"Europe in the Far East" Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk by saracen
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Travel Guide: 25 reviews and 45 photos
Sakhalin is an island located in the far east of Russia, in the Sea of Okhotsk. The Tartar Straits separate it from De Kastri on the Russian mainland, and the Straits of La Peruse are all that stand between us and Hokkaido, Northern Japan.
Up until the Second World War, the southern half of the island was Japanese and the northern half was Russian. During this time, it served as a Russian gulag.
After the war, the island was united under Russian ownership. Today there is still an ongoing dispute between Japan and Russia over ownership of some of the minor Kuril islands that stretch south of the Kamchatka Peninsula.
The locals in the city are predominately Caucasian/European with a sizeable minority of Koreans, brought over by the Japanese as slave workers during WWII, and made to stay by the Soviet Russians.
There are also quite a few indiginous tribes of semi nomadic reindeer herders etc. who live to the north of the island. These people are sadly struggling to maintain their traditional way of life, and seem to be suffering significantly as the island rapidly moves into the 21st century.
Yuzhno Sakhalinsk, generally called just Yuzhno, is the administrative capital of the island. It is home to around 200,000 people and is the largest city on the island.
The main industries located here are administrative ones in relation to its regional importance, plus many main offices for the numerous fishing and natural resources companies.
Oil production has long been a feature of Sakhalin industry, but until the arrival of the international oil majors in the 1990's, all production was from onshore sites. Now there is huge investment in the offshore continental shelf to the east and north of the island.
Winters are pretty tough - blizzards and typhoons can last for days, dumping metres of snow on the island. However, the remarkable perseverance of the people means that they very quickly manage to overcome the obstacles, and life resumes as normal very soon afterwards.
- Pros:Nice environment, great summers.
- Cons:Far from everywhere else, expensive, terrible, long winters.
- In a nutshell:A real melting pot of Asian and European.
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Written Oct 13, 2006
Written May 9, 2016
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