Sunday, April 18, 2010
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy (Russian: Петропа́вловск-Камча́тский) is the main
city and the administrative, industrial, scientific, and cultural center of
Kamchatka Krai (Russia). Population: 198,028 (2002 Census); 268,747 (1989
The city is situated on high hills and surrounded by volcanoes. In fact, the
horizon cannot be seen clearly from any point of town as volcanoes and
mountains are everywhere. Across Avacha Bay from the city is Russia's
largest submarine base, the Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base, (location and
satellite photos: 52°55′N 158°29′E) established during Soviet times and
still used by the Russian Navy. The city is located 6766 km (4204 miles)
from Moscow, taking about 9 hours for direct flight.
Petropavlovsk was founded by Danish navigator in the service of the Russian
Navy Vitus Bering. Bering reached Avacha Bay on July 10, 1740 and laid the
foundation stone for the harbor town, naming the new settlement
Petropavlovsk" (Peter + Paul) after his two ships, the St. Peter and the St.
Paul, built in Okhotsk for his second expedition. The town's location on the
sheltered Avacha Bay and at the mouth of the Avacha River saw it develop to
become the most important settlement in Kamchatka.
During the 1854–1855 Crimean War, the city was put under siege by the
Anglo-French forces, but never fell. The city had been fortified under the
command of Nikolay Muravyov-Amursky in the years previous, but only
possessed a small garrison of a few hundred soldiers and 67 cannons. After
much exchange of fire, 600 allied troops landed south of the city, but were
forced to retreat by only 230 Russian troops after heavy fighting. One week
later, 900 allied troops landed east of the town, but were again repelled by
the Russians. The allied ships then retreated from Russian waters. The total
Russian losses were reported at around 100 men, those of the allies at least
five times that number.
Petropavlovsk was a great source of fish, particularly salmon, and crab meat
for the Soviet Union in the 20th century. Since the end of the Soviet era
fishing rights have also been granted to foreign interests.
The city has developed a tourist infrastructure. About twenty large tourism
companies offer a wide range of services from bear hunting to paragliding.
No roads connect the Kamchatka Peninsula to the rest of the world.
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy is the second largest city in the world that
cannot be reached by road after Iquitos, Peru. Travel to
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy is expensive but is growing in popularity because
of the remarkable scenery throughout the peninsula. The city is served by