The Kamchatka Territory was founded on the Kamchatka Peninsula in 2007 in the course of the Kamchatka Region and the Koryak Autonomous District merging. Along with the Peninsula, the Kamchatka Territory occupies the Karaginsky Island and the Komandorskie Islands. The Kamchatka Territory has the area of 473.2 thousand sq km. In the north it borders the Magadan Region and the Chukotka Autonomous District. As of 2009 the population of the region is 343,539 inhabitants, 196 thousand persons are residents of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski urban district. In total, the Territory has 3 towns, 29 urban settlements and 56 villages.
The administrative center of the Territory is the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski, located 7,846 km away from Moscow (straight-line distance). The Time Zone difference from Moscow is +9 hours. The city was founded during wintering of the second Kamchatka expedition of Bering and Chirikov (1733-1743). Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski is the oldest town of Russian Far East.
The climate on the peninsula and the islands is severe with long and frosty winters (average temperature —25°C), and short, chilly and rainy summers (average temperature +12°C).
The nature of the Kamchatka Territory is amazing with diversity: mountain ridges with glaciers, hills, forest-tundra, taiga, and permafrost areas. In order to keep the natural diversity, dozens of reserves have been arranged. There are also partial reserves (the Karaginsky Island, the Moroshechnaya river, the Belaya river and others) and many natural monuments such as the Valley of Geysers, the Palanskie geothermal springs, Anastasia Bay, the Manchoo Island, a hemlock forest, amethysts of the Shamanka River. The major treasury of the Region is its nature. It no doubt attracts amateurs of hunting, fishing, and ecological tourism. Kamchatka is also worth visiting to improve health. Its wonderful ecology is perfectly combined with natural mineral sources, such as the Chistinsky Narzany.
Two largest nature reserves are called Koryaksky and Kronotsky. The Koryaksky Reserve was founded in 1995. Its area is 32,715 ha; one third is the aquatic area of the Sea of Okhotsk. 35 species of animals inhabit this nature reserve.
In contrast to the Koryaksky reserve, the Kronotsky reserve is one of the oldest in Russia reserves. It was founded in the place of the Soboliny partial reserve, existing since 1992. It’s the only place where wild reindeers still live. 12 active volcanoes and a famous dead volcano Uzon are located here. The ring-shaped neck of the volcano Uzon is about 10 km in diameter. It’s a unique area of complex geological and microbiological processes, a habitat of rare thermophilic bacteria.
The Kronotskoe Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Kamchatka. A fresh-water form of red salmon (kokani) and three endemic species of mountain charr inhabit the lake. This unique eco-system may serve a reference model for monitoring surveys. The nature reserve is open for tourists.
The Valley of Geysers — the volcano canyon of about 2 km width and slightly over 4 km length — is one of the best attractions of the Kronotsky Reserve. About 20 large geysers and many springs intermittently spouting fountains of hot water (water temperature is higher than 95°С) or steam are located in this area. Some geysers spout fountains every 10-12 minutes, some – once per 4-5 hours. Since 1993 the reserve is open for tourists. Experienced travelers say that the safe place in the Valley of Geysers can be distinguished by growing wormwood. Wormwood grows in the place where there is neither overheated water nor other nuisances.
The national park “Nalychevo» founded in 1995 is also worth visiting. The park’s area is 287,155 ha. All especially precious monuments of nature which have to be protected are located in this park. The park has a picturesque mountain, tundra and marine landscapes. Active volcanoes are the centers of mighty present-day glacier icing; cirque glacier is developing in the necks of dead volcanoes. There are several thermal springs (water temperature from 14°С to 75°С) and cold mineral springs in the headwaters of the Nalycheva River in the area of 40 km. Water from the largest Nalycheva hot springs belongs to the rarest type “carbon dioxide, arsenious, boric, and enriched in micro-components”. There are only a few reservoirs of this kind of water in the world. Tourists get to this park by helicopter.
Another large national park is called Bystrinsky. It represents 1,325,000 ha virgin nature. Local attractions include colossal landscapes of the Middle ridge, taiga forests, abundant fauna and the traditional way of the indigenous peoples’ life. The original culture of indigenous small peoples is preserved and developed in villages Esso and Anavgay. In these villages tourists can enjoy participating in traditional holidays: the Day of First Fish in June, the Day of Aboriginal in August, the Day of Harvest in September, as well as admire performances of traditional folk collectives. There is an Ethnographic Museum in village Esso, which displays unique comfort and culture items of Kamchatka aboriginals. National souvenirs are also sold in this museum. Since 1990 traditional dogsledge race “Beringia” has been held in the Bystrinsky Park. This race was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records in 1991 for the Esso-Markovo route (Chukotka) length totaling 1,980 km.
Amateurs of fishing and rafting will enjoy river routes of various complexity and length. The Opala River (second/third rank of complexity) is rich in fish (silver salmons, white-spotted charrs, Siberian salmons, humpback salmons, charrs), attracting wild animals to come to the river — you will see them during fishing. Tourists get to the river and back by helicopter. Fishing with rafting on 16-18 sq ft rafts (rubber rafts). The season for fishing from rafts and river banks lasts from July till October. If you want to combine the river and sea fishing, you can go to the Asacha River (from August 15th till September 15th). This river is located in the south-east of Kamchatka, starts from the spurs of the Asach Volcano and runs into the Pacific Ocean. You will get to the river by helicopter. In the end of the river rafting route, fishermen change a raft for a motor boat and go fishing in the sea.
From April to May Tourism Days are held in the Kamchatka Territory. In September-October specialists can visit the Russian Conference “Kamchatka is the health-center of Russian North Eastern Regions”.
In September-October tourists are attracted by Itelmen Holiday «Alkhalalalay» in the stylized village Pimchakh. This holiday is held in Sosnovka village of the Elizovsky municipal district.
For more detailed information on the Territory, please refer to Internet resources of governmental authorities of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation.