Svetlanskaya Street        Vladivostok is a major historical and cultural center of Primorsky region. Its memorial record accounts over two hundred monuments. Architectural look of the city is a mixture of antiquity and modernism. In the downtown the buildings of late XIX-early XX centuries stand next to the ones of late XX, some houses are classified as woodwork heritage. Despite intensive town planning the city preserves it
   This sightseeing tour begins from the Railroad Square. The central building here is the Railroad Terminal. Stylistically it resembles a chamber palace of Russian tsars of XVII century. The building was completed in 1894, architect A. Bazilevsky. In 1908 it was enlarged and partially reconstructed by architect N.V. Konovalov.
   Aleutskaya, named after schooner "Aleut", is one of the oldest streets of Vladivostok it begins on the Railroad Square. Long ago the sailors from the Aleut cut a passage through the pristine forests that was quickly built up and turned into Aleutskaya Street. The building of the former Grand Hotel, one the most fashionable hotels of Vladivostok in the past, is still there.
   Not far off there is JS Far Eastern Shipping Company, formally  one of the buildings  it occupies belonged to a prominent wholesale merchant Yu.  Brynner.  In the Soviet period the Brynners immigrated first to Manchuria then to the USA. Elder Americans admired Yul Brynner, the star of Hollywood, however rare of them knew that Yul's hometown was Vladivostok. Historical are the buildings of the former Versailles Hotel  and Russian-Asian Bank.  Nowadays the latter accommodates the Regional Picture Gallery prominent by its unique collection of Russian, Soviet and western paintings of XVII-XX centuries.
    Svetlanskaya Street that crosses Aleutskaya was named after frigate "Svetlana" in 1873. By that time Vladivostok had already evolved into the main seaport of Russia at the Pacific Ocean. Svetlanskaya is the longest and best-preserved historical street of the city, it runs for several kilometers, actually each of its buildings is memorial.
    Noteworthy is the house of D. Startsev, a merchant of the first guild, councilor of commerce. A public figure and businessman he worked hard to make Primor'ye prosperous. He established first porcelain and silicate-brick works, explored coal deposits found in the vicinity of Vladivostok, produced cement, bred pedigree livestock, and traded in tea (was the most respected European in China). The State Department Store, former Kunst & Albers House of Commerce, one of the most beautiful and original buildings of Vladivostok, had embodied the mastery and flight of fancy of architect Yunghendel. Ordered by Kunst & Albers Trading Co's directors it was completed in 1907.
    A nice-looking Post and Telegraph Office , designed by architect A.A. Gvozdiovsky was built in 1897-1899. It is noteworthy that since then the office never changed its original designation.
    The crossroad of Svetlanskaya and Peter the Great Street is prominent by the building of former Siberian Flotilla Headquarters. Designed by naval engineer I.A. Zaborovsky, a veteran of 1904-1905 Russian-Japanese War, it was completed in 1911.
   A cozy public garden in Svetlanskaya Street cradles a monument to Rear-Admiral G.I. Nevel'skoy, an outstanding explorer, talented and brave naval officer esteemed in Russia and abroad. The expedition he headed played a crucial role in instituting the reign of Russia in Primor'ye. The monument was unveiled in 1897 on October 26. The clod of gray granite the obelisk is made of was brought from Island Russky (vicinity of Vladivostok) especially for this monument, so attractive by its austere beauty and noble grace. The bronze eagle that crowns the obelisk was designed by naval engineer A.N. Antonov. The sculptural groups  designed by R.R. Bach, a famous Russian sculptor, were cast in St. Petersburg at the Verfel' Works.
    The Lugovaya Square cradles a monument to another famous Russian navy, Rear-Admiral S.O. Makarov, designed by sculptor A.I. Teneta and architect A.A. Usachev. Stepan Osipovich Makarov, a prominent Russian oceanographer, talented naval commander and theorist of shipbuilding, devoted all his life, until died in Port-Author on March 31, 1905 when the battleship "Petropavlovsk" ran into a Japanese mine, to Russia and its glorious Navy. The monument is dated by the Soviet period.
    A quiet Pushkinskaya Street accommodates a bunch of memorial sights. Among them is Oriental Institute, the first higher educational establishment in the Russian Far East (now Far Eastern Technical University). The institute was erected by architect A.A. Gvozdiovsky in 1896-1899. The building stands out by old dark-red bricks and original decorative lions at the main entrance. These lions were presented to the institute by the representative of the Government of China in the reign of Priamurskii Governor-General.
    Another sight is College of Fine Arts, dated by 1947. Its author is a famous Far Eastern architect A.I. Poretsky. Its architecture is characteristic of the Soviet 1930-1940 period. The Museum of Frontier Troops is made in the same style (architect L.B. Butko).
Historical buildings are located in many streets in the downtown, Ship Wharf, Sukhanov and Ensign Komarov Streets, Ocean Avenue, etc.
    Peculiar of Vladivostok is its unique fortification memorial, Fortress of Vladivostok. This, ranked among the world's best maritime structures, is one of two Russian fortresses of late XIX- early XX centuries, that accounted new fortification concepts developed after 1870 French-Prussian War. The fortress controlled the harbor, the main base of Siberian Flotilla. It included two independent fortification complexes, the inner and the outer. The former, erected in 1894-1986 under the lead of naval engineers K.I. Velichko and K.S. Chernoknizhnikov, was analogous to the batteries of Port-Author. The latter constructed in 1910-1914 under the command of Major-General Alexei Petrovich Shoshin, Chief Engineer of Vladivostok Fortress, had been planned to account the experience of 1904-1905 Russian-Japanese War. Coastal and ground batteries protected the harbor from land and sea. These memorial batteries are parts of national heritage, the most valuable among them are:

  • The Nameless Battery є11 on Nameless Hill is the oldest coastal battery protecting the city from the Amur Gulf side, modernized in 1900.
  • The Upper Tokarevskaya Battery on the Shkot Peninsula erected in 1901.
  • Fortification є1 in the vicinity of Dneprovskaya Street, a well-preserved analogue of the Fortress of Port-Author.
  • Field Redoubt є4 between Patris Lumumba and Neybut Streets erected in 1903 includes the redoubt proper and two batteries.
  • Fortification є4 known as the "Pospelov Fort" on Russky Island erected in 1904 to control the mouth of the Eastern Bosphorus Strait.
  •     Design and combat characteristics of some outer forts are so perfect that they surpass fortifications of the Second World War.
    It is impossible to dwell upon all memorials of Vladivostok in a short essay, let take this tour as a brief excursus over the city history.

        Pictures: Yu. Vas'kovsky

        Svetlana  BELOGLAZOVA, Cand. History, Sector of pre-October History of the Russian Far East. Institute of History, Archeology, and Ethnography of the Peoples of the Russian Far East, Far Eastern Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences