After a comfortable train ride from Vladivostok, I arrive in Khabarovsk. Notably colder than the port city, I quickly start to walk the streets of this second largest city in the Russian Far East. Once a Chinese city, Khabarovsk clearly is Russian now, still only 30k from the Chinese border. I walk through Dinamo Park, imagining how this would be a great place to be in summer - but the water has gone from the fountains and the small lake, and the trees have no more leaves. I reach Lenin Square: a big open space where the main avenue runs down straight to the river Amur. On the north side of the square, I find the inevitable statue of Lenin, and when I look closely, I see communist marks (stars, hammer and sickle) on some of the classic buildings standing around the square.
From here, I walk down Muravyov-Amursky Street, the main street of Khabarovsk. Not two buildings are the same, and there are some remarkable buildings on both sides of the tree-lined street. There are four-story buildings, pompous and grey, next to gracious two-story houses. Some have fine details, others have none. There are buildings with decorations, like a statue of Mercury on the mint-green Tsentralny Gastronom. Some of the most remarkable buildings, like the House of Pioneers, have been converted to small shopping-malls. At the end of the street, I find the Far East Research Library, a notable red-brick corner building. It has clocks on the corners. On the opposite side of Muravyov-Amursky Street, I see other, smaller red-brick buildings in a different style, with stained-glass windows. Right at the end of Muravyov-Amursky Street, I arrive at Komsomolskaya Square, dominated by the Uspensky Church, or Dormition Cathedral, with golden domes and blue roofs, a replacement for a church that once stood here but was demolished by the communists in 1930.
Its base is relatively small, making it look very tall and slender. On the other side of the square I find a monument to the heroes of the Russian civil war. I walk down the staircase to reach the beach of the River Amur, walk to the cliffs on the west side for good views, and walk back past yet another war monument. After visiting the Dormition Cathedral, and a few more walks up and down the stairs for views of a vague sunlight shining on the golden domes, the blue roof and the dark sky behind, I walk to the golden-domed white Spaso-Preobrazhensky cathedral. As it happens, the sun finally breaks through the clouds, making the church stand out brilliantly against the blue sky. I walk the streets back to the main street, passing some remarkable wooden houses, and end up watching sunset at Komsomolskaya Square. The next morning, I retrace my steps, enjoying the fine architectural mix of this attractive before it is time to leave.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Khabarovsk (Russia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Khabarovsk. Read more about this site.