Khabarovsk is one of the biggest and important cities of the Russian Far East. Khabarovsk is the largest Russian city east of Lake Baikal, and it is the capital of the Khabarovsk Region. It is located at the confluence of the Amur and Ussuri rivers. Khabarovskians are 80% native Russians, but there are many Chinese, some Japanese and Korean inhabitants.
Khabarovsk’s sister cities include Portland, Oregon; Harbin, China; and Niigata, Japan.
The population of the city is about 600,000 people. City telephone code: 4212. Time: Moscow time+ 7 hours.
Khabarovsk was one of the first cities founded close to the China border after the authorities of the two countries came to an agreement in May 1858. Initially it was a military post called Kabarovka after the Russian explorer Khabarov. It was founded by the Governor General of Eastern Siberia, Count Nikolay Muravyov. In 1893 Khabarovka was renamed Khabarovsk and gained the status of a city. Thanks to the favourable location (the city is at the intersection of several rivers) the small military settlement became a big city within three decades. By the end of the XIX century the population of the city reached 15.5 thousand people and Khabarovsk became one of the biggest provincial cities.
The rapid development of the city at the end of the XIX and beginning of the XX century was initiated by the construction of a railway in the Far East. In 1891 the construction of the Ussuriysk railway — the remotest part of the Trans-Siberian Railway — began. After the Russian-Japanese War it was decided to construct a railway close to the Amur River. In 1913 through 1916 the Amur bridge called “The Miracle of the XX century” was built.
After that Khabarovsk became the capital city of the huge province and housed the office of Governor General. The main industrial impetus at that time was on the production of wine, beer and timber. However the city started growing much faster in the Soviet time. The industrialization of the Far East was conducted extensively in 1930s through to 1950s.
In 1969 Soviet and Chinese soldiers fought a bloody battle over Damansky Island which lies in the Ussuri River. The fighting stopped just short of all-out war but it caused a huge military build-up. Since 1984 the tensions have eased and there is now substantial cross-border trade. Damansky and some other islands were transferred back to China in 1991.
The present economy of Khabarovsk is very diverse. The city is an important transport hub connecting rail, air and river routes. It is one of the main cities of the Far East. Although Khabarovsk has long been the headquarters of the Far Eastern Military Command, it has never been closed to foreign visitors like Vladivostok.
Nearly three-quarters of Khabarovsk’s inhabitants work in some type of industrial job now and there are many factories surrounded by Soviet-style apartment blocks.
There is a huge flow of tourists from Japan, South Korea and China. Among the most popular attractions are museums, clubs, restaurants and boat routes. There is an excellent Regional Museum in Khabarovsk founded in 1894. It includes displays of the natural history of the Far East and fascinating artefacts.
There is also the Far East Art Museum with a wonderful collection of icons.
The variety of military artifacts can be found in the Miliraty Musuem.
There is also small but interesting Museum of History of the Far Eastern Railway.
Among the few churches that survived the Soviet era is the Church of Christ’s Birth.
The Arboletum — a 12-hectare botanical garden with samples of all trees and shrubs of the Russian Far East — is on Volochaevskaya str.
Among the other attractions, there are the World War II memorial and a pleasant city park.