.Dzerzhinsky club
until recently. There are several companies, firms and other enterprises.
# 13, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
The story of the theatre Zolotoy Rog (Golden Horn) goes back
to 1867 when merchant Ivan Galetsky after having ranged many seas and countries
including the U.S.A., China, Japan came to Vladivostok to seek fortune.
He was wise enough to buy a big lot in the center for 30 roubles and later
to sell a small part of it for 10,000 roubles to the local government.
In 1867 he constructed a two-story wooden hotel with adjacent restaurant
and in 1885 he added a theatre hall holding 350 seats. That was the first
theatre in Vladivostok. It was locally known as "Madam Galetsky
Theatre Hall." The present three-story masonry structure was built
in 1903 by a local engineer I.Baginov following the fire of 1899 which
destroyed the original wooden building.
Many theatrical events have occurred on its stage. The Golden Horn
Theatre can boast of giving its stage to noted representatives of Russian
realistic school V.Davydov (1849 - 1925) who received an honorary title
"The People's Artist of the Republic" and V.Massalitinova (1878
- 1945) who covered herself with great fame for an exceptional performance
of elderly characters in A. N. Ostrovsky's plays and was rightly awarded
the State Prize of the U.S.S.R. The stage of the theatre was also given
to a renowned performer of tragic roles P.Orlenev (1869 - 1932) who was
awarded the "People's Artist of the Republic" title in 1925 as
well as to an outstanding actress V.Komissarzhevskaya (1864-1910) who was
famous for performance of A.Chekhov's and H.Ibsen's characters and who
later created her own theatre in 1904 in St.Petersburg and fought for progressive
modern repertoire and many other actors. In 1919 there was the so called
"futurists' club" the members of which were N.Aseyev (1889-1963)
and D.Burlyuk (1882-1967). Representing whimsical formal trend in Russian
poetry at the beginning of his literary career, Nikolai Aseyev came to
philosophical understanding and interpretation later. He was awarded the
U.S.S.R. State Prize in 1941 for the poem "Mayakovsky begins"
where he created the image of a poet fighting for new art. A poet and an
artist, David Burlyuk is justly considered to be one of the "founding
fathers" of futurism in Russia, a movement in fine arts rejecting
traditional forms of expression, portraying and advocating the dynamic
movement, violence, speed, the power of a mechanized era. In 1920 D.Burlyuk
emigrated first to Japan and later to the U.S.A.
Since 1960 when the Gorky Theatre, the Primorye regional theatre
which can be regarded as the successor of the pre-Revolutionary theatre,
moved into a new building, the old one has served as a concert hall of
the Primorsky Philharmonic Society. In addition to it "The Green
Lamp" and "The Blue Star" cafes were recently
opened in this building, which is, unfortunately, in a deplorable state
now and, hopefully, will be restored to its original looks.
##17, 23, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
Two buildings on the opposite sides of the viaduct constructed in 1909
over the Trans-Siberian are of architectural interest. Built in 1908 the
first one which used to belong to a Chinese merchant Katchan is considered
to have the so called "oriental version of Ionic capital." This
kind of embellishment is known to have been used in South East Asia since
the eighteenth century. The second floor has been used for living quarters,
while the first floor has served as a jewelry shop owned by K.Filipek.
Now it houses a perfumery's shop.
Built a year later, in 1909, for a prosperous fir trader from China
Tau Tsailing, the second building was called "The Warsaw Shop."
Now it is unofficially known as "The Green Bricks" thanks to
the green bricks used in the decoration of the facade. Here we can also
see some oriental architectural features.
#20, ADMIRALA FOKINA ST.
The most notable monument of classical orientation is the building
on the corner of Admirala Fokina street and Okeansky prospect (Ocean thoroughfare)
constructed in 1913--architect Shafrat--to serve as a Japanese consulate.
Though basically executed in art nouveau, the main facade facing Okeansky
prospect, characteristically enough, have classical elements: it is accented
with a six-Doric-order-column portico. Other classical details used to
include sculpture: the Goddess of Victory on the pediment and two griffins--fabled
monsters often figured in Greek and Roman art, half lions and half eagles,
believed by the Greeks to keep watch over the gold of Scythia--holding
chains supporting the small roof over the entrance. Unfortunately, only
griffins are left. The whole building housing a medical institution now
is in a great decay.
