Sovetskaya Gavan is a
port on the Pacific coast linked to Komsomolsk-na-Amure, 500 km west, by an extension of
the BAM. Nowadays it has about 40,000 inhabitants. The city was originally known as
Imperatorskaya Gavan (Emperor's Harbor), and in 1926 became Sovetskaya Gavan (Harbor of
the Soviets). The city is built on the south side of a deep-water inlet, 11 km long, with
From the day the gulf of Sovetskaya Gavan was discovered in
1853 by Admiral Boshnyak, the area has been militarily significant both as a naval base
and as forward defense against Japan. The gulf was an ideal invasion place for the
Japanese who occupied parts of the Far East after the 1917 Revolution until 1922. For this
reason, there are numerous old trenches, bunkers, and observation points built before the
WWII dotted around Sovetskaya Gavan's coastline.
After Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Sovetskaya
Gavan is Russia's third-largest naval base of the Pacific Fleet. At its height in the
1950s and 1960s, it normally had 7-10 major surface combatants such as cruisers,
destroyers, frigates, coastal patrol ships, and submarines and their small support vessels
harbored there. The navy started using the base for fitting out half-built ships and
submarines from the Komsomolsk-na-Amure shipyards when the first floating dock of 5,000
tons arrived in 1939.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the military forces
in the area have been significantly reduced. Commercial activity has now replaced the
military focus in the region. The city has actively sought international connections and
already has sister city agreements with Everett in USA, Rymo in Japan, and the Port of
Sligo in Ireland.
RED STAR TRAVEL invites you to visit Sovetskaya Gavan to
see the Russia's third-largest naval base of the Pacific Fleet.
Accommodations in Sovetskaya Gavan
SOVETSKAYA GAVAN HOTEL
Located in the city center. 40 km to the airport, 4 km to
the railway station. Built in 1976. 5 floors. 163 rooms: 83 singles, 72 twins, 4 junior
suites, 4 suites. All rooms feature private bathroom, color TV, international direct-dial
telephone, radio, refrigerator. Room service. Restaurant for 150 seats. Banquet hall for
30 seats. Cafeteria. Facsimile and photocopying facilities. Hair salon. Souvenir shop.
Safety deposit box. Laundry. Luggage storage. On-site parking. Room rates - from $80.
What to see
Sovetskaya Gavan tours: sights, historical buildings, points of interest
The Regional Museum. Operating hours: 10am to
1pm & 2pm to 6pm, closed on Mondays and Saturdays. The regional museum contains a
small collection on the revolutionary and Civil War era history of the region and
excellent material on the indigenous people. It has wood banisters, a few beams, some
decorative trim, a door-handle, and an oven brick from the scuttled Pallada, which was
excavated in the 1980s. It also has a room of stuffed animals and birds including a
splendid Amur tiger shot in 1983 and said to weigh 380 kilos.
Sovetskaya Gavan City Tour, 2 hours
The City Center. The city's older main
street, Lenin Street, is lined with solid two-storey buildings with shops below and
apartments above, and has the House of Culture and the library. The newer Pionerskaya
Street has 1970s office buildings.
At the intersection is Victory Square with the war
memorial, the main bus stop, the shopping area, and the hotel. Your will see the monument
to Admiral Boshnyak, too. During the city tour you will visit the Krasny Partizan
Lighthouse. From here you can see Port Vanino (20 km north of Sovetskaya Gavan, pop.
30,000) and Sakhalin Island (120 km away) with binoculars.
Beside the lighthouse is a memorial with a beautifully
decorated bell which was the original lighthouse bell and dates from 1895. Also beside the
lighthouse is a monument dedicated to the lighthouse keepers that were tortured to death
by the White Army in 1919. 500 m to the left are concrete artillery bunkers, which are 2m
high, 2.5m wide, and 3m long, and have 50 cm thick walls. All the guns have been removed.
These fortifications and the trenches were built prior to the Great Patriotic War as a
defense against the Japanese.
As Sovetskaya Gavan is the base for much of the northern
Pacific Ocean fishing fleet, the shops are stocked with excellent fish. Kamchatka crabs
are quite common as the crab beds to the north produce about 80% of the world's canned
crab. In addition, the city's cannery produces tins of red caviar, which fill the local
shops. In summer you can discern the region's relatively mild coastal climate, with
raspberries and gooseberries in the market.
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