Region of the Russian Federation: Kamchatka Krai
Area: 3.83 million ha
Criteria: (vii), (viii), (ix), (x)
Site Status: inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1996 (extension in 2001)
Status of Territories composing the Site:
Kronorsky Nature Biosphere Reserve and South-Kamchatka Sanctuary (Zakaznik) (684010, Kamchatka Krai, Elizovo, ul. Ryabikova, 48), “Volcanoes of Kamchatka” Nature Park (684000, Kamchatka Krai, Elizovo, ul. Zavoyko, 33. Bystrinsky Cluster office 684350, Kamchatka Krai, Esso, ul. Lenina, 8)
The Kamchatka Peninsula is situated at the junction of tectonic plates in an active volcanic zone where modern natural processes are not inseparable from the history of our planet. Thirty active and about 300 dead volcanoes as well as over 150 thermal and mineral springs are concentrated in a small area. Active volcanoes in combination with glaciers form an exceptionally scenic and constantly developing landscape.
Parts of the “Volcanoes of Kamchatka” complex allow one to get the fullest idea of the diversity of volcanic activity in the region. These places also are notable by high biodiversity: the highest concentration of salmon fishes, large gatherings of sea otters, brown bears and Steller’s Sea eagles.
Dozens of geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, waterfalls, sharp peaks of mountain ridges, mud wells, turquoise lakes and carpets of colorful algae give the famous Geyser Valley a magic appearance.
The Uzon Volcano caldera is one of the oldest and most interesting geological phenomena of the peninsula. The caldera is a huge cup with an area of 100 km2 and 200-800 m high walls. An enormous hydrothermal system has formed in the caldera, and one can observe the processes of mineral and rock formation before one’s eyes.
Rare geological objects coexist with distinctive wildlife and neither has suffered much from human activities. Of the 1,168 plant species growing here, 10% can be found only in this region. Rare species needed particular protection make up a large part.
The peninsula is the habitat of one-half of the world’s Steller’s Sea eagle population, over 10 thousand brown bears (the Kamchatka subspecies is one of the largest bears in the world), as well as bighorn sheep, wild reindeers, sea-lions and sea otters.
The seas surrounding the Kamchatka Peninsula are very rich in wildlife. Here, there are growth zones of Kamchatka crab larvae, salmon spawning grounds and seaward runs for the young. From early summer till early winter one can watch a unique natural phenomenon when millions of salmons work their way upstream to their spawning sites.