There was a casino here when I visited, but I never actually went inside so I can't really say much about it, but like I said I did noticed that there was a casino there if that is something that interests you...
This monument is to be found in the downtown, close to the harbour, at 100 metres from the Main Post Office.
It commemorates the visit of famous French explorer La Perouse in 1787 during his long around the world journey.
Unfortunately he died some months later in teh Solomon islands.
The island group separate the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. The Kuril Islands were inhabited by the Ainu from time immemorial until they were expelled from the northernmost by the Russians in the 18th century. Japan inherited them in 1875 (Treaty of Saint Petersburg) in exchange for ceding Sakhalin to Russia. Russia reclaimed them after the World War II (Treaty of San Francisco), but Japan maintains a claim to the four southernmost islands, called Northern Territories in Japan. The Kuril Islands form a volcanic island arc as a result of plate tectonics. The Kuril Trench is an oceanic trench that runs about 200 km east of the Kuril Islands. The islands themselves are summits of stratovolcanoes that rise from the seabed.
One can see that one is in the furthest corner of Russia. Since the break up of the Soviet Union little has been done here to change the ‘architecture’ of the fast built socialistic buildings. Some areas I was astonished that actually someone lived in those buildings, and how people survive here during the harsh winter times.
Many trails cover the area of Kamtchatka where one can explore 29 working and about 150 extinct volcanoes, 274 mineral sources, 160 from which are hot, 37 kinds of wild animals, all kinds of a Pacific salmon and rich woods in berry, ramson, the glutton, beavers and otters as well as lynx.
In this valley is a small museum situated that informs about the ecology, nature and the volcanoes as well as the discovery of the region. However most of the information is in Cyril hence a translator is essential if you can’t read Cyrillic letters.
We landed about 90 km inland in a valley that makes out the Nalitchevo Park. The surroundings were volcanoes of more then 4000 meters height. This park can also be reached on foot or skies from Petropavlovsk and is a three to four day hike.
One of the easiest ways to travel into the surrounding areas is by helicopter. We took the services of Kamtchatka Airline. The old Russian military helicopter that was sprayed into civilian colours was flown by three pilots. My believe sitting in the rear of that helicopter was that we were on a Taliban mission in Afghanistan – certainly that is there where the pilots made their experience in flying.
On the way to Petropavlovsk one passes the volcanic island group of the Kurils. The island group that is claimed by both Japan and Russia are almost uninhibited and covered year round by snow.
Living that far away from civilization with very little scope and passing in our local bus I saw this group of locals, a scene that one could easily see elsewhere in the world.
This is a scene that one sees everywhere in the city, high-rise buildings communist style that is home to most of the 90.000 people living here.
Well the west has reached here too as one can see at the Coca Cola advertisement on the mountain hut where one gets drinks and meals.
The close by volcanoes warm up a number of hot springs and lakes in the valley. The outside temperature when we were there was probably 4 Celsius with the water temperature almost 30 Celsius.
Imagine that it is already June and yet outside still meters of snow cover the mountains. Imagine coming here in January?
Flying across the snow covered hills and mountain, away from the coast was spectacular. Sadly on our day the cloud cover was too low and our trip to one of the volcanoes had to be diverted.