KAMCHATKA: General information

Kamchatka peninsula is located in Northeast of Asia. From the West it is washed by the Okhotsk sea, from the east – by the Pacific ocean and the Bering sea.

Along with the Peninsula, the Kamchatka Kray occupies the Karaginsky Island and the Komandorskie Islands. The Kamchatka Territory has the area of 464,3 thousand sq km. In the north it borders the Magadan Region and the Chukotka Autonomous District. The administrative center of the Kray is the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, located 11 876 km away from Moscow. The Time Zone difference from Moscow is +8 hours.

The landscape of Kamchatka is mostly mountainous. Koryakskoye Plateau is situated in the northen part of Kamchatka, almost parallel to each other the two mountain ranges Middle and Eastern extend the whole peninsula. Between them the Central Kamchatskaya lowland lies with the Kamcahtka river, the main water artery of the peninsular, running through it.

The western Kamchatka coast (the Okhotsk sea coast) is rather monotonous: the low washed-in shore and forests intermingled with marshes.

The eastern coast (the Pacific Ocean coast) is on the contrary full of contrasts: bays, reefs and rocks alternate with black beaches, stretching for many kilometers.

The topography of the eastern part of Kamchatka has evident signs of volcanic and tectonic activity – this is the area with a belt of active volcanoes, located in some places only 20-30 km from each other. The second volcanic belt passes along the Middle range, but all volcanoes except one are extinct. On the whole, there are 30 active and about 150 extinct volcanoes in Kamchatka. The most active and wonderful one is the Klyuchevskaya Sopka.

The Kamchatskiy Kray was founded on the Kamchatka Peninsula in 2007 in the course of the Kamchatka Region and the Koryak Autonomous

The indigenous population (Itelmen, Even, Koryaks, Aleuts, Chuckchis) were the first settlers on the Kamchatka peninsula. The discovery of the eastern lands by Russians began in the 16-17th centuries. The Russian Cossacks needed only 60 years to explore through the Urals and Siberia up to the Pacific Ocean. F. Popov and S. Dezhnev were the first people who sailed round the Chuckchi peninsula and found a strait between Asia and America. The next investigations of the Far East were continued by V. Atlasov who contributed in joining Kamchatka to the Russian Empire. He first came to settle the area accompanied by 65 Cossacks and 60 Yukagir. The Russian czar Peter the Great signed a decree about the preparation of the first expedition through Siberia to Okhotsk and Kamchatka. There were 3 expeditions in total that helped to explore the Pacific ocean and Kamchatka. In 1740 two ships “St. Peter” and “St. Paul” led by V. Bering and A. Churikov came to Avacha Bay and settled a small town called Petropavlovsk in honor of two Saints – Peter and Paul. In order to settle this newly discovered land Russians were urged to move to Kamchatka with subsidies by the federal government.

Such explorers as Charles Clerk, James Cook and Francis de la Perouse have also been here.
In 1854 the port of Petropavlovsk was attacked by English and French ships. Even though the defense force was small, only 1.000 men, their bravery and extreme heroism won them the war. During and after World War II, Kamchatka began to develop as a military region. Submarine bases and patrols stretched along its borders. This is one of the reasons why Kamchatka was long closed to foreigners and Russians alike. Only in 1990 did it cautiously open its borders. Nowadays it’s a modern city with population over 342,000 people.

The climate of Kamchatka is characterized by a long winter, a short summer, lots of precipitations (up to 1000 mm a year) and high humidity. In the central part of Kamchatka the climate is continental: in the valley of the Kamchatka river winter is frosty, and summer is hot. Along the coastal line the climate is marine. The winter is mild and snowy, spring is long and cold, summer is cool and short, and fall is rather warm. The average daylight duration here is about 4,16 hours. The average temperature during winters is about -25°C, and in summers is +12°C.

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