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Vladivostok Fortress: labyrinths of defensive constructions
January 25, 2010 17:10


Vladivostok is a well-known Russian port on the Pacific Ocean, the destination point of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. It was closed for all the foreigners from 1958 until 1991. The city is rather young (founded in 1860), but it disposes an architectural monument which is worth to be visited anyway if you are found of industrial and military tourism or not. It is defensive constructions, visible from the city, the theme for numerous legends and rumors. Everybody who has ever been in the city noticed the strange concrete constructions on the tops of the hills, on the feet of the rocks, along the roads and on the seashore. If you look attentively, you can recognize direct lines of breast works, made of concrete. You can walk around them all alone with your camera, or address to the local diggers’ club: they give you a real tour. It is rather interesting, even if you are not a fan of military tourism.

 

All these constructions are called Fortress. There is no consistent version according to that, who has built it. Some people are sure that it was Japanese invaders (in the war between Russia and Japan in 1905 – 1907). Others suppose it was Gulag prisoners. Almost all would tell stories about the builders, mured in the walls of the Fortress. I hope the legends like this are simply influenced with ones about construction of the Great Chinese Wall: Primorsky Territory, where Vladivostok is situated, shares boarder with China. Anyway, there is no reliable information towards these questions. We can state that the city of Vladivostok was initially founded as a fortress on the Pacific, and it should have fortification constructions. The first invasion attempt to Vladivostok happened in the first year of its existing, so the fortifications were necessary. The first ones could be made of earth and wood and were being improved during the time till the Fortress has got its contemporary physiognomy. The names of the engineers who projected the early versions of the Fortress and its components are known, but the autors and constructors of the last development are still unknown.

The Russia Expedition - Winter Trans-Siberian Adventure tour starts in Moscow and ends in Vladivostok. The Russia Expedition - Winter Trans-Siberian Adventure is an Expedition tour that takes 15 days taking you from Moscow to Vladivostok and through other destinations in Europe. 

 

The Fortress consists of forts, breast-works, defensive ditches, casemated spaces and military barracks, connected with each other with underground corridors. The walls and vaults are incredibly thick and mighty. The tourists, visiting the fortification constructions on the Russkiy Isle walk more than one kilometer under ground only. The system of the underground connecting tunnels of the Fortress is really very sophisticated and developed. Unfortunately, the Fortress looks not so good it could, because of the years of breakdown of the late 80-s – 90-s. Some pieces of artillery of the early 20th century have however, survived and are to be observed. Moreover, they function. These guns had an outstanding level of accuracy of aim. The buoy moorings with diameter of 2 meters was annihilated during the last practice fire (1992) from the distance of 6 sea miles (1 sea mile contains 1852 meters). With the other words, the gun target was almost invisible with the naked eye.

The Fortress is partly a museum, but most of its labyrinths are not tourist objects, but real labyrinths, so be careful. The city of Vladivostok is available by air and by Trans-Siberian railroad, the tickets for which can be booked here.

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Yulia Buzykina

Sources:
    www.rostur.ru

    ruturland.ru


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