24 Beautiful Iturup Island

Beautiful Iturup Island

Posted on October 29, 2011 by

Iturup Island is the largest island of the Kuriles. It is unspeakably beautiful and has a length of 200 kilometers. One of its sides is washed by the Pacific Ocean and there is the Sea of Okhotsk on the other side. Almost the whole island is a nature reserve.

There are no mountains there but it has nine active volcanoes and Stokap is the highest one. In the picture you see its crater.

Approaching the island.

People may come to these hot springs at any time of the day and swim there for free. But remember that it’s going to hurt if you have a cut or a burn.

The island is rich for its mineral resources. At the time of the Soviet Union a lot of geologic works have been done there (like exploring fields and road construction) but in 90s all of it broke down.

An abandoned geological base.

There are several cities on the island. The largest one which has a population of 10 thousand people, is Kurilsk. A lot of military men live in presidios, like in the one from the picture. A few people which can be seen wandering in the streets, look rather depressed which is understandable.


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24 Responses to “Beautiful Iturup Island”

  1. Tovarich Volk says:

    “We advise the outdoorsman to wear little noisy bells on clothing so as to give advanced warning to any bears that that might be close by so you don’t take them by surprise.

    We also advise anyone using the out-of-doors to carry “Pepper Spray” with him in case of an encounter with a bear…..

    ….Grizzly bear shit has bells in it and it smells like pepper.”

    –Not exactly encouraging, is it?

  2. Ham are sick, Al says:

    Is this the island that is in dispute with Japan? If so, any resolutions?

    • Mr. Fox says:

      Japan ‘WANT’ korean Island Dokdo. and russian Kuril Islands. and they insist and announce ‘These islands are japanese land.’.

      But you have remember. Kuril Islands are belong to Russia. Dokdo is belong to Korea.

      • Kokusai Samu says:

        That’s not an accurate characterization of the land disputes. In regards to Dokdo (Takeshima), after WW2 Japan was ordered to return all the land they had conquered during WW1 and WW2. They returned tons of land, at the direction of America. All of South Korea and North Korea were under Japanese control between 1910 and 1945. The upper portion of Korea was taken by Russia in 1945 at the very tail end of WW2, the south was returned following Japan’s surrender. Because America was the one that drew the borders, South Korea appealed to them to draw the line so that Dokdo would be included in the land returned to Korea. When pressed for evidence of the claim that the island was Korean territory, South Korea was unable to produce sufficient evidence to demonstrate their historical claim to the land, so America included it as part of Japanese territory. This correspondence can be read by searching for “the Rusk documents”. Since that time, Korea has used ancient maps as evidence of Korea’s claim to the island, but maps that old are hardly reliable, and the island had never been inhabited until 1965.

        With the Southern Kuril islands it’s a little different. They had been inhabited by the Ainu people (an indigenous group of Japan) since ancient times. Japan officially incorporated the islands in the 1600s. They were official undisputed Japanese territory until the tail end of WW2, when Russia snuck in and conquered them. This came at a time where Japan was being pummelled by American fire bombings further south in the country (Tokyo, Kobe, etc). After the war, Russia couldn’t be included in the San Francisco treaty, because they were unwilling to return these islands back to Japan. Because of this, Japan and Russia never signed a peace treaty.

        I don’t think it’s a matter of Japan WANTing these islands. It’s a matter of Japan having a very legitimate historical claim over the southern Kurils, which were unfortunately and conveniently conquered by Russia at a time when Japan had all but surrendered already. In the case of Dokdo, they are legally entitled to the land (which is probably why Korea has refused twice to settle the matter in international courts), but Korea strong arms themselves in with childish tactics and nationwide propaganda

  3. Tovarich Volk says:

    Also regarding the Warning sign, has Russia laid claim to the northwesten part of North America again? –Internet searches indicate that the sign is in British Columbia, Canada, not the Russian Far East.

  4. yojimbo says:

    This is a place I would love to live in but my wife would never allow it because we have kids she’d think it was too secluded for them.It looks a lot like Alaska especially the Aleutian Islands.

    Why is there a British Columbia bear sign? Nice Waring but seeing as most people that would be on this island do not speak English they cant read it.

  5. Rembo says:

    Why would they need tanks there? Armored units are a waste for such a purely defensive location. Russian anti-armor weapons and infantry would be more than enough if supported by a good anti-air network.

    • yojimbo says:

      These region does have valuable resources it has strategic value as if one controls the Kuriles they control a route of access to the Russian Far East and anyone who knows anything knows that in the short and long term Asian nations like China and Japan pose the greatest threat to Russian interests in the region they fought over these lands in 1905 and again in 1945 this land is of value to more than one nation.Learn a thing or two about natural resources and what is of value to what nation.