#22, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
Constructed for the regional party committee, the multi-story building
decorated with white marble--the fact earned it the nickname "the
White House"--predominates the central square and, unfortunately,
overwhelms the surrounding old architectural monuments. It was designed
by architect E.Rosanov and completed in 1983. Now the building houses the
THE CENTRAL SQUARE
The central square, officially known as the Square of the Fighters
for the Soviet Power in the Far East, began to take shape in 1960s
when the decision was made to construct a square over the slope, since
Vladivostok did not have spacious squares due to its mountainous relief.
So, the new square is a two-story one with a chess club on the ground floor.
In the center of the square there stands the monument to the Fighters
for the Soviet Power in the Far East. The construction of the monument
was entrusted to A.Teneta, an Honored Artist of Russian Federation, who
has been working on the monument for fifteen years. The monument was unveiled
in 1960. Designed in a form of classical triangle, the monument has a multifigured
composition at the base with side figures bearing genre character and the
central figure of a trumpeter. Facing the ocean--which is a tradition in
sea ports--the trumpeter holds the banner in his right hand and a trumpet
in his left. The figure of a trumpeter was chosen as a symbol of a new
power. The trumpeter is considered to head the column of the People's Revolutionary
Army which liberated Primorye from interventionists on October 22, 1922
when the Soviet power was proclaimed in this region. The monument became
a symbol of Vladivostok and you can often see the figure of the trumpeter
depicted on pins.
#35, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
When the present-day State Department Store masonry building changed
the old wooden structure in 1885, it immediately became a Vladivostok landmark
and still remains one of the prime examples of commercial architecture.
Known as the Kunst and Albers Trading House in the past, it was
one of the oldest masonry multistory buildings in the area.
Having got acquainted in China, two German enterpreneurs Gustav Kunst
and Adolf Albers made up their minds to go to Vladivostok in 1864 to establish
a trading house. Supported by the Deutcher Bank and different companies
in Germany, Great Britain, and Japan, the Kunst and Albers Trading House
soon grew into the largest trading house with 16 affiliates in Eastern
Siberia and the Russian Far East, 5 in Manchuria and 1 in Japan. Living
in Hamburg, the head of the company, G.Kunst supplied mostly German commodities.
The impact of the trading house is difficult to overestimate.
The architectural features of the building are surpassing and outstanding
too. The German architect G.R.Yunghendel was commissioned to design the
building. He designed several buildings in Vladivostok, but this one was
his major commission. The art critics see the direct architectural influence
of the famous Zwinger , ensemble erected in 1711-21 in Dresden in the baroque
style. Albeit executed in art nouveau, the Kunst and Albers Trading House
has many elements of the Baroque style: the capitals decorated with the
depiction of Wotan, a Germanic god, for example. Other Old Germanic epic
characters can be seen in the impressive embellishment. Holding an anchor
and a winged baton of Mercury, the ancient Roman god of commerce, and the
two angels symbolize marine trade. The baton is wound with two snakes standing
for cunning and wisdom. The rigor brick walls--and the bricks were brought
all the way from Germany by sea--underline lavish baroque decoration. Being
a commercial structure, the building was serviceable and appealed to aesthetic
taste as well. As doctor A.Eliseyev who visited Vladivostok in 1889 put
it, "It was an encyclopedic store"--the first supermarket?--where
you could reportedly buy everything: from a needle to a live tiger. The
trading house was the first to establish the electric power station to
meet the needs of trading, the electric elevators took customers upstairs,
as one of the descendants of the Brynners recollected, he was surprised
to find no electric devices in stores of San Francisco in 1926 when the
family had to emigrate. No other trading houses could successfully compete
with it and it had no analogies in the western part of Russia.
After the Revolution the Kunst and Albers Trading House was
nationalized. In 1929, instead of the guilded sign saying "the
Kunst and Albers Trading House" there appeared a new one with
the abbreviation "C.W.C.", meaning "the Central
Workers' Cooperative." The building has served as the General
Department Store (GUM in Russian) since 1934.
#38/40, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
The building opposite "the Kunst and Albers Trading House"
merits a special attention since it is connected with the Kunst and Albers
company. The construction was commissioned to the same architect, G.R.Yunghendel.
There were originally dormitory quarters for the staff of the company.
