Monday, 28 January 2008

Cape Stolbchatiy

This is Cape Stolbchatiy which is on Kunashir Island which means Black Island in Ainu. Kunashir Island is the southernmost island of the Kuril Islands, which are controlled by Russia and claimed by Japan. It lies between the straits of Kunashir, Catherine, Izmena, and South Kuril. Kunashir is visible from the nearby Japanese island of Hokkaido. The island is 123 km long and between 4 and 30 km wide. It is formed by four active volcanoes which were separate islands but have since been joined together by low-lying areas with lakes and hot springs.

The island is formed with the volcanic and crystalline rocks. The climate is of monsoon type. The vegetation mostly consists of spruce, pine, fir, and mixed deciduous forests with lianas and Kuril bamboo underbrush. The mountains are covered with birch and Siberian Dwarf Pine scrub, herbaceous flowers or bare rocks. In 1789 Kunashiri was one of the settings of the Menashi-Kunashir Battle in which Ainu revolted against Japanese tradespeople and colonists. The Russian navigator Vasily Golovnin attempted to map and explore the island in 1819, but was apprehended by Japanese authorities and spent two years in prison.

UNESCO has declared the Cape a National World Heritage Site.

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