THE KURIL ISLANDS ARE A UNIQUE WORLD with fire-breathing volcanoes and icy ocean depths, hot mineral springs and chilly mountain rivers, thickets of mountain pine and Kuril bamboo… Everyone from European Russia dreams of visiting at least one of the regions of the Russian Far East to see with their own eyes the otherworldly landscapes and wealth of flora and fauna, and to try the local delicacies.
Photo: Kirill Voloshin
Territorial Promotion Director of the AGT Communications Agency:
The Far Eastern Federal District, which is about the same size as Australia, also resembles that country in the diversity of its natural wonders. The district’s territory is home to four nature reserves on the UNESCO World Heritage list: the Volcanoes of Kamchatka, the Lena Pillars in Yakutia, the Bikin River Valley in Primorye, and Wrangel Island in the north of Chukotka.
The federal district holds a number of world records: the famous “Pole of Cold” in Yakutia; Klyuchevskaya Sopka, which is the highest active volcano in Eurasia; and the Trans-Siberian Railway, the longest railway in the world. For Europeans, the railway journey begins in Moscow, and for Asia-Pacific residents— in Vladivostok, which, by the way, was included in National Geographic’s Top 10 Oceanfront Cities worldwide.
Every region has its own traditional holidays, culinary festivals, and fabulous hunting and fishing opportunities. In the past decade, almost all of the Far East territories have acquired their own first-class ski resorts: Gorny Vozdukh [“Mountain Air”] in Sakhalin, Kholdomi in Khabarovsk Territory, Aldan in Yakutia, Gora Moroznaya [“Frost Mountain”] in Kamchatka, and Snegorka in Magadan Region. Finally, the Far East has preserved perhaps the largest areas of pristine wilderness, comprising millions of square metres of natural beauty.
In Khabarovsk Territory and Primorye, you can see colonies of birds and breeding grounds of sea animals all along the coast, and watch lotus flowers bloom. Vladivostok’s huge oceanarium, and Orto Doidu Zoo, the Bisonarium and the Living Gems of Yakutia nature reserve in the Sakha Republic. Seals, fur seals, and Stella sea lions will accompany tour boats in Avacha Bay in Kamchatka. An incredible opportunity to photograph bears from just three meters away awaits visitors as they fish for sockeye salmon at Kurilskoye Lake. All these wonders are brought together in a single grand tour itinerary entitled the Eastern Ring of Russia.