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Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is a small town nestled sleepily among olive-green hills. The city blends harmoniously with the surrounding landscape. The city has enough hotels and restaurants to make it a good starting point for further exploration of the island.

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk was founded in 1881 as Vladimirovka, named after a major who directed the islands compulsory labor. The Japanese developed Vladimirovka, renaming to Toiohara and during their 40 years of occupation, built it into a thriving township and center of regional administration.

After the victory of the Soviet Army in the WWII, the town got the name of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk meaning 'Southern Sakhalin'. For about 50 years the city was developing as a center for light industry and food processing- specifically fish. This town remains the object of international interest, with a wide network of Japanese and Korean hotels, restaurants and organizations with prices that make those on the mainland look provincial by comparison, and with US-sponsored satellite phone system that operate the direct contact with the rest of the world. However, this modern international city did not lose its wild charm and magnetism.

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