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Europe > Eastern Europe > Russia > Russian Far East > Sakhalin > Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky
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Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky (Russian: Алекса́ндровск-Сахали́нский, ah-leek-SAHND-ruvsk suh-khah-LEEN-skee) [1] is a port town on the northwest coast of Sakhalin, on the shores of the Tatar Strait. It was known as Akō (亜港) during Japanese occupation between 1918-1925. It was the first settlement on the island, and for its first 30 or so years was the administrative center of Russian Sakhalin. But it is most famous for once being the short-term home of Anton Chekhov, where he wrote The Sakhalin Island. The penal colony that so horrified the famous author no longer exists, but the town retains its other two roles as a coal mining center and an important port on the island, home to about 12,000.

Get in

There is one daily bus between Tymovsk and Alexandrovsk (leaving 8 o'clock at the time of writing), connecting with the daily overnight train between Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Nogliki which arrives at 7.51; any of the other departures on the railway would require you to overnight in Tymovsk. In the opposite direction there is a daily bus from Alexandrovsk at 17.00, allowing you to return south with the Nogliki – Yuzno-Sakhalinsk train at 21.10. Remember to double check all this before heading out, since schedules change .

  • Bus company (Александровское ПАТП) +7 (42434) 2-1060

Get around

Use your feet, it will do you good, and the town is not that big.


Monument to Chekhov outside the Museum on the main square

The sightseeing capital of the Far East this is not, but there are a few things even beyond the requisite Chekhov Museum. Look for the Three Brothers (Три брата), a set of three monolithic rocks jutting out of the water about 3 km west of the town, as well as the port's lighthouse, just south of the rocks, overlooking the green cliffs.

Other sights include:

  • Chekhov and Sakhalin Museum (Историко-литературный музей «Чехов и Сахалин»), ul. Chekova, 19, +7 424340 7-1245. M-F 9-17. A small collection of materials relevant to Chekhov's time in Sakhalin, in the house where he lived while on the island collecting materials for Sakhalin Island. Foreigners: 5 rubles.
  • Church of the Protection of the Mother of God (Храм Покрова Пресвятой Богородицы), ul. Sovetskaya, +7 424340 0-2176. A large traditional Siberian wooden church with six small, deep blue onion domes, the largest of which contain the a bell taken from the city's lighthouse and contains the inscription, "Alexei Mikhailovich, Grand Prince of all Russia, gave this bell to the Sinozersky Monastery in the presence of Moses, monk of the black cloth in 1651." (Государь и Великий князь Алексей Михайлович всея Руси дал сей колокол в пустынь Синозерскую при строителе черном попе Моисее в 1651г.) How exactly it wound up on the opposite, far eastern edge of the empire from Vologda Oblast remains a mystery.
  • Former Treasury Building (Здание бывшего казначейства). Built in 1880, this wooden log building is nothing short of the oldest on Sakhalin, and now houses various creative workshops.


If you are resourceful, you might also get a local to direct you to the network of tunnels dug by prisoners at the katorga—a major nineteenth century penal camp on the island.


  • Prom Market (ПРОММАРКЕТ), ul. Sovetskaya 23, +7 424340 4-3252. A bit of everything in this store.

Eat & Drink

  • Pearl café (Кафе Жемчужина), ul. Sovetskaya 1a.


  • Hotel Three Brothers (гостиница 'Три брата'), ul. Dzerzhinsky 30, +7 42434 4-2518. The only hotel in town, at the south end of the main square, offers a bed in a double room for 1370 rubles.


  • Post office (Почта России), ul. Sovetskaya 26, +7 42434 4-2240.

Go next

This city travel guide to Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.

 Translation Latin Alphabet.svg  This article is significantly based on work which can be found at The Russian Wikivoyage. A list of authors can be found here.