    • Babysitter says:

      These are not tanks but self-propelled artillery and are part of anti-landing coastal defence.

  6. geoff says:

    Never heard of magnetic sand before

  7. (r)evolutionist says:

    B.C. and the Russian Far East are Comrades!

  8. A.Oscar says:

    What a beautiful place made by Nature. I have been seeing and read many from English Russia Magazine which continues love to look into. I must saying without reservations, because have said good and bad about any country, because just like I have not got one, just a Terrestrial .Russia are a bigger country in the world: with 150 million people it is not enough population. Like on those cases of this island with 200 Km, it is real big. Russian should get a group of people to analyze all Russia. Mr. Vladmir Putin should keep in mind of such. The resources it is plenty to make Russia more attractive: even so with foreign money, and get a good selection of emigrants. We know in the winter it is very cold: but Russian people like Canadians, already getting used to. When is a will, for show will be the way? Russian has lots to offer; even to own people, just organized, even food, plenty space to grow, just need enthusiasm and go further. I have seeing on those magazines: so beautiful places, like Riviera with just abandon by the sea. This magazine have feed me with many thoughts: good ones, and I may one day visit your guys, go to the most interesting places available by Nature. A.Oscar

    • Babysitter says:

      Russia is not underpopulated. The rest of the world is overpopulated. Just imagine if the island was given to Japan. There would be people all over the place. Roads, cars, factories, mines. Like everywhere else. No, thanks. I vote for these two villages and huge natural reserve to stay as they are.

  9. Mariel says:

    Nice pictures!!!

  10. popalumi says:

    Fotgrafiile sunt minunate.!O intreaga rezervatie naturala.

  11. Hirsh says:

    This place is really beautiful, aside from being blighted by cheap shoddy prefab Soviet housing, just like everywhere else in the former Soviet Union. Yeah i know the need for housing was great, it’s just a shame they built that en mass to meet the demand.

    • ayaa says:

      Wow. You must really hate Russia. What’s wrong with Soviet housing. Much better than the old shacks most people lived in in the times of the Tsars. I grew up in one of those cheap, shoddy prefab Soviet houses. I never had too many complains. Or are you saying that in the perfect utopia of America, people have no plumbing and/or heating problems?

      • Hirsh says:

        No i don’t hate Russia. But Khrushchev era and later prefab Soviet apartment blocks are very utilitarian looking, all look similar, and they have every appearance of being assembled quickly (because they were, even if solidly built the workmanship appears sloppy to the eye in all the photos i see, the brickwork, the tile work, the fit and finish of just about everything), and they haven’t aged well at all. And once arranged into large microdistricts or “presidios” or whatever they take on a very dreary repetitive nature, and imo are a blight on the landscape.

        That said i know their was a truly huge shift from rural to urban living in those times, and they needed to build housing as fast as they could, and what the central planners came up with was this solution. But when you actually see it built en mass it’s not a pretty solution. It’s a very practical one and it is what it is.

        As for America, closest thing to those here are the “public housing” complexes that were built for poor low income people during the 20th century, there were not all so similar like in USSR, but they weren’t pretty either, and they devolved into truly nasty crime ridden slums and a great deal of them have been demolished and are ancient history by now. And that’s a good thing.

        I don’t think the Krushcevskys(?) or whatever they’re called were intended to last as long as they have? Ideally Soviet planners though these would have been replaced by a new generation of housing by now? I think i read somewhere that they were expected to be in use for about 30 years or something like that?

        As for what life was like in them, you would know better then i, because i’ve never set foot in one. The closest i will ever come to knowing what life was like in them is to take the time to read the link below “Communal Living in Russia: A Virtual Museum of Everyday Soviet Life”.



        • ayaa says:

          What you see as shoddy construction has nothing to do with the builders or the Soviet system. When Yeltsin came to power and ruined the economy, these flats like so many things were left to rot, without any maintenance of any sort.

  12. stolichnaya says:

    The Kiril Islands were recently re-located to British Columbia. Putin sold them to Canada so he could raise money to pay off Luzhkov. That is why the sign is in English and says ‘Fort Steele’ at the bottom. It all makes sense now.

  13. PF says:

    Beautiful place, but these islands belong to Japan according to the international law. Russians always forget to return home when they come to visit their neighbours. I’m 100% sure that Japanese people wouldn’t allow such beautiful island to look so shabby.

    • ayaa says:

      “I’m 100% sure that Japanese people wouldn’t allow such beautiful island to look so shabby.”

      Let their economy get wasted, have every third person living in poverty, have the GDP halved, I’M 100% sure that they would not fare any better, probably do worse.

      • PF says:

        Japanese character are different. They would never allow Japan, it’s economy and government to reach such state as Russians did. Who created current state of Russia? Whose fault is that every third person in Russia live in poverty? Sorry, not the government, but the nation did.

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