Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sakhalin...reaching Russia

The upcoming posts are the continuation of the expedition on the Caledonian Sky - I left off as we sailed from Japan. We arrived next in the Kuril Islands of the Russian Far East.

Arriving at the port of Korsakov on Russia's largest island Sakhalin. It was early morning and no further pictures were permitted in the port as we sidled up to the dock. We were immediately initiated into the world of Russian military security. Immigration came aboard and prepared us for clearance to enter Russia. 

Sakhalin, just north of Japan, has been the source of bitter disputes between the two countries regarding control of the island. Russia seized control from the Japanese near the end of WW2. Most of the indigenous Ainu people were relocated to Hokkaido when the Japanese were displaced from the island in 1949. 

Once aboard our tour bus we headed out into the 
countryside passing somewhat dreary-looking apartment 
buildings and what appeared to be long rows 
of storage facilities. 

The weather was good, warm and sunny, but there were 
not many people around early. 
Did see these two painters sprucing up the concrete walls.

In the towns Russian advertising is bold and colorful....

.......and often quite surprising - but Fred and Ginger look good in any country!

As we reached the countryside color was transferred to the wooden dachas, country houses surrounded by small vegetable plots. With snow not long gone, the trees were only just beginning to show tinges of green. 
The history of the dacha is very interesting and you can read more HERE.

Arriving in the capital, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, we visited the exquisite Orthodox Wooden Church.

Young mother and son headed to the church.........

.....older, more traditional Russian woman leaving the church.

Above, the cooler stone Summer chapel of the church.

Interior of the church with beautiful paintings and icons.

Next stop in the town was at the beautiful Cathedral of 
the Resurrection of the Christ.............

This woman was diligently cleaning up the drips of 
candle wax.

Following these interesting churches, we were taken to Central Park where we enjoyed our box lunch prepared by the ship's chef. While there we were treated to a traditional performance, details in the next post.


  1. I guess you got to see a bit of everything in this place. It looks very tired and worn doesn't it. The church with the turquoise and gold certainly brightens the cityscape!

  2. It's good that the excursion covered both good and bad, it always concerns me though that the churches have such riches and the people seem to scrape by...
    Lots of love
    Rose H

  3. The first sights could be depressing, but as you traveled along things became more beautiful. The church is especially lovely.

  4. I am glad that you saw two faces of this area. Sometimes we get swept along on the tourist trail that just doesn't reflect the country properly. Wonderful shots as usual and a real geography lesson. x

  5. At first it all looked so sad and neglected, but as you traveled things were surely looking up!


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