Vladivostok is built along the Muravyev peninsular which reaches south-west into the Sea of Japan. Vladivostok was founded in 1859 as Russia expanded its empire east to the Pacific. It is one of the few deep water ports on the east coast and remains unfrozen for all but around 72 days per year on average, less than any other Russian pacific port, one reason why it is the base for Russia’s Pacific Fleet.
The railway in Vladivostok was started on May 31st 1891 when Tsarevitch Nicholas laid the foundation stone for the station and the building of the eastern (Usuri) end of the Trans-Siberian commended. It was not until 1898 that it was possible to travel by train all the way to Moscow and not until 1916 that the present route of the trans-siberian was completed.
Vladivostok is now the main port for goods passing into and out of Russia in the east, and almost all of these goods are transported out of Vladivostok by rail. With a population of 700,000, it is also the regions capital and university town, a centre for education and culture.
The main railway station is an a attractive 19th century building on the harbours edge. It looks out across the water and is next to the modern ferry terminal, where you can take local ferries and even a ferry to Japan. Many of the main points of interest and hotels are in walking distance from the station.
Today Vladivostok has a vibrant economy with considerable numbers of new buildings going up. Some of these are a conference centre and additional hotels because Vladivostok is the venue for the 2012 meeting of APEC (the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation). This is a group of eastern rim countries with a combined GDP of more than 50% of that of the world.