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Paramushir Island
December 2, 2014 03:02


Mountains and volcanoes of Paramushir Island look picturesquely from the space, but the view from the land and the sea is no less impressive. It is the most mountainous island of Kurils which is also very rich in volcanoes.

18 of 23 Paramushir volcanoes turned into quiet mountain peaks, but five of them still cannot calm down and regularly erupt. The name of the island was given by the Ainu: Paramushir translated from their language means “wide island”. A purely subjective and grounded perception: Paramushir from space looks like an elongated sausage about 120 km long and about 30 km wide.

The name of the volcano was given by those who came first. Paramushir is the second largest of all Kuril Islands (with the area of 2053 sq. km.) after Iturup, but by the ratio of population to its area this island is the least inhabited one.

Paramushir population today is no more than 3,000 people, and almost all of them are the inhabitants of one city, Severo-Kurilsk. Earlier Paramushir had more people and settlements. There is enough fresh water for locals and for guests. One can live here. The name of the island has the second version of translation from the Ainu language: “crowded island”. But in 1952 the nature rebelled. It was not even an eruption of the local volcano, but a tsunami: on November 5, 1952 three huge waves hit Paramushir in several minutes which destroyed both the port of Severo-Kurilsk and several fishers’ villages. A third of all people died, and according to unofficial data, a half of the then island's population of about 3,000 people died.

The city was rebuilt in a new place, and the ruined villages abandoned by people became ghosts - they still exist on maps marked as “non-residential”, and in reality their rotten skeletons stick out through the gloomy thick fog of Paramushir on the East coast. But the animals prosper here - the island is rich in water and fish and is a home for a hundred brown bears, almost fearless foxes and the mysterious animal “paramushirskaya shrew”.

The island is hard to access, although Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is close to Paramushir by local standards - just 312 km away. However, helicopter and sea transportation are heavily dependent on the weather. That is why Paramushir is an administrative part of Sakhalin Oblast (1338 km away from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk).

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Paramushir Island Sakhalin    

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