Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city, Russia

The capital city of Kamchatka krai.

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky - Overview

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (also spelled as Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy) is a city located in Asia, in the Far East in Russia, in the southeastern part of the Kamchatka Peninsula, on the shores of the Avacha Bay of the Pacific Ocean. It is the administrative center of Kamchatka Krai.

The population of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is about 181,300 (2022), the area - 400 sq. km.

The phone codes - +7 415, +7 4152, the postal codes - 683000-683049.

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city flag

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city flag

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city coat of arms

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city coat of arms

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city map, Russia

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city map of Russia

History of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Foundation of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Russian Cossacks discovered Kamchatka in the middle of the 17th century. This territory became part of Russia in 1697. A permanent Russian settlement appeared on the shores of Avacha Bay only in 1740, when navigator Ivan Elagin chose the small Niakina Bay there for the winter anchorage of the ships of Vitus Bering’s forthcoming Second Kamchatka Expedition.

Back in St. Petersburg, Vitus Bering drew attention to the convenient location of Avacha Bay for starting an expedition to the western shores of America. Therefore, he sent Ivan Elagin here to make sure that the place was suitable. With a small team, he built several residential and warehouse buildings on the shore - the first buildings of the future Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

The name of the new settlement was given by Vitus Bering, when on October 17, 1740, he arrived in Avacha Bay on the ships “St. Peter” and “St. Paul”. This day is considered to be the birthday of the city. In honor of the saints whose names the ships bore, he named Niakina Bay the harbor of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and the expeditionary settlement soon became known as Peter and Paul Harbor or Peter and Paul Port (Petropavlovsky port in Russian).

Interest in the Far East reappeared in the Russian Empire only at the end of the 18th century, when the British and French expeditions began to explore the Pacific Ocean. In April 1779, the British ships of the James Cook expedition visited Petropavlovsky harbor, and in August 1787, it was done by the French ships of the La Perouse expedition. Immediately after the British expedition, the garrison in Petropavlovsky harbor was increased numerically. The administrative center of Kamchatka was moved here a little later.

More Historical Facts…

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the 19th century

In July 1804, the frigate “Nadezhda” under the command of I.F. Kruzenshtern arrived in Petropavlovsky port. One of the team members was Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff, MD from Copenhagen. Langsdorff’s handwritten notes about his stay on the peninsula were handed over to Emperor Alexander I. After it, a special committee was formed to organize the development of Kamchatka.

In April 1812, Emperor Alexander I approved the regulation “On the transformation of the military and civilian life in Kamchatka”. According to it, Petropavlovsky harbor became the administrative center of Kamchatka. The settlement received the status of a town.

In 1851, there were 116 wooden houses in the town. At the very end of the bay, directly on the shore, there were buildings of the naval department: a guardhouse, several shops, a bakery, and several small workshops. According to the 1852 census, the population of Petropavlovsk was 1,594 people.

In 1850-1855, the only Russian naval base in the Pacific Ocean at that time was located in Petropavlovsk. During the Crimean War (1853-1856), its small military garrison under the leadership of General Vasily Zavoiko, the governor of the Kamchatka region, repulsed the landing made by the Anglo-French squadron that tried to capture Petropavlovsk in August 1854. This became one of the main events in the history of the town.

With the end of the Crimean War, Nikolaevsk-on-Amur became the main Russian port in the Far East, and since 1871 - Vladivostok. In 1867, Russia sold Alaska and the Aleutian Islands to the United States; with this the Russian-American company ceased its activity. Petropavlovsk found itself aloof from sea trade routes and began to decline.

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the 20th century and beyond

After the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), the Russian government again turned its attention to Kamchatka, which was in serious danger of economic seizure by the Japanese. On June 17, 1909, Kamchatka Oblast was formed. In 1913, the town’s coat of arms was approved. The current coat of arms of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky repeats it. The population of Petropavlovsk was 1,690 people.

In 1924, the town was renamed Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to distinguish it from the city of Petropavlovsk located in Kazakhstan. In 1932, the Kamchatka Branch of the Pacific Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography was organized here. In 1933, the first professional theater was opened. In the 1930s, the borders of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky expanded significantly. In 1939, its population was 35,373 people.

By 1956, the population increased to 58,000 people. In 1958, the first higher educational institution in Kamchatka was officially opened - Kamchatka Pedagogical Institute. In 1960, the population exceeded 100,000 people, in 1975 - 200,000 people.

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky began to be built up intensively and more or less modernly in the 1960s. Numerous Russian innovations in construction technology originated here, and then spread throughout the country. Because of its location in the seismic zone, special technologies were developed for its construction.

