The Russian Far East

407-the-russian-far-eastKamchatka is a peninsula in the Russian Far East and is situated very close to Japan. It was a restricted zone even for the Russians in the 1950s of last century as it had lots of military bases which have still existed. Nowadays it’s an open territory for people who choose to work there and tourists alike. The area is famous for its very unpredictable weather, wild nature, fish, game, marine life, and above all numerous fuming volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and a lake of acid.

The capital city of this mysterious peninsula is Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky at whose entrance there is a monument of two bears and a sign on it saying: Здесь начинается Россия” (“Russia starts here”). The city was named after the two ships (St Peter and St Paul) that were constructed for Vitus Bering’s expedition to Kamchatka in 1740. He was a Danish navigator in the service of the Russian Navy and he is supposed to have been the founder of the city of Petropavlovsk. Later, the Russians added Kamchatsky to the name thus underlying it was a Russian territory.

The peninsula has very few residents who live in the several settlements, some of them being restricted to non-natives and the access to them is granted through special passes. As to the rest of the people, they are the so-called contractors or these are individuals who go there to work on contracts of 5 or 10 years and then they come back to their countries.

As I mentioned in the beginning, Kamchatka attracts more and more tourists nowadays with its wild beauty. A veil of thick clouds and fog hides it but once skies clear you stumble upon a view of numerous volcanoes. Yes, the peninsula is the land of volcanoes around which there’s a constant tangible smell of sulfur and one shouldn’t spend more than 15 minutes around their craters. It is also a land of geysers with extremely high temperatures and the same smell of sulfur.

As to the fauna of Kamchatka, we would say that this territory is really blessed by God. The diversity of wild nature, fish, game, marine life is really huge. It’s an interesting fact that the Kamchatka Brown Bear is the ancestor of the Kodiak bear which resides in Alaska and North America.

In the end, there are two very interesting natural phenomena on the peninsula in the Pacific Ocean. The first one is called the Stone of Wishes and the legend goes like this. Once upon a time there lived a woman who desperately longed for a child. She went to a local shaman who advised her to go to this stone in the ocean and to throw a coin at it. The woman did it and soon after that she got pregnant. Since then it’s been known that this stone makes wishes come true if you go there and throw a coin at it … But the coin should not fall into the water but to stay still on the rock.

The second interesting place again in the ocean is the Three Brothers. The legend says that that there were three brothers who wanted to protect their beloved peninsula from the numerous tsunamis caused by the great number of earthquakes. One day they were turned into three stones arranged close to one another. The latter have been really protecting Kamchatka from big waves (typical also for Japan) ever since.

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