July 01, 2015


Far, far away from central Russia, in the vicinity of Japan, China, and Korea, there is a narrow bay that the Chinese called Sea Cucumber Bay and the English, who stopped by briefly in the nineteenth century, named Port May.

In 1859, Nikolai Muravyov-Amursky, the governor general of Eastern Siberia, surveyed this stretch of coast from his corvette and ordered that the bay be assigned the name Golden Horn (Золотой Рог). The following summer, Russia established a military outpost on the bay and called it Vladivostok.

Muravyov had his reasons for choosing these particular names. He claimed that the bay reminded him of the Golden Horn inlet in Istanbul, but in fact, the two bear little resemblance to one another. The nearby strait that wound up being dubbed the Eastern Bosporus has even less in common with the better-known channel that divides Europe and Asia.

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