The development of Vladivostok as a thriving city was somewhat delayed by its sheer distance to the capital that spans seven time zones and about 9,3000 kilometres. This geographical detachment from any other economic and cultural hubs located in Russia and the closeness to China, Japan and Korea have formed a unique culture different from other Russian cities.
Vladivostok lies in picturesque scenery. It is surrounded by bays, islands and many canals as well as the hills, where the landscapes of the north and the south meet. Northern pine trees or oak woods grow next to ginseng and other plants usually associated with South East Asia. Two bridges mark the cityscape: The Zoloty Rog Bridge, which spans the Golden Horn Bay, and the Russky Bridge, which is the world’s largest cable-stayed bridge connecting the mainland with Russky Island. The island is a former military base and now a popular weekend retreat for hiking, cycling and swimming.