Kamchatka PeninsulaKamchatka is a part of the Pacific volcanic belt. With its 28 active and 160 dormant volcanoes predetermining the unique scenery, the peninsula has no rivals in Russia and only few ones in the world. It is a combination of Mars-like lava-field landscapes and hot mineral springs, fumaroles and geysers, awesome cones of fire-spitting mountains and lakes in huge round caldera basins formed by volcanic blasts. Kamchatka is one of the world’s few regions, where the nature has almost preserved its pristine wilderness, and where having climbed a volcano you may see the world as it used to be hundreds of years ago. Here in late summer swift rivers are churning because of the spawning salmon, and here also one can encounter life amongst the snows and absolute emptiness in summer time. The tundra berrying grounds stretch for kilometers; the berries’ size and abundance are really astonishing, but what impresses even more is a view of bears browsing in the tundra.
Many imagine this place as an unreachable edge of the Earth, as a land of volcanoes,
snowstorms and tsunami waves, and as a mysterious country with winter lasts
for 8 months out of the year while summer is barely 2 months.
Kamchatka is located in the north-east of Russia, north of Japan and south
of Alaska, between the sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean. Kamchatka is 9
time zones away from Moscow and 12 time zones away from Greenwich. Kamchatka
is the first to see the morning of each day. The peninsula territory is comparable
in size to France: 1600 km (994 miles) from north to south and 450 km (280 miles)
from east to west. A 130 km (81 miles) isthmus connects the peninsula to the
Asian continent. There are very few roads across Kamchatka: most people travel
by helicopter or boat.
Kamchatka is one of the regions where natural environments have remained wild
and untouched. The UNESCO Natural Heritage List includes 6 separate territories
sharing a common name of "Kamchatka's Volcanoes." Protected nature
sanctuaries take up about 1/3 of the peninsula's territory.
The 20th century made Kamchatka culturally closer to both Europe and America,
but not more accessible for travelers. The mysterious peninsula was taken up
by military bases and became one of the most tightly-guarded regions of the
former Soviet Union. Until 1991 no foreign notional was allowed and even Russian
citizens needed a special pass.
Today Kamchatka is open to everyone, be it a scientist or a tourist. Everyone
welcome to experience the power if Kamchatka beauty. Some people travel
here to reach their next mountain summit, some want to fish or hunt to their
heart's content, some dream of skiing on the s volcanoes, some want to test
themselves rafting down the mountain rivers. A lot of tourists come to see the
world's largest bears — the Kamchatka bears; others come to delight in
the rare flowers and birds. And some simply come here to rejuvenate, rest, and
be surrounded by nature that is wild and untouched.
There are numerous beautiful and fascinating places to visit; the impressive
of them are the volcanoes. There are about 300 dormant and active volcanoes
on the peninsular and about 2500 extinct ones. Close to 30 volcanoes are currently
active; the Klyuchevskoy Volcano (4750 meters or 15, feet toll) is the peninsula's
Kamchatka features numerous hot and cold water springs with there tic mineral
waters. Paratunka is the area most famous for many resorts, and lodges that
are built right next to the thermal water springs. Thousands people come here
seeking rest and spa-treatments, as well as to swim in the open-air swimming
pools filled with steaming hot waters of the springs.
Kamchatka's ethnographic tourism is very well developed: you will be given
an opportunity to meet the native peoples, visit an Itelmen village or an Evens
grazing field. Fishing with a spinning or fly-fishing is allowed on most of
the region's rivers. There are about 4000 rivers here; the longest one of them,
the Kamchatka River, is 700 km (435 miles) long. Some of the favorite fishing
trophies are the rainbow trout and all species of Pacific Salmon. Helicopter
trips, horse-back riding, rafting, dog- and reindeer-sleighing are exotic and
Kamchatka's best known and most commonly visited tourist destination are the
Valley of the Geysers, the Avachinskaya Bay, Paratunka, the Kurt Lake, Nalychevsky
Nature Preserve, and the Uzon Caldera. This places are reachable
by helicopter. However, travelers must always beware of the capricious local
climate. Mountain ranges next to the ocean trigger the most unpredictable weather
events: fog, downpours.
No eloquence, no comparisons, no figures can possibly describe Kamchatka's
unique natural beauty and diversity. You most come and see it for yourself:
to understand Kamchatka is to fall in love with it.