Designed in art nouveau, it is noted for its lavish and sumptuous interior
decoration. There used to be a white-columned dancing hall exceptionally
richly decorated, a library, a pool room, catering services for its residents.
Not much has survived but one can still see cut glass in the former dining
room, columns in the former dancing hall, now completely restructured.
The building was also known as Dattan's House since one floor
has been used by "the Kunst and Albers Trading House"
manager, Councellor of State, A.V.Dattan. Another floor has served as a
German consulate for some time. In 1930 the building was given to the Physiotherapeutic
Research Institute and has housed it ever since.
#31, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
One more building, the present-day movie theatre Ussuri was designed
by G.R.Yunghendel. It was planned to be a theatre for the Kunst and
Albers Trading House staff. The construction began in 1916 and was
not finished before the Revolution. It was completed by architect P.Gavzdik
and is used as a movie theatre.
#39, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
Constructed at the end of the last century for the Kunst and Albers
Trading House staff, the picturesque residential houses are the most
conspicuous example of wooden construction technique which give some idea
of what a residential structure of the period was like. Its external appearance
reflects a high degree of craftsmanship.
#41, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
Constructed in 1900, the post office building is of architectural interest.
Architect A.A.Gvozdiovsky could continue the traditional Russian architectural
features in his design embodied in the abundance of arches, small columns,
niches with deeply plunged windows. It has been used as the post office
since early days.
#43, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
The Pyankov House, built in 1901 by an unknown architect, served
as a bookshop although in early years before the Revolution it was used
for living quarters with shops, movie theatre, a small cellar restaurant
with oriental cuisine. In 1880s, V.Pyankov was convicted for having participated
in the movement "Narodnaya Volya (People's Will)" the
goal of which was to overthrow the existing government ant to establish
democratic freedoms, to give the land to peasants and so on. The members
of the movement made eight attempts on csar Alexander the II' life, the
last one of which ended in the assassination of Alexander the II in 1881.
Having settled in Vladivostok, V.Pyankov, an entrepreneur and a highly
educated person, participated in most important constructions. He owned
the Glass plant in Kiparisovo (Primorye), timber warehouses and stores.
#45, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
Constructed in 1911 by V.P.Babintsev, the present-day State Department
Stores building is indicative of art nouveau. The architects accepted the
technological challenges of the time and widely used new building materials
such as concrete, reinforced concrete, steel, glass, and stained glass.
It used to belong to the I.Ya.Churin and Co Trading House. Established
as early as 1867, the company expanded enormously trading in Primorye and
Priamurye (the Amur region), had offices in Moscow and Irkutsk, and representatives
in Chita, Sretensk, and Odessa. The founders of the company, I.Ya.Churin,
V.P.Babintsev, N.P.Babintsev, and A.B.Kasyanov, had commercial transactions
with French companies. After the Revolution the building was used as a
Department Store, a Geological Museum, and offices of Dal'rybsbyt (a Fishery
company). Since 1959 the original building as well as its later addition
has been used as the Department Store for women and children.
SVETLANSKAYA ST., THE PUBLIC GARDEN
In a small public garden, a few steps across the former I.Ya.Churin
and Co Trading House, there used to be the Triumphal Arch erected in
1891 to commemorate cesarevitch Nikolai's visit to Vladivostok. Guidebooks
of that time wrote that though the arch was built of bricks and stone in
a severe Byzantine-Russian style it produced an impression of lightness
and airiness. The facets of the columns resembled those of Granovitaya
Palata (the Hall of Facets in the Moscow Kremlin). The gates were richly
decorated with old Russian colored ornamentations. The color scheme ranged
from the bright red to the dark blue and from the grass green to orange
and light blue harmonizing each other and producing warm impression. The
light and dark blue roof in a form of a tall octahedral pyramid topped
the cornice with four big and eight small Byzantine lancet half arches.
The two-headed eagle, the symbol of Russian empire, hovered over the Triumphal
Arch, which has been a Vladivostok's landmark for almost three decades.
During the first years of the Soviet power the Triumphal Arch was
destroyed as a symbol of csarist power. The former Admiral's Garden
lost the name it used to bear along with one of the most beautiful architectural
monuments of the city.
