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    Kuril Islands

    Top-Seven Surprising Facts About Kuril Islands

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    The Kuril Islands are well-known as being at the center of the territorial dispute between Russia and Japan. However, only a few people know what everyday life on the Islands is actually like.

    Japan and Russia have never signed a permanent peace treaty after World War II due to a disagreement over four islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan the Northern Territories. The disputed islands, located in the Sea of Okhotsk, were claimed by Soviet forces at the end of the war.

    The website Life.ru prepared some interesting facts about these territories, some of which might prove to be very surprising.

    Fact 1.

    In order to visit the Kuril Islands, one needs special authorization issued by the border department of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. One can visit the government agency on weekdays from 9:30 am to 10:30 am and receive authorization the next day. In any case, the visitor will have to stay in the city for at least one day.

    Fact 2.

    When one finally arrives in the Kuril Islands, one could get stuck there for a long time. The reason is simple: visitors won't be able to return to the mainland because of poor weather conditions. During storms or heavy snowfalls there are no boats or airplanes in service. The sad thing is that a flight or a boat trip might be delayed not for a couple of hours, but for an extra week or two.

    Fact 3.

    All in all, there are only five hotels on the Kuril Islands with 70 available rooms. So one might be caught by surprise, when discovering that all of them are already booked.

    Fact 4.

    The main symbols of the Kuril Islands are the volcanoes! All in all, there are about 160 volcanoes, 40 of which are active.

    Fact 5.

    While travelling on the Kuril Islands, one could easily run into a bear. One of the most likely places to encounter the animal is the territory near the volcano of Tyatya on the island of Kunashir.

    Fact 6.

    Almost all residents of the Kuril Islands have a car, usually a Japanese jeep. Surprisingly, there is not a single filling station! Residents buy barrels of fuel from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Vladivostok. Only this year did local authorities promise to organize the first station by October.

    Fact 7.

    Residents of the islands are open and friendly, they like talking to travelers, asking them about their life and telling them about their own. The local people recommend unique places to visit and sometimes they even offer to drive you there.


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