Old Russian: "Rule the East", seaport and administrative centre of Primorsky kray (region), extreme southeastern Russia. The town was founded in 1860 as a Russian military outpost. During World War I Vladivostok was the chief Pacific entry port for military supplies and railway equipment sent to Russia from the United States. After the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917, Vladivostok was occupied in 1918 by foreign, mostly Japanese, troops, the last of whom were not withdrawn until 1922. The antirevolutionary forces in Vladivostok promptly collapsed, and Soviet power was established in the region. It became the main Russian port on the Pacific Ocean in 1873, and received city status in 1880. With a population of about 700,000, it is today the capital of Primorye - the Maritime Territory of the Russian Far East - and home to the Russian Pacific Fleet.
During the Soviet period Vladivostok remained the home of the Pacific Fleet, which was greatly enlarged in the decades after World War II. Vladivostok's military importance was such that from 1958 to 1990 it was entirely closed to foreigners.
Vladivostok is the chief educational and cultural centre of the Russian Far East. It is the site of the Far Eastern Scientific Centre, the Far Eastern State University (founded 1920), and medical, art education, polytechnic, trade, and marine-engineering institutes. The city has amateur and professional theatres as well as a philharmonic society and symphony orchestra. There are also museums of local history and of the history of the Pacific Fleet. The population is about 648,000.
The city is surrounded by the Far East Maritime Reserve and the Ussuri Nature Reserve, home to black and brown bears, Siberian boars, Ussuri tigers, the rare Amur leopard and hundreds of local and migratory birds.
Thanks to its advantageous location in close proximity of China, Korea, and Japan, Vladivostok early on became a center of international trade, diplomacy, and cooperative business ventures. A significant assistant in these cosmopolitan affairs was the Great Northern Telegraph, owned and managed by Denmark, which swiftly connected Eastern Russia with Europe by way of telegraphic lines in Nagasaki, Shanghai, and Vladivostok. During the 1890s and early years of the 20th century, the city was a boom town of tumultuous growth, lively cultural opportunities--and crime. In a parallel with today's rapid development, numerous commercial agents, individual businessmen, and diplomats representing many countries flocked to the city. But the outbreak of World War I, the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the ensuing Civil War changed things. For much of the Soviet period, Vladivostok was a fortress city closed not only to foreigners but also to all Soviet citizens without special permits. It was officially 'opened' again in January 1992.
Vladivostok is the largest historical centre of Primorsky Krai. There are more than two hundred monuments, in architectural shape of city has mixed up old and new. Buildings of the end XIX and the beginnings of XX century adjoin to the buildings constructed at the end of XX c. Apartment houses - monuments of Russian wooden architecture of the end of XIX century were kept also. Despite of massed town-planning of last decades, city still keeps both separate historical buildings and the whole streets.
The sanatorium zone of city has the all-Russia value. The best health resorts of Siberia and the Far East are also located here. The children's centre "Ocean", set of houses of rest and tourist bases operate all-the-year-round .