KORABEL'NO-NABEREZHNAYA, THE PACIFIC NAVY WAR GLORY
Designed in 1982, the Pacific Navy War Glory Memorial (sculptor
V.Nenazhivin, architect A.Sandok) was to commemorate outstanding services
done to the country by the Pacific Navy. In the center of the memorial
there is a legendary submarine C-59 with eternal flames in front of it
established here in 1975. The submarine participated in the Great Patriotic
War (World War II). In 1942 it went from the Pacific across the Atlantic
to the North Sea, having sunk twelve hostile vessels. The crew have many
times been awarded different orders and the captain G.I.Shchedrin is the
U.S.S.R. hero. The submarine is now turned into a museum where along with
the exhibits disclosing the Pacific Navy glory are items, maps and charts
showing the history of submarine construction in the country. Visitors
are allowed to look into a periscope--an optical instrument installed on
submarines for viewing objects that are over the water when the boat is
submerged--to touch the berths for sailors, just to feel the authentic
atmosphere of a genuine submarine.
KORABEL'NO-NABEREZHNAYA, THE MONUMENT TO THE FIRST
The fourteen-meter stella erected in 1985 (architect B.Bogomolov) to
commemorate the Vladivostok first settlers resemble a prow of a sailing-vessel
"Manchur" which brought the first group of forty officers
and men under Ensign N.Komarov of the 3rd East Siberian Line Battalion
reportedly to this very spot. The two anchors on both sides of the stella
add to the resemblance to a sailing vessel.
KORABEL'NO-NABEREZHNAYA, KRASNY VYMPEL (THE RED
Opposite the submarine there stands a memorial sailing steamboat the
Krasny Vympel (the Red Pennant in English) which used to bear the
name the Admiral Zavoiko in pre-Revolutionary times. Constructed
in 1911, the Admiral Zavoiko actively participated in Revolutionary
events and Civil War--in contrast to the western part of Russia where it
lasted from 1918 to 1920, the Civil War and Intervention continued in the
Far East up to 1922. Sometimes the vessel is called the Aurora of the East
, the name parallels the Aurora in St.Petersburg which gave a signal
to start assault of the Winter Palace, the residence of Russian csars,
on October 25 (November 7 in new style), 1917. When there was a threat
of being captured by the interventionists the Admiral Zavoiko left
for Shanghai. On coming back to Vladivostok in 1923 it became the first
ship of the Soviet Pacific Navy and this is when it was given a new name.
Its battle life was a long one: it participated in the utter defeat of
Japan in 1945 and only in 1958 it was turned into a memorial ship-museum.
#4, PETRA VELIKOGO ST.
This two-story masonry building was constructed in 1914 (architect
N.Nadarov). For many years it has housed the Amur Region Studies Society
founded in 1884 and since 1925 it has housed the Prymorye affiliate of
the Russian Geographical Society. Its first head was F.F.Busse,
who also headed the Migration Bureau. With one of the largest Reference
Library in the Far East and interesting archives comprising rare documents
and manuscripts, the Geographical Society building was the place
where world-known scientists and scholars used to work. Thus, V.K.Arsenyev
(1872 -1930), an ethnographer, a writer and explorer of the Far East often
did his research here. In 1927, a Norwegian explorer and discoverer of
the South Pole (1911), Roald Amundsen (1872 -1928) worked in the library.
In front of the building there is a monument to Russian Hydrographers-Explorers
of the Far East unveiled in 1987. In the center of the whole composition
(architect S.I.Pavlenko) stands an old beacon bell cast in 1906 and brought
from the Bruce lighthouse.
#6, PETRA VELIKOGO ST.
In the general context of Russia's museum boom in the 1870s, it is
not surprising that there was a demand to construct its own museum in Vladivostok
as early as 1883, but due to finance it could be constructed only seven
years later. In 1890 a military engineer G.K.Sergiyenko constructed a classical
building for the first museum of local studies and in 1909 architect F.F.Postnikov
designed an art nouveau two-story addition. Now they both cannot house
a wide variety of exhibits and comprise only a small part of the Arsenyev
Museum. Almost immediately on its opening, October 16 - 19, 1890, known
world-wide Russian short-story writer and dramatist A.P.Chekhov (1860 -
1904) on his way from the island of Sakhalin studied in the museum library.