In the early 1990s, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky reached its present borders. The population of the city peaked in 1991-1992 - 273 thousand people. After that, it began to decrease rapidly, more than 30% in 30 years. On November 3, 2011, it was awarded the honorary title “City of Military Glory”.

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky views

Avacha Bay in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Avacha Bay in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Author: Natalie Fed

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky cityscape

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky cityscape

Author: Natalie Fed

Apartment buildings in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Apartment buildings in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Author: Skorduli S.V.

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky - Features

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is one of the oldest cities in the Russian Far East. The eastern coast of Kamchatka, along with the Kuril Islands and Japan, is the most seismically active place on Earth. The volcanoes closest to the city, called “home” volcanoes, are lined up in one ridge. There are three of them: Kozelsky Volcano (2,189 m), Avachinskaya Sopka (2,741 m) and Koryakskaya Sopka (3,456 m). These three volcanoes are symbolically depicted on the coat of arms of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

The city lies at the same latitude as Samara, Penza, Bryansk, as well as Manchester (England) and Dublin (Ireland). However, its climate is noticeably harsher than at similar latitudes in Western Europe, and cooler than in the European part of Russia. The climate of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is moderate and has features of the sea and monsoon climates. The average temperature in January is minus 7 degrees Celsius, in August - plus 13.4 degrees Celsius.

Summer in Kamchatka is, first of all, accessibility of roads. There is asphalt only in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, in neighboring Yelizovo, and a few kilometers around. In the rest of the peninsula, the roads are unpaved, in the snowy off-season they are quite dangerous. If you don’t plan to constantly fly by helicopter or go on multi-day hikes on horseback or on foot, then it is better to choose the period from June to October, when you can reach a lot of Kamchatka’s places of interest by off-road vehicles.

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is connected with other cities of Russia by air and sea communication. There are no railways in the city, as well as throughout Kamchatka. Elizovo International Airport, located about 30 kilometers from the city, offers regular flights to Anadyr, Vladivostok, Irkutsk, Magadan, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Khabarovsk, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

The seaport of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky handles various cargoes, including fish products, timber and lumber, ore concentrate, grain cargo, cement, containers, vehicles and equipment, salt, metals, coal, etc. Grain, cement, and refrigerated cargo prevail among imports. As the Northern Sea Route develops, it is planned that the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky port will become one of its bases.

Fishing and processing of fish is the main branch of the economy of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The mining industry is also developing (gold, nickel, platinum, silver). Tourism is beginning to play one of the most important roles in the city’s economy; numerous travel companies offer a lot of routes to hot springs, volcanoes, helicopter excursions to the famous Valley of Geysers and the Uzon volcano caldera, horseback riding, as well as boat trips, river rafting, and fishing.

In Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky you can buy such souvenirs as carved wood and bone products (mammoth tusk, walrus tusk, whalebone, horns of a bighorn ram and elk), fur and leather garments, all kinds of images of totem animals, charms and amulets, traditional hats and costumes, tambourines, etc.

Main Attractions of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

The “Home” Volcanoes - five volcanoes lined up about 25 km from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky: Avachinsky, Arik, Koryaksky, Kozelsky, Aag. Koryaksky and Avachinsky are active volcanoes. Alpine skiers and snowboarders ride here until mid-summer, and climbers conquer these slopes all season.

Climbing routes are especially popular on the extinct volcano of Kozelsky, which is distinguished by its gorgeous ice sheet and scattering of slag on steep cliffs. Climbing Avachinsky Sopka will take from 4 to 8 hours. The last eruption was in 1991. Today, you can see a fantastic landscape with frozen lava and red volcanic tuff here.

Mishennaya Sopka. One of the best observation decks in Kamchatka is located here. It’s easy to get to the top. Tourists and locals often have picnics here. From a height of 381 m, you can take great pictures of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and surroundings. The “home” volcanoes, sunrises and sunsets are especially beautiful from here. In summer, you can fly paragliding. The ski run is open in winter.

Avacha Bay - a large non-freezing bay of the Pacific Ocean off the southeastern coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, the main transport gateway to Kamchatka Krai. Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is the main port serving fishing and cargo ships. The ships of the Russian Pacific Fleet are based here.

At the entrance to the bay, at a distance of about 300 meters from the coast, there are three rocks called Three Brothers. There is a legend about them. Allegedly, the defenders-brothers saved the bay from a huge wave, and after their feat they turned to stone.

