Vladivostok has a distinctively hilly terrain. Retaining walls knit the city together and keep it from pitching down steep hills. As a result, retaining walls are one of the main architectural forms and elements of urban construction.
Due to the fact that Vladivostok has a monsoon-influenced climate, these walls decay fast. Local engineers have been working for years on finding a solution on how to make the retaining walls resistant to typhoons and landslides. Yet, the retaining walls don’t attract only the engineers’ attention.
Graffiti artists are taking over the retaining walls and transforming them from faceless gray-concrete into a work of art. “Concrete Jungle” and “33+1” are the most successful art groups in Vladivostok.
Murals usually have a short life in the salty, moist air. This is probably for the better — the city constantly gets “makeovers” due to changing mural art on the retaining walls. Some walls are so long that you can thoroughly study unfolding scenes on the murals while creeping through traffic.
Perhaps the most prominent retaining walls in Vladivostok can be found in the Zarya district, located at the entrance of the city. The district boasts two retaining walls, both built in the Soviet times and made of cobblestone paving with bas-reliefs. The first mural is called “Gifts of the Taiga”, and the second — “Gifts of the Sea”. These murals are real masterpieces. A few years ago, they underwent restoration and were equipped with night lighting.
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