In honor of the visit of this outstanding person whose literary works including
Cherry Orchard, Seagull, Three Sisters and others had an enormous
impact on Russian and world literature, a memorial plaque was established
on the museum wall in 1985. Many other famous scholars and scientists used
to do their research here: V.K.Arsenyev, V.L.Komarov, A.I.Kurentsov, etc.
#50, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
Of the many buildings erected in early 20th century few
can compete with the Bol'shoy Muzykal'ny Teatr (Great Musical Theatre).
The central element on the side facing the main street is an accented oriental
pediment. This only oriental detail is mixed with classic order forms and
art nouveau design. Art critics assume that stylistically it can be referred
to as postmodern. Eclectic in style, this building produces a solid, rather
Designed by architect N.D.Fedoseyev and sponsored by local entrepreneurs
brothers Burlakov, Radov and Zimmerman, it was constructed in 1915. The
theatre season was opened by one of the operettas of Franz Lehar (1870
-1948), a Hungurian composer of operettas. In addition to the theatre,
the building used to house the Letuchaya Mysh (the Bat) and Bi-Ba-Bo
cabarets which existed only until the Revolution. Among other futurists,
N.Aseyev and D.Burlyuk used to rent premises here. International Criminal
Police Organization, Interpol, was here during the Civil war and Intervention
(1918 - 1922). In 1923 the building was remodelled for the movie theatre
Komsomolets (Young Communist League Member) and has housed it since
then. Later, in 1932, the upper floor became the affiliate of the Academy
of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. headed by academician V.L.Komarov. Since 1971
it has housed the Presidium, an administrative committee, of the Far Eastern
Department of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. (Now the Far Eastern
Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences).
#52, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
Albeit small in size, the former military governor's house reflects
one more facet of the architectural activity at the close of the last century
in Vladivostok: the construction of the residence in the form of an old
Russian estate which was commissioned to a military engineer colonel V.G.Mooro
in 1890 -1891. The simplicity of the design, with an emphasis on severe
and laconic forms, commensurate proportions and well-planned interior make
the building a notable architectural monument.
The military governor's residence is of great interest both from an
architectural and a historic point of view: invited by general F.F.Unterberger,
the owner of the house, Cesarevitch Nikolai stayed here during his visit;
the Vladivostok Soviet (council) of workers and soldier deputies sat here
in December 1917 and in 1918; later the communists were kept prisoners
here during the years of Intervention and the Merculovs' coup. Since 1925
the building has been used as the Ilyich--the patronymic of V.Lenin--Children's
Palace called later the Pioneers' Palace. Owned by a business company,
it has recently been reconstructed.
SVETLANSKAYA ST. THE SERGEI LAZO MONUMENT
In front of the Gorky Teatre on Svetlanskaya stands the Sergei
Lazo monument. Sergei Lazo was a Civil War hero who has been thought
for the whole Soviet period to have been burned in the fire-box of a train
by the Japanese interventionists. The fact was recently disputed. According
to the new version, he must have been shot after his arrest by the Japanese.
In 1975, the statue of Lazo, designed by sculptor L.Pisarevsky, was placed
on the pedestal where the statue of a noted Russian admiral used to stand--new
heroes came to replace old honored ones to implant Soviet ideology. The
Admiral Zavoiko monument designed by a famous sculptor I.Gintsburg
known for his statuettes executed in realistic genre was dedicated in 1908.
The three meters high statue commemorated the renowned admiral with the
map in his right hand and a saber in his left. Admiral Zavoiko was rightly
considered to be the initiator of the Vladivostok port. When in 1959 the
governor general of the Amur region addressed admiral Zavoiko with a suggestion
to establish a port in Nikolayevsk-on-Amur he advised to try and find a
port in the south where Vladivostok stands now. The replacement of this
monument is presently regarded as a great loss. An opinion was expressed
to restore it but it has been to no avail so far.
#8, SUKHANOVA ST. THE FAR EASTERN STATE UNIVERSITY.
The construction of the former School of Commerce grew in response
to the needs of rapidly growing trade in Vladivostok. Architect S.A.Vensan's
project won the competition announced in St.Petersburg though architect
V.A.Planson laid out the site and "set" the building into it.
