The funicular, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, is not only very convenient and indispensable mode of transport for a city with such complicated relief as in Vladivostok, but one of Primorsky Krai's capital's most vivid trademarks. Vladivostok funicular's uniqueness ensured its status of significant sight: it is the only such electric kind of transportation in the Russian Far East and one of the two in the country.
The funicular appeared on the Orlinaya Sopka's slope in 1962, with patronage of the then USSR's ruler Nikita Khrushchev, who was inspired by his visit to the USA and decided to turn Vladivostok into the second San-Francisco. In this way he intended to make it one of the most beautiful and beautified cities of the USSR and the whole world. Although large-scale USSR leader's plans weren't meant to come true in full, the funicular was built in Vladivostok. Today, the same as fifty years ago, it remains city's main wonder: every guest strives to have a ride on the unique car from the mountain slope.
Vladivostok funicular is an inimitable technical construction, too. It consists of two stops at Sopka's upper and lower points and two cars for 40 seats - red and blue - running between them. They move along single track railway, sliding apart at the midway.
Vladivostok funicular's total length is somewhat over 180 meters, and level difference between the lower and upper grounds is 70 meters. A ride takes only two minutes, but that's enough to enjoy mind-boggling views of the downtown area and the picturesque bay Zolotoy Rog. Observation ground on funicular's upper stop offers marvelous panoramic view.
Besides curious tourists, Vladivostok funicular's main passengers are local students. And that is justified by the fact that Far Eastern Federal University's - one of the main higher education facilities in Primorsky Krai - buildings are located near funicular's upper and lower stops.
Prior to funicular's appearance, a steep stairway was built on the Orlinaya Sopka's slope. It significantly shortened the way between mount's top and foot. Local residents give the stairs different nicknames: funicular's stairs, health stairs, and even 1001 stairs (although there are only 368 of them). Today, the stairway is used, when the funicular doesn't operate (i.e. at night) or is under repair.