An excellent panorama of Avacha Bay opens from Nikolskaya Sopka - a 108-meter-high natural monument located close to the historic center of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, a popular place for recreation and educational walks among tourists and locals. During the Crimean War (1853-1856), fierce fighting took place here. There are a lot of historical monuments dedicated to the heroic actions of the defenders of Petropavlovsk in 1854.

Khalaktyrsky Beach. This 30 km long beach area located on the Pacific Ocean coast not far from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is famous for its unique black sand of volcanic origin. Near the beach there are walking paths covered with wooden flooring, a cafe, a souvenir shop. There are sports grounds for football, volleyball, golf. The water warms up to a maximum of +15 degrees Celsius, therefore only a few dare to swim. You can sunbathe on especially hot days. The rising waves and winds are ideal for windsurfing.

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Embankment - a popular walking place. Folk festivities are held here on holidays. The reconstruction was completed in the fall of 2018. Earlier, an art composition was installed on the embankment - a monument to a spotted seal. You can see sea stars in the water at low tide.

Kamchatka Regional United Museum. This museum has collections of ethnography (material and spiritual culture of the indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia, and the Far East of Russia), archeology, documents, rare and valuable books, weapons, works of fine and decorative applied art.

The permanent exposition consists of two sections: the nature of Kamchatka and the history of Kamchatka until 1917. Every year there are temporary exhibitions telling about the traditional culture of the peoples of Kamchatka, the history of Kamchatka Krai and the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, timed to coincide with memorable dates. Leninskaya Street, 20.

Kamchatka Regional Art Museum. The collection of the museum has more than 3.5 thousand works of painting, graphics, sculpture, decorative, applied and folk art, artistic photography, and children’s creativity. Here you can see original works of art created by a lot of well-known not only in Russia, but also abroad masters, representatives of diverse artistic trends of the 20th century - from realism to the avant-garde.

The museum collection is complemented by works of artists from the USA, Korea and the best works of children from Kamchatka, California, and Alaska. A significant place in the collection is occupied by a collection of works by Kamchatka artists. Leninskaya Street, 36.

“Volkanarium” - the only volcano museum in Russia opened in 2017. Here you can immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Kamchatka - the land of volcanoes. A special place among the exhibits is given to the life and traditions of indigenous peoples. Different stages of the development of the region are shown. Another part of the exhibition is devoted to volcanoes and their features. Models of volcanoes were made especially for these purposes. For foreigners, excursions with an English-speaking guide are offered. Klyuchevskaya Street, 34.

Seal Rookery. There are several of them, but they are all located within the city limits. One of the rookeries is located on the pier of the former fish factory, where you can approach seals quite close. The seals usually stay here from October to April. Adults weigh up to a thousand kilograms. They can hunt themselves, but tourists are allowed to feed them with fish. Seals are accustomed to being the subject of increased attention. They practically don’t pay attention to people and don’t react to noise.

Monument “Russia Begins Here”. This picturesque monument is installed near the airport in Elizovo, about 32 km west of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The pedestal is made of natural stone. There are plates on it with the inscription “Russia Begins Here”. The monument itself depicts a she-bear carrying a fish in her mouth and a bear cub.

Kronotsky Nature Biosphere Reserve - one of the oldest reserves in Russia located in the eastern part of the Kamchatka Peninsula, about 180 km northeast of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. There are 8 active volcanoes here, the highest of which is Kronotskaya Sopka (3,528 m), thermal lakes, the famous Valley of Geysers (one of the largest geyser fields on Earth and the only one in Europe and Asia), waterfalls. Tourists get here by helicopter.

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky city of Russia photos

Pictures of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

The stella in honor of the founding of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

The stella in honor of the founding of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Author: Igor Kolokolov

Avacha Hotel in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Avacha Hotel in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Author: Max Ivanuk

The sea port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

The sea port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Author: Dik Konti

The questions of our visitors

Anatol asks: Petropavlovsk Kamchatskiy is so isolated city , where the food is coming from? There are no roads, railways, etc. Thanks for the info. Anatol
Expert's answer:
Most food is delivered by sea or air with the exception of seafood, fish, and bread. Therefore, food prices in this city are much higher than in most regions of Russia (about 2 times higher).
linda clark asks: How do I get to the nearest airport. I want to visit Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. I need to know how to get there.
Expert's answer:
Yelizovo airport located near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky offers regular flights to Moscow, Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Novosibirsk, Magadan.

The comments of our visitors

p frawley
beautiful city!

Best greetings from Canada

During my vacation in Punta Cana i have met great people, Marina and Kola from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, we had great time together. I hope one day in the future i would like to visit this interesting city.

Best greetings from Canada to Kola and Marina and all people of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy from Voldi.

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