Trans-Siberian Tours Destination Vladivostok
The city of Vladivostok lies at the far eastern end of the Trans-Siberian railway and has been a city that has had an important part in the history of several countries, not just Russia where it is nowadays. The Chinese and Japanese have had their influence on the region and until the end of the 1850’s it was part of Manchuria and therefore came under Chinese control.
It had first been officially recognised as Chinese territory of the Qing dynasty nearly 200 years earlier under the Treaty of Nerchinsk but appears in Chinese Yuan Dynasty maps much earlier than that, dating back to the 14th Century where it was known as the “city of eternal light” (Yongmingcheng).
The Birth of the Modern City of Vladivostok
After coming under Russian control in the late 1850’s under the treaties of Aigun and then Peking the modern city of Vladivostok was born and was given Free Trade Status in an attempt to encourage foreigners to begin trading there. The city continued to go from strength to strength with a shipbuilding yard opening and much of Russia’s Siberian military being stationed there. It was still a very mixed population in the late 19th Century when it was officially granted city status and this was reflected in it’s many foreign named streets of the time.
By 1891 Construction had begun on the Trans Siberian Railway, the most likely reason you’d be visiting Vladivostok these days! The railroad was to finally stretch all the way across Russia and compromises, or at least makes the vast majority of the world’s three largest continuos railway services. The Trans Siberian itself being the third longest at 9,259 kilometres long, with the second being the Moscow to Pyongyang line that reaches a further 1,000 kilometres and the longest being the line from Kiev to Vladivostok, which is over 11,000 kilometres long.
Vladivostok's Role in War With the Japanese
Vladivostok was to continue to play an increasingly important strategic role in global politics with it’s location so close to so many empires and future superpowers not to mention its importance to the superpowers of the time. It was destined to end up having a central role in the struggles that were to plague the 20th Century and it was heavily bombed by the Japanese during the Russo-Japanese war of the early twentieth century.
After the revolution in Russia the British as well as the other Entente powers as well as the Japanese decided to get themselves involved in attempting to stop the spread of Communism in the Soviet Union and started to send troops into the region, both to support the anti-Bolsheviks and to protect the inventory that they had been amassing there. While the Allies eventually decided on pulling out of the region once the Bolsheviks had gained full control of the country the Japanese remained much to their own consequence.
This was the last access foreigners were to have to Vladivostok for quite some time and despite the historic meeting in 1974 between Gerald Ford and Leonid Brezhnev it would be until 1992 until it was able to be visited openly by foreigners again. So take this relatively new opportunity and visit the home of the Russian Pacific Fleet on Trans-Siberian tours.
Article originally posted by Phil Stanley: 8th January 2014