A stubborn little carriage runs down the hills…
The Vladivostok Funicular is a distant relative of the famous cable cars in San Francisco. Yet, while the cable cars in San Francisco are pulled by a cable running underneath the street and operate on lengthy and steep routes, the funicular in Vladivostok consists of only two cable cars that run up and down the slope of Orlinaya (Eagle) Hill, connecting two parallel streets: Puskinskaya and Sukhanov.
In general, a comparison of Vladivostok with San Francisco is made so often that one may wonder why these two cities have not yet twinned. In 1959, returning from his trip from the United States via Vladivostok, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev initiated a plan to build a “Soviet San Francisco.” Shortly after his announcement, the “Big Vladivostok” project started. It completely changed the look and feel of the city. In May 1962 the Funicular was opened — the one and, as it turned out, the only in Vladivostok.
Today there are only two funiculars in Russia: one in the city of Sochi and the other in Vladivostok (not to be confused with a cable car, which is sometimes also called a funicular). Due to its uniqueness and scenic view over Zolotoy Rog (Golden Horn) Bay, the Vladivostok funicular has become a popular tourist attraction, despite the short length of its route (183 meters, which is only a 1.5-minute ride — short, but unforgettable).
Not so long ago students were the most frequent users of the funicular: the route used to connect the upper and lower campuses of the former State Polytechnic University. Recently, the university has become a part of the Far Eastern Federal University and has moved to Russky (Russian) Island. When the funicular was closed for annual repairs and maintenance, students would climb up and down the steep stairs — ironically called “the ladder of health” — that consist of nearly 400 steps.
Funicular operators are used to the tourists’ excitement and gladly satisfy their curiosity by answering their questions. Sometimes they even let tourists stand inside the operation cabin.
Tourists can also book guided group tours and visit the holiest of places — the engine room of the funicular.Tour booking:8(423) 273 96 93. You will need help of interpreter or your russian friend.