Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky (Александровск-Сахалинский) 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, and is considered the oldest settlement on the island, but it most famous for once being the short-term home of Anton Chekhov, where he wrote The Sakhalin Island. Today around 12,000 people live here, and it's still an important port.
There are 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 Nogilki 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, allowing you to return south with the Nogilki - Yuzno-Sakhalinsk train at 21.10. Remember to double check all this before heading out, since schedules change
- Bus company (Александровско ПАТП) +7 (42434) 2-1060
You may officially need a permit to enter the city, but the local government can't really seem to decide one way or the other, so check up on this in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk before heading out.
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.
- Bakery (Хлебокомбина), ul Kirov 59, ☎ +7 (424340) 4-2548.
- 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.
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