We first drove to the city of Birobidzhan was the capital of a Jewish state that Stalin wanted to set up. Russian Jews were sent there in the 1930’s and Jews from other countries joined in. It never got seriously off the ground and once the boarders were opened up in the 1990’s a lot of them left to Israel. The city has a few building reminding of that period. Most were closed but I was lucky to be allowed into the synagogue where a teaching session just had completed. The town is prosperous given the large number of relatively new large buildings.
The remainder of the 2140 km Amur highway to Khabarovsk went smooth. We slowly descended into the Amur River valley (39 m). The land was very swampy. The town centre is 60 m above the Amur built on the upper bank of a large river bend. The river must be over 1 km wide. The main shopping street, which also has several 100 y old buildings is built on a ridge. At one end it sloops down into the Amur. Along the river shore there is a small stretch of beach, which you look down on from the above city centre park. Having given the priority to find a Wifi spot so Jamaliah could Skype home for Hari Raya, we were too late for the city museum. We parked the car on one of the small residential side streets and will drop in there tomorrow morning before leaving town.