Erected in 1913, the new building of the School of Commerce became a Vladivostok's
landmark. Basically designed in art nouveau, it has Gothic details. The
severity and expressiveness of its architectural decor based on the assumption
of architectural integrity of the facade and the interior highlights the
geometrical forms. The decorative bricks matching the quality and color
are used in the embellishment of the building--the so called rational way
From 1920 to 1939 the State Far Eastern University had been
in the building. 1939 was a sinister date in the history of FESU: it was
closed and the building was occupied by the NKVD, the predecessor of KGB,
notorious for the repressions of Stalin's era. When in 1956, after the
restoration, the FESU returned to the building the faculty found blood-stained
walls in the basement which was rumored to have been used as torture cells
in the interim. The most gruesome joke says that ghosts are still wandering
in the basement...
Being the only classical university in the Russian Far East, with branches
in Sakhalin, Kamchatka, Japan, the People's Republic of China, FESU is
the home of important centers for research in chemistry, biology, marine
science, physics, electronics, liberal arts, and other fields. FESU's sixteen
departments enroll more than 1600 students each year to be taught in 21
specialties and more than 50 majors. Presently, FESU successfully cooperates
with universities, scientific centers and schools of Japan, U.S.A., Great
Britain, Australia, the People's Republic of China, Republic of Korea,
Vietnam and other countries. FESU offers intensive courses in Russian as
a Foreign Language, Russian Area Studies.
In retrospect, FESU has prepared many highly-qualified professionals
for enterprises, schools, and other institutions of the Russian Far East.
The university's activity is connected with the names of many outstanding
scholars, scientists and public figures.
SVETLANSKAYA ST. THE SEAMEN MEMORIAL
The Seamen Memorial , unveiled in 1967 (sculptor O.Ikonnikov,
V.Zverev, architects Yu.Vdovin, V.Tkhor), stands on a small square situated
over the steep slope of the Golden Horn Inlet. It was erected to commemorate
the seamen of the FESCO mercantile marine killed during World War II. With
the beginning of WWII the activity of the Far Eastern Shipping Company
(FESCO) has changed: the ships were sent to the U.S.A., Canada, Australia,
New Zealand and other countries-allies--those were regions entirely new
for the then FESCO stuff. The relations with the U.S.A. were special during
WWII: we were allies and after the fascists struck the Soviet Union, president
Roosevelt rendered aid to the Russians--actually since the fall of 1941
the aid has been regularly delivered--which was specified under the conditions
of the Lend-Lease Act, passed by U.S. Congress on March 11, 1941 to furnish
war materials and services to allies during WWII. Half of Lend-Lease assistance
designated for the Russians was carried through Vladivostok. The voyages
across the Pacific were dangerous. Since there was no convoy to patrol
the way, to ensure the safe delivery of Lend-Lease supplies guns were installed
aboard the FESCO mercantile vessels which had to go without any lights
by night or any audio signals in the fog... The FESCO seamen suffered heavy
casualties; 340 persons were killed, 24 ships were sunk.
In the center of The Seamen Memorial, on the polished gray granite
pedestal made in a form of a wheel-house of a ship the three seamen group
around the gun: the captain is giving the last order... The twenty-four
bronze plaques , with the outlines of the ships , bedecking the memorial
bear the names of all the seamen killed during WW II. Eternal flames in
front of the monument are a good reminder of the seamen's heroic exploits.
The whole complex expresses great gratitude and admiration of the Vladivostokians
for the seamen of the mercantile marine.
SVETLANSKAYA ST. THE NEVELSKOY MONUMENT
Unveiled in 1897, the monument to Nevelskoy became the first monument
in Vladivostok. The cornerstone was laid in 1891 by Cesarevich Nikolai
who was to be the last imperial ruler of Russia. The townspeople had been
donating since 1889 when the idea of commemorating the memory of G.Nevelskoy
was first put into words. Admiral Nevelskoy (1813-1876), Russian explorer
of the Far East proved that Sakhalin was an island--not a peninsula as
it had been thought of before--and that the Amur was navigable in all its
parts--the mouth of the Amur had been believed to be lost in quick sands.
Nevelskoy also founded Nikolayevsk-on-Amur in 1850.
