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The magic of volcanoes and geysers

Janine Gates |
Many will tell you that Kamchatka is the most beautiful place for enjoying in magnificent geysers, far prettier than Iceland or USA. The lovers of nature call it 'the magic land of volcanoes and geysers'.

Kamchatka is a peninsula at the north-east of Russia bordered by Bering Sea and Sea of Okhotsk of Pacific Ocean and it's interesting that it is situated closer to Japan and US West Coast then to Moscow. However, foreign tourists weren't able to see this beauty until the fall of the USSR, and even today its territory is under army control. Fortunately, now you can come here by plane, there's no other way of getting here, and enjoy the ancient power of volcanoes, hot springs and geysers. Seeing all this natural power you can feel the energy in the air, and the combination of thousands years old volcanoes and very modern earthquakes which happen every year.

The best time to visit Kamchatka is from July to September but remember that climate vary significantly: while it's cold in mountains, it's so warm in sea bays that swimming is very pleasant experience. If you go there keep in mind that that nights are cold even in the summer and you have to be prepared for any weather, no matter what time of the year is. rom July to September the average temperature ranges from 13C to -6C.

Every tourist has his own reason to visit Kamchatka. This peninsula is the true paradise for the fisherman who wants to catch the salmons, for the hunter who wants to see the bears, for the scientist who is searching for the place where he can conduct the unique experiment. Every mountain climber will enjoy in new and undiscovered mountain route, and the "regular tourist" will come here to see volcanoes and geysers.

Kamchatka is the home of 28 active volcanoes, more than 150 sleeping ones, and 200 mineral water springs. Most of the volcanoes, hot springs and geysers are located at the eastern part, and there are 14,000 rivers on the peninsula and 400 glaciers. The fauna and flora of Kamchatka are usual for this climate, but with such richness that can rarely be seen anywhere else.

The wolfs, foxes, brown bears, minks and sables are here for you to take a beautiful photo, and the ocean is full of cods and different types of crabs. One of the best attractions is the many types of the salmon swimming in glorious rivers. A thing to be seen are the giant plants: the areas around volcanoes and hot springs have so many minerals that normal plants grow to become the giant ones.

Since Kamchatka was under exclusive army control, there are not many people here: just 440.000 people of which 360,000 live in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Naturally, most of the people work for the army and others are fishermen in the fishing industry. When Russians came to that far part of the country in 17th century they became dominant very quickly and today just 3,5 percent of the population are natives and they usually live like Russians.

Settle yourself in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, the capital and the only city at the peninsula and the home of the only airport at Kamchatka. So, your starting point is here, at the city which locals call simply "PK". The city is built for a Russian Navy and it develops very slowly. If you take a walk around PK, go through the main street and you will see everything that has to be seen.

Square of Lenin is of course here, in all USSR's cities the main squares were Lenin's, which is now the main place for skaters. At the port there's embankment called Naberezhnaya, around 200 metres long and with restaurant that works 24 hours a day. It's easy to find it: from Square of Lenin go toward the sea. Nikolskaya Sopka is a small hill in the city centre. It offers a beautiful view Avachinskaya bay and to the city from the top of it. If you are at the Square of Lenin look toward the bay and Nikolskaya Sopka is on your left. And when you see all that, pack your bags and go to the country where the real beauty is.

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