Kamchatka is without exaggeration one of the most spectacular regions in Russia. It occupies the area of 470,000 sq. km, which equals the size of France, Belgium and Luxembourg combined, and separates the Sea of Okhotsk from the Pacific Ocean. One should not confuse Kamchatka with Siberia; this name is used for the peninsula itself and the closest part of the continent, including Karaginsky Island and the Komandorsky Archipelago. The mountain ridges – Sredinny, Valaginsky, Ganalsky and Kumroch – stretch from the north to the south giving the peninsula the shape of a giant fish. There are more than 160 volcanoes on the peninsula (29 of them are active), due to the fact that it lies on the Great Pacific â€œring of fireâ€. Volcanoes and volcanic peaks, cyclones and underground heat created here a mixture of twenty climate zones and a great variety of flora and fauna. But the main attractions of Kamchatka are volcanic calderas, stone sculpture â€œparksâ€ and lakes in craters, geysers and mineral springs, all in pristine condition.
The Cossack, Vladimir Atlasov, apparently “discovered” Kamchatka in 1697. He built two forts on the Kamchatka River, which became Russian trading camps. The native Koryak, Itelmen, Chukchi and Evens tribes were beaten down by these traders, and their population greatly diminished. Out of the few that remain, the Chukchi live in the northeast, Evens are in the central part of the peninsula and the Koryaks live on the west coast. They still live by traditional reindeer herding and sea fishing, which provide both food and clothing, and still preserve their culture and traditional lifestyles, which is the reason why one of the most remote regions is visited by so many people every year.
The main settlement of the peninsula and the capital of Kamchatka Region is the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The city is located on the southeastern shore of the Kamchatka Peninsula. Petropavlovsk’s streets wind around green volcanic hills where city residents still pick berries and mushrooms. Covered with white snow, the peaks of Koryaksky, Avachinsky and Kozelsky volcanoes rise over them. And there are eternal moorage ribbons going along the Avacha Bay.