Simple in form and modest in embellishment, the Nevelskoy Monument
began to symbolize the collective exploration exploits and pioneering spirit
of sailors, soldiers, cossacks and first explorers. Designed by the navy
engineer A.Antipov, the monument consists of twelve gray granite slabs
topped with the globe circled along the diameter and crowned with a two-headed
eagle, a symbol of Russian csars' autocracy. In the niche facing the Golden
Horn Inlet stands the Nevelskoy bust perfectly executed by a renouned Russian
sculptor R.Bach (1859 - 1933). Inconspicuous presence of Nevelskoy highlights
the expressiveness of the whole. In the rest three niches there are the
bronze plaques bearing the names of Nevelskoy's collaborators who participated
in 1849 - 1853 expeditions.
The story of the Nevelskoy Monument is typical of post-revolutionary
Russia: in 1923 the five-pointed star came to replace the two-headed eagle,
the remains of revolutionaries were reburied in front of the monument.
Since then the small public garden surrounding it has been named the
Victims of the Revolution Public Garden. In 1958 two years before the
centenary of Vladivostok, N.Kukel'-Krayevsky, the grandson of Nevelskoy,
addressed the local government to restore the monument. By 1960 the Nevelskoy
Monument had been restored.
#65, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
The first church was constructed in Vladivostok in 1861, 0n the first
year of the earliest settlers. The St.Virgin's Assumption church
was a wooden structure topped with a tiny wooden cross which was the only
sign showing that that was a church. This notwithstanding, the woodwen
structure with the iconostasis--which in Russian Orthodox church is a partition
covered with icons, holy pictures, which separates the sanctuary from the
main part of the church and is usually richly decorated--painted on the
canvas served as the only church for many years.
In 1876 the need to construct a masonry building was great: the old
church could not meet the demand of the growing Vladivostok's population.
Since the city could not afford building the church, due to finance, the
military governor addressed the governor general of Eastern Siberia asking
him to address the Minister of Internal Affairs to call for the all-empire's
donations. Ten years later the construction began and in December 1889
the new St.Virgin's Assumption church was dedicated by bishop Gury.
Designed by architect Miller, the new building looked beautiful. Situated
on the slope of a hill, it looked especially beautiful from the sea. It
was a masonry structure with the main dome of 35 meters high. From the
first years of its existence the St.Virgin's Assumption church was
one of the main attractions in Vladivostok. Unfortunately, it shared the
tragic lot of all the Russian churches in post-revolutionary period: in
1932 it was closed and in 1938 it was torn down to build the present brick
building which was first used as a residential quarter and now houses the
Fine Arts School. The only reminder of the former grandeur of the St.Virgin's
Assumption church is a small building which used to be a church library
or an administrative building.
# 71, SVETLANSKAYA ST.
The St.Paul's Lutheran church was built in Vladivostok as early
as 1878 for the Lutheran congregation who were migrants, former exiles
and businessmen mostly from the Baltic states and Germany. The construction
was sponsored by a former organ player from Sitka, Alaska, Otto Rein who
came to Vladivostok to settle. In 1908 the wooden structure was rebuilt
by German architect Yunghendel in Gothic style. Constructed of baked bricks,
the entire church with its pointed arch and ribbed vault looks like mediaeval.
It was used as a church up to 1930. The fate of the last pastor was
tragic: accused of having participated in suppressing the peasants insurrections
in pre-Revolutionary Russia, espionage for the Germans and collaboration
with the fascist Germany, V.Riechwald, a Russian German, was arrested in
1935 and sentenced to seven years imprisonment. His further fate is unknown,
most probably, he died in prison. In 1935, it housed the Gorky club for
petty officers of the Pacific Navy of the U.S.S.R. Later, in 1950, it was
turned into the Pacific Navy Museum. With the guns which saw the
Russo-Japanese war and participated in the battle in Port Arthur--a port
in NE China, on the Yellow Sea, Chinese, L'u-shun, Japanese, Ryojunko,
Ryojun--displayed in front of the church, the St.Paul's Lutheran church
represents an incongruent picture. Now when the Lutheran community was
restored in Primorye after more than sixty year's break, there is a growing
concern about the reconstruction of the church which is now in a deplorable
state inspite of the fact that the former church is an architectural monument
of republican significance.
#10, PUSHKINSKAYA ST.
