A land of volcanos on the Far East of Russia
A few interesting facts about majestic Kamchatka
New Enjoy Russian School’s project COLORFUL RUSSIA is about to start on 25 of March. This project is about learning Russian in different cities and places which help foreigners to reveal our country in all its aspects. Sochi, Kazan, Baikal… Who knows, maybe someday we will go to Kamchatka. In this interview, our guest Ekaterina shares a few interesting facts about this majestic place and her experience of living on a remote peninsula.
“I didn’t have a big dream to move to Kamchatka, but I was very curious to see what volcanoes and geysers look like”
I moved here for family reasons in 2017. Since I moved here, I have met many people who moved to Kamchatka from different parts of Russia. Everyone did it for a different reason – some for work, others come to make their dream come true.
- Kamchatka was originally inhabited by the indigenous peoples, the Koryaks, the Ainus, and the Itelmens. In the 17th century, during the settlement of Siberia and the Far East, the Cossacks were the first to occupy this territory. They lived very peacefully together with the indigenous peoples and shared many activities.
- Kamchatka is 10th largest region of the Russian Federation. The capital city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is an 8 hours flight from Moscow. The population is around 160,000 people, with more than a third of the population living in the regional capital city. You can only get there by plane or by sea. There is no railway on the peninsula.
- The average temperature in winter is – 10 – 15 C, but there is a lot of snow. There have even been cases when you wake up in the morning, and cars are not visible and all owners help each other to find their cars. Such living conditions bring people very close together and everyone is always ready to help others.
When I first got to Kamchatka, I was very surprised. The airport, buildings, streets – very reminiscent of the Soviet era of 70-80s, but as soon as you see the majestic volcanoes, you realize that you will not see such beauty anywhere else.
There are only two options: either you fall in love with this land or you remain in excitement.
Life in Kamchatka is different from life on the mainland of Russia
There are local businesses that fully meet the needs of the population, such as meat, dairy, and fish industries. All products are environmentally friendly.
Due to a very short summer, the region cannot grow enough vegetables, fruits, thus, there is a need to import, which affects the cost of goods for the consumers.
I was surprised by the fact when I just arrived (it was May and everywhere in Russia was already summer in full swing) when talking with colleagues, one girl boasted that she bought a new summer down jacket! I could not understand for a few minutes how a down jacket can be summer if it is special outerwear for a cold winter. After a month on the peninsula, I realized what she was talking about. This is a jacket, which is usually worn in the offseason, in Kamchatka, a summer down jacket. So very soon I bought myself one!
Kamchatka: what do Russians do in their free time?
- Head to the hot springs: In the beginning of May, when there is still snow everywhere, there is green grass near hot natural sources and flowers are blooming. Therefore, many people like to spend time here.
- If you are visiting the region in July-September, make sure you see at least one of the volcanoes. Here, the usual campaign for berries or mushrooms turns into an exciting adventure with great probability to meet a bear! This is not a joke, it would seem necessary to prepare for an ordinary hike and take all precautions. The presence of special signal repelling missiles and dogs is a must! Of course, you can do without, but the risks are really high.
- You probably ask about the presence of beaches and the swimming season in Kamchatka? You can swim all year round but only in hot springs…The summer is too short so the ocean does not warm up.
- Stand-up paddleboarding is becoming very popular in Kamchatka. There is a beautiful walk around the bay, where you can see old abandoned military ships.
- Kamchatka is one of the few places where you can go snowboarding or skiing off the beaten path. These are so called “wild places”, most often volcanoes, which are very tempting for professionals. Heli-skiing (off-trail, downhill skiing or snowboarding reached by helicopter, instead of a ski lift) is becoming more and more popular among foreign tourists, but this is only for professionals.
- Another popular winter sport is dog sledding. Historically, on the peninsula only deer and dogs were the means of transportation. Only in the 1950s, modern transport began to replace sleds. A dog sled race called Berengia is held annually. The event has a status of international competitions. In 2018, the race made it to the Guinness Book of Records, the participants started from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and finished in Chukotka. Supporters watch only the start of the race, as the race takes place in a snowstorm and impassable terrain and lasts for several weeks. The race of Berengia is a very important event for the residents of Kamchatka.