A military city situated on the shore of the Sea of Japan, Vladivostok only recently opened to Western visitors. It shows a fascinating blend of both European and Asian cultures. Vladivostok is a key Russian port, but actually belonged to China until relatively recently. Russia only acquired the land after the Treaty of Beijing in 1860, and began to develop the area.
In 1903 the Trans-Siberian Railway reached Vladivostok, which gave a greater connection to Moscow and the rest of Europe, and boosted the local economy. Following the Bolshevik Revolution and subsequent unrest, the city became a major port, and certainly one of great strategic importance. Since that time, Vladivostok has grown into the cultural centre tourists see today, now boasting a range of art galleries, museums, theatres and restaurants.