The early settlers perfectly understood the paramount importance of
friendly relations with neighboring countries. In anticipation, the
Oriental Studies Institute was established in 1899 which became the
first higher education institution in the Russian Far East, and disseminated
knowledge to the citizens of the area. With four departments--Chinese-Japanese,
Chinese-Korean, Chinese-Mongolian and Chinese-Manchurian--the Oriental
Studies Institute provided students with a broad liberal arts background.
It also offered courses in business and economics, social science and law.
The Oriental Studies Institute was dedicated to the preparation of students
for professional careers in administrative, trading, and industrial enterprises
of the Russian Far East and adjacent countries.
Executed by A.A.Gvozdiovsky, a Vladivostok's popular architect of that
time, this E-shaped 3-4 story-building is properly a classic structure
built of red brick with triangle pediment and 3-4 columns flanking the
windows. Stylistically, the emphasis is upon the line: severe geometric
forms and plain walls underline a college building. Brought from Manchuria,
the two mythological lions symbolizing wizdom adorn the central entrance
In 1920 the building was given to the State Far Eastern University
and later, in 1929, to the Far Eastern Polytechnical Institute--the Far
Eastern Technical University since 1993--which it has housed since then.
VIEWPOINT (NEAR FUNICULAR)
A cable car can take you along the funicular railroad constructed in
1962, and spanning downtown with Sukhanov street and the viewpoint on Orlinoye
Gnezdo hill. The nickname Orlinoye Gnezdo (Eagle's Nest) was earned due
to the fact that when the first settlers climbed the top of the hill they
found an eagle's nest with the younglings inside.
On visiting Vladivostok, a Norwegian arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen
(1861 - 1930) wrote: "Vladivostok looks very beautiful from the sea.
It is hardly inferior in this respect to any other city. Situated on the
terraces, it looks very much like Naples. It's true, there's no Vesuveus
in the background but there is a magnificent harbor and delightful islands
The viewpoint provides vistas across the waters and to the hilly islands
scattered over the Peter the Great Bay which frames the whole scene. Looking
"like some sea princess' jewels carelessly tossed on the blue velvet"
from the great height, the 22 islands spatter the approaches to the city.
The largest and very impressive, Russian Island, is visible from this site.
Covered with ancient oriental legends, Russian Island is indicated as the
Moonlight Fortress on the 18th century East-Asian maps. The
legend goes that, inspecting P'o-hai state, the mighty sedentary state
(approximately, 700 - 900), which reportedly comprised the territory of
present-day Primorye as part of it, the emperor gave an order to establish
a fortress on the hilly island not far from the continental shore which
had to be approved by the gods. To their despair, the gods did not respond.
All of a sudden, when everything seemed to be lost, there was a thin moonlight
beam coming through thick and ominous clouds and pointing to one of the
island bays, which is believed to be one of the bays of Russian Island.
Then comes Popov Island, in ancient times known as the Lonely Star Island,
and sometimes called as the "Treasure Island." The nickname can
be accounted for by two reasons: on the one hand, speaking figuratively,
many rare tree and shrub species grow there, and presently, it is part
of the first in the country marine preserve, on the other hand, the island
used to serve as the hide out of khun-khuz, or the "red-bearded"
Chinese pirates who robbed all the passing ships, threw the victims from
the high cliffs and hid the treasures. Rumors have it that the treasures
are still there... Almost every island has an underlying legend, most of
them are called for the first explorers, navigators, the vessels: Reinike,
Rikord, Pakhtusov, Tsivolko, Zheltukhin and others.
Being one of the largest in the Sea of Japan, the Peter the Great Bay
comprises six smaller bays: Posyet, Amur, Ussuri, Strelok, Vostok, and
Nakhodka. Two of them, namely, the Amur and the Ussuri Bays with the East
Bosporous Strait separating them wash the Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula from
the East and West.
Across the spectacular Golden Horn Inlet with the Merchant fleet on
the right, the Shipyard "Dalzavod," on the left, the Navy base
in the middle, and the Fishery Port on the opposite side, there is Goldobin
Peninsula, locally known as Churkin neighborhood where there used to be
a fashionable garden "Italia" in pre-Revolutionary Vladivostok,
the favorite place of recreation for the townspeople of that time. Now
this is a residential district.
With its numerous peninsulas, capes, islands--highly fragmented coastline--and
thoroughfares, streets and lanes climbing to the hills and overlooking
the waters, Vladivostok enjoys a gorgeous cityscape.