Thursday, 4 August 2016

Ussuriysk, in the Russian far east: a renovated siberian town

At 43º N , this almost unknown asian town can hardly be someone's Ultima Thule. But its surrounding nature and some European atmosphere can be a surprise in such a remote off-track location.
While Vladivostock is well known and used to visitors, Ussuriysk remains almost a secret just 100 Km inland to the north.

Ussuriysk is a far-east Siberian town, on the banks of the Ussuri river and near the Khanka Lake, about 60 kilometers from both the Chinese border and the Sea of Japan. It lies south of Khabarovsk (see Ultima Thule here) and north of Vladivostock.

Coordinates:  43° 48′ N, 131° 57′ E
Population:  ~160 000

In the old town.


From 1115 to 1234, the southern area of the modern Russian Far East was under the Jurchen Jin Dynasty, a nomadic asiatic people.

Ussuriysk was founded in 1866. Due to its advantageous geographic location at the crossing of transport routes, the village experienced rapid growth during the 1870s, turning into a trade center. Its role increased after the railroad connected Khabarovsk and Vladivostok (now a part of the Trans-Siberian Railway).

The central part of the city, between Chicherina and Timiryazeva streets, is of historic value.

The old town has been under restoration, most of it is now colorfully painted and aligned with trees, gardens, benches.

The pedestrian Kalinina street.

Rich merchant houses are lined along Kalinina.

The inevitable cast-iron love bench.

This was the imposing old Post Office.

A few wooden houses featuring woodwork around the windows still survive in the oldest boroughs.

The Jin Stone Tortoise

A 12th-century stone tortoise from a Jurchen grave of the Great Jin Dinasty (1115-1234) is displayed in Ussuriysk's central park. It's the richest archeologic feature of the Museum.

The large tortoises represented by the sculpture live in large number in the Khanka Lake.

In addition, the Museum exhibits photos, documents, tools and other testimonies of the past centuries.

The Theater
Ussuriysk Drama Theater

Built in 1937, he was then the City Theatre. It currently offers a classic program and children plays.

It's one of the most loved and protected buildings in town.

Church of the Holy Protection

The church has four domes, bell tower with seven bells. Among the relics, an old icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov.

The Church, was built in 1914, but only recently has been recovered for the orthodox cult.

It is the only religious building in the krai that has been kept without any reconstruction since 1917 and is used for its original purpose.

The iconostasis and some of the old relics.

The Old Movie Theater

One of the oldest buildings in town, the "Grand-Illusion" movie theater, now "Rossya", built in 1908-1909.

Café bar "Green Island"

On Lenina St.

More westernly Café "Shazka":

Despite the low latitude, winters are icy cold and the town always hides its colour under the white of snow.

The charm of Ussuriysk in winter

Around Ussiriysk

Lake Khanka

Lake Khanka´s waters covered with flowered lotus.

Ussuri River

Ussuri river through Primorsky territory

The Ussuri is a tributary of the Amur river; it flows north from the mountains of the Krai, and establishes the Sino-Russian border separating Siberia and Manchuria, until it flows into the large Amur at the great city of Khabarovsky. During the border conflict, the river was a stage of combats between the two armies.

The river flows through taiga-covered flat land.

The Ussuri is feared after strong rainfall, which usually results in catastrophic flooding, and its waters invade Ussuriysk lower areas.

Primorsky Krai, bordered by China, North Korea, and the relatively warm waters of the Sea of Japan, is the southeasternmost region of Russia, located between 42° and 48° north latitude and 130° and 139° east longitude.

The Primorsky Krai and the Ussuri Tiger living grounds (dark orange).

Highlands dominate the territory of the krai. Most of the territory is mountainous, and around 80% of it is forested. There lives the...

... magnificent Ussuriysky Tiger.


Anonymous said...

O Rei de Thule (Goethe)

Es war einst ein König in Thule,
Gar treu bis an das Grab,
Dem sterbend seine Buhle
einen goldnen Becher gab.

Es ging ihm nichts darüber,
Er leert' ihn jeden Schmaus;
Die Augen gingen ihm über,
So oft trank er daraus.

Und als er kam zu sterben,
Zählt' er seine Städt' im Reich,
Gönnt' alles seinen Erben,
Den Becher nicht zugleich.

Er saß beim Königsmahle,
Die Ritter um ihn her,
Auf hohem Vätersaale
Dort auf dem Schloß am Meer.

Dort stand der alte Zecher,
Trank letzte Lebensglut
Und warf den heil'gen Becher
Hinunter in die Flut.

Er sah ihn stürzen, trinken
Und sinken tief ins Meer.
Die Augen täten ihm sinken,
Trank nie einen Tropfen mehr.

(tradução de Mário de Sá-Carneiro)

Em Thule outrora reinou
Um rei fiel e constante
Ao qual moribunda a amante
Um copo d'ouro deixou.

Quando o rei [d]ele bebia
Todos os dias à mesa;
Cheio de dor e tristeza
Em pranto se desfazia.

Ao sentir chegar a morte
Reuniu na mesma sala
Num banquete de gala
Toda inteira a sua corte.

Fora nesse mesmo dia
Que o seu herdeiro chamara,
O rei, ao qual deixara
Os bens, todos que havia.

Porém o copo adorado
D'amor tão doce lembrança
Não fez parte da herança,
Tinha-o ele separado!

O mar ficava fronteiro
À sala em que se jantava
Diante do rei lá estava
O seu fiel companheiro.

De beber tendo acabado
Ergue o seu braço tremente...
E ao mar rapidamente
Por ele o copo é lançado!

Mas quando desaparecia
Quando já tocava o fundo
Deixava o bom rei o mundo,
Cerrando os olhos morria.

Mister Twister said...

Well of course the winters are icy cold! The northern hemisphere is divided into the Atlantic region, and a whole bunch of flat land. One side gets all the warmth in winter, the other gets all the cold.

Also, the -iyski ending in russian words can, and should, be easily replaced with the english -ian, which means "of/from". Ussurian Tiger even has a nice ring to it.

Mário R. Gonçalves said...

I kindly disagree, Mr. Twister.

First, Ussuriysk is close to the Pacific Ocean, on the East coast of Siberia, and so the climate is maritime, not continental. Then, the latitude is the same of, say, Seattle - acros the Ocean, on the U.S. west coast - where Winters are NOT icy cold. And less cold if you go inland, by the way.

Then, I LIKE Ussuriysky, it sounds so delightfully Russian. I know of the translation, but I kept the Russian termination on purpose. It's more Tiger-like !

Mister Twister said...

I did forget that Seattle is quite warm. However, the "Global Pole of Cold" is Yakutsk, about same latitude as Oslo, which does support my view on the warmth distribution. North Asia and most of Canada get really cold winters, while Europe and Iceland do not.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

I was born and bred in Ussuriysk and lived there till my 23 years of age, which was back in 1970. The winters in those years were really cold and sometimes icy cold with icy wind blowing snow off the ground. It was often dry and icy!