The area around Dalian has a chequered colonial history in recent times.
The area was occupied by the British in 1858, and was named Prince Arthur, after one of Queen Victoria's sons. It returned to the Chinese in the 1880s, and then occupied by Japan in 1895 during the first Sino-Japanese War. Japan's intention to lease Port Arthur and its surrounding areas, led to Tripartite Intervention by France, Germany and Russia. In 1898 the Russian Empire leased the peninsula from the Qing Dynasty, and a modern city was laid out with the name of Dalny.
Both Dalny and Port Arthur were developed and heavily fortified by the Russians. However the peninsula fell to the Japanese with the siege of Port Arthur on January 2, 1905. Port Arthur was then conceded to Japan.
With the surrender of Japan in August 1945, Dalian, passed to the Soviets, who had liberated the city and they governed it until 1950. During this period the Soviets and Chinese Communists cooperated in the further development of the city.
In 1950, the USSR presented Dalian to the Chinese Communist government without any compensation. Soviet troops left in 1955. After the departure of the Soviets, China made Dalian into a major shipbuilding center.
The result today is that Dalian is a fairly nondescript industrial boom town, but has a small "Russian quarter" with a few Russian buildings and a stack of souvenir stalls selling Russian dolls.
Typical of the stalls and the dolls..perhaps a few dozen of them. The Russian buildings have been restored for two-thirds of the length of the street, but if you take the trouble to walk to the end, it is pretty run down. We tried vainly to find the "Japanese quarter" which was marked on the tourist maps, but it did not seem to exist.
Zhongshan Square is the centre of the modern city, and most roads radiate from this striking circular "square". Leaving Dalian, the ship left Chinese waters and our next stop was Cheju in South Korea.
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