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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Nakhodka: Visiting the Soviet Far East Port City, 1976

For most of its history the area of the city of Nakhodka was a small set of towns on the Pacific coast of the Russian and then Soviet Far East. By 1950 it had grown to a population of just under 30,000 people who were primarily engaged in fishing and forestry.

In the 1950s, due to the dramatic growth of Soviet industry, petroleum production and trade, the government decided it needed to greatly increase its port facilities and capacity in the Far East. They began the rapid, planned expansion of Nakhodka as both a community and as a fishing, shipping and industrial centre.

By the time this postcard folder was published in 1976 the city had a population of over 150,000 with new housing, educational and cultural facilities, a mechanized port, factories, fisheries, and oil refineries. One new neighbourhood and housing complex alone had as many people in it as did the entire city in 1950. It had connections to the Trans-Siberian railway and highway and also worked in conjunction with the nearby hub of Vladivostok.

With 15 pictures this look at the city was aimed at a domestic audience and had text in Russian only. There are photos of the naval facilities, monuments, the city and surrounding area, the railway, etc. It was accompanied by a booklet in Russian that talks about Nakhodka at the time and the plans for the future. We have translated it and provided the text as well. The bits about Soviet city planning I found especially interesting.


In the southern part of the Far East, on the Coast of the Sea of ​​Japan, lies the city of Nakhodka. This is the final destination of the Trans-Siberian Railway. The city is young -- only 25 years old. But the history of the discovery of the bay, on the bank of which it is located, goes into the distant past.

115 years ago, on June 29, 1859, the Russian military corvette America went from Hokkaido Island to Peter the Great Bay. Not far from Cape Povorot, the corvette fell into a storm and took shelter from the elements in an unknown bay. It was unfamiliar, poorly understood coast. In the fog it was possible to jump onto the underwater rocks. The commander of the ship decided to approach close to the shore. In the morning, just after dawn, in the western part of the bay they noticed a comfortable spot securely covered by thick woods. The water was calm, like in a mountain lake. “This is a find,” one of the monks exclaimed.

The pride of the people of Nakhodka is the Order of the Red Banner of Labor trade port. Day and night it bustles with activity. Wood, coal, salt, cars, and containers are shipped to ocean ships. From the quays leave ships to countries of all continents. Every day trains with multicolored containers leave the port. They race at the speed of the passenger express. After 10-11 days the containers arrive in Leningrad.

This is the shortest way to ship from Japan to Europe. More than ten million tons of cargo passes per year through the Nakhodka trade port. It is one of the foremost in the country. The development of the productive forces of the Far East and of foreign trade demanded new facilities and an increase in cargo traffic. The XXIV Congress of the CPSU decided: " complete the construction of the first stage of a deep-water port in the Far East in the region of Nakhodka". This new port will be the largest mechanized port in the country, its annual cargo turnover will be more than 30 million tons per year.

Not far from the moorings, in a picturesque area on the shore of the bay, there is a residential settlement spreading for about 30 thousand people. In Nakhodka are active marine fisheries and fishing farms. From here, fleets go to the shores of Alaska, America, Kamchatka, and into the Indian Ocean. They not only fish, but also produce canned food, which are in great demand among the population.

Along with the development of seaports (trading and fishing) in the city, the food industry and building materials industry are being developed. Nakhodka has a large ship repair plant for the fleets. Nakhodka is also an essential oil port in the east of the country. With commissioning of the Nakhodkinskaya oil tank farm, as well as the creation of the Primorsky maritime navigation centre, there is an opportunity to start exporting petroleum products from here.

The growing importance of the Far East in the country's economy predetermines the special role of the city of Nakhodka, which is developing as a large hub of marine and railway transport, as a center of the oil refining industry and the local construction industry.

Nakhodka is full of new buildings. Wherever you look, cranes rise, residential buildings and kindergartens are being built, enterprises are being built, and streets are being asphalted. The city consists of numerous residential districts, separated by small hills and connected with each other by the main central street - Nakhodkinsky Avenue. Each district has its own club or House of Culture, schools, shops, libraries and everyday institutions. There are two hotels for visitors and the construction of the fishermen’s holiday home is being completed.

The further development of the city is being determined along new lines of city planning. It is all being done around the existing seaport, a new export-import port, an oil refinery in the Novolitovsk river valley, and a northern industrial hub that is being created. The architectural-planning structure of the city is determined by five planning zones, each of which is formed on the basis of specific landscape complexes. The buildings in these areas, combined with the unique natural landscape, will give the city a distinctive silhouette and will enrich its external appearance.

Every evening the lights are lit along Kinsky Bay. The lights are denser as the city grows.

The gate of Russia in the Far East is called Nakhodka, which is growing into its own. These gates are always open for those who seek friendship and trade with the Soviet people. The beautiful Nakhodka harbor is waiting for new friends from all over the world to visit.

The Building of the City Committee of the CPSU and City Executive Committee

Fishing Port

View of the Marina and the Port

Bus Station

Lumber Pier

Maritime Station

Sailor's Palace of Culture

A City on the Green Hills

Seaside Shipyard

Here Ends the Trans-Siberian Highway

City Stela



View of the City

Nakhodka - Vladivostok Road

(This post first appeared on the original The Left Chapter blog in July, 2019)



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