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The Valley of the Geysers
Kamchatka's Valley of the Geysers is the peninsula's most popular tourist destination; this valley is located on the territory of the Kronotsky Nature Preserve, in a hard to reach area near the peninsula's eastern shore.
You find yourself in a fairy-tale setting of billowing steam clouds, unusual smells, as well as brilliantly colored rocks of the grottos formed by geyserites, a mineral that crystallizes from boiling water; all of this is surrounded by the striking green of grasses and trees.
In comparison to the Yellowstone National Park in the United States, visited by 3 million people annually, Kamchatka's Valley of the Geysers is much smaller and its environment is more fragile. Here all of nature's wonder-work happens within the area of 2-3 sq. km (about 1 sq. mile), along the 8 km (5 mile) long Geyserny stream. That is why only 2,000 tourists per year, all in organized groups, are allowed here. The valley is about an hour's flight from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky by helicopter.
On June 3, 2007 a natural disaster occurred in the Geysers Valley. Heavy mud-and-stone flow resulted in blocking local river Geyzernaya by a huge barrage and creating a considerable lake. However tourists became even more attracted to this unique nature sight. Thanks to natural processes and EMERCOM's efforts obstructions had been cleared away, geysers started to operate and even some new ones were discovered. Tourist infrastructure of the Geysers Volley is now fully restored and admittance to the sight has been resumed.