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Visit Russia's 'City in the Sunny Valley'

Located in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast and founded in 1882, the city of Yuzhno-Sakhilinsk was initially named Vladimirovka, after the town of Vladimir in Russia's Golden ring. At the end of the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, the city was under Japanese jurisdiction, and was renamed Toehara, meaning 'valley of fertility' and came to be known as the 'city in the sunny valley' – an apt description of its location between two mountain ranges, offering it protection from the unpredictable and often harsh Pacific Ocean weather conditions. Japan retained possession of the city until the end of WWII when it was taken over by the Soviet Union and renamed Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

Visitors to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk will see strong evidence of Japanese influence in the city's older architecture, with a prime example being the pagoda style building which is home to the Sakhalin Regional Museum. This museum was opened to the public in 1946 and its collection of items relating to indigenous culture, archeology, natural history and political history of the Sakhalin oblast has grown to around 190,000. Visitors can also enjoy a stroll through the landscaped gardens surrounding the museum.

For those who enjoy the outdoors, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk has much to offer. In the winter months the Gorny Vozdukh sports complex offers spectacular snow skiing, and the ski lift operates all year around for visitors to take a trip to the top of the hill and appreciate the breathtaking views. Located just 18km northwest of the city is a huge field featuring several volcanic cones filled with volcanic mud which erupt from time to time. The mud volcanoes can be reached by road or by rail, with the latter being a leisurely and interesting option as the train makes its way along embankments and through tunnels in the forest covered hills and valleys. A little further from the city (about 45km) is the picturesque Lake Tunaycha – the largest and deepest of the island's lakes – a perfect spot to do some fishing. There are quite a number of accommodation options available and nature lovers may want to spend a few days enjoying the lake and coastline.

Back in the city center, the Gagarin Park of Culture and Leisure offers plenty of entertainment for adults and children. A network of pathways is perfect for walking in natural surroundings and the mini-train and amusement park area is popular with families. Water-based activities include paddle boats and jet skis. Certainly there are plenty of options for enjoyment when visiting the Russian city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.


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