Tourists who go to the volcanoes of Tolbachik and Klyuchevskaya groups start their route in a small village of Kozyrevsk. In Soviet times, the settlement received the status of an urban locality, but since 2004 it has been officially a village. It is located almost five hundred kilometers from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, if you go towards the village of Ust-Kamchatsk, in the northeast direction.
The History of Kozyrevsk
In this area, people settled for a long time. A forest rich in wildfowl and waters full of fish attracted the indigenous inhabitants of Kamchatka. The Itelmens set up their camps here. Russian Cossacks appeared in the area of the future village at the beginning of the XVIII century. These were the Kozyrevsky’s, father and son, whom the Yakut military governor sent to Kamchatka in 1701 to bring local residents to Russian citizenship. The Kozyrevsky family came from Mogilev Poles. During the reign of Alexey Mikhailovich, Ivan Kozyrevsky’s grandfather was exiled to Yakutia, his father became a Cossack there, and then, they arrived in Kamchatka.
The Cossacks completed their mission successfully. Further, information about Kozyrevsky’s father is lost, and it is known that Ivan took the monastic vows in 1717 and founded the Assumption Monastery on the banks of the Kamchatka River. In monasticism, he adopted the name Ignatius. However, his life was not calm. The Yakut governor did not leave him alone and called him back to Yakutsk. Then many dramatic events followed, as a result, Ivan Kozyrevsky, being defrocked by that time, died in a Moscow prison.
However, his Monastery in Kamchatka remained and was the center of attraction for the Itelmens who settled nearby. They were called the Kozyrevsky’s. The river Kolyuzh flowing here received a new name Kozyrevka, and the village that appeared on its shore was also called Kozyrevsk. The way the place names of the area has changed says that Ivan Kozyrevsky left behind a strong, long memory here. Sure, he was a remarkable person.
The village was transferred and built up again in other places but its name remained unchanged. In the middle of the XVIII century, the village was set at the mouth of the river but constant overflows forced again to transfer it to a higher place. Back in the early twentieth century, researchers who arrived here could see the remains of the former location of Kozyrevsk on the right bank of the Kamchatka River - the pillars from the old houses and even crosses at the cemetery.
In the Soviet period, the village developed, a timber industry enterprise opened here, mail and other institutions appeared, and earth roads were made. They open an airport, as well, because air traffic is often the only way to get to remote places in Kamchatka. The flight was to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, travel time to the capital of the region was 1 hour. The Yak-40 plane flew four times a week, every other day, the ticket cost 24 rubles (the average salary then was about 150 rubles a month).
The land route to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky was very difficult. There was no bus connection then, it was possible to drive only by passing cars, moreover, the earth road was harsh, especially closer to Kozyrevsk. For the lack of a bridge, ferries crossed the river. However, people lived and worked in this remote village.
The Current State of the Village
Now about one and a half thousand people live in Kozyrevsk, this is less than in the 80s of the XX century when there were more than 2,000 people. The timber industry enterprise, built in Soviet times, continues to work. A bridge was built across the river, it facilitates connection with the outside world. They also made roads that connect the village with Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and with the regional center Ust-Kamchatsky. The road is asphalt and, closer to the village, gravel. There is a bus every day. It’s a pity that the local airport is no longer in operation.
However, they opened the fire station. Since the village is surrounded by forest, the fire is a severe challenge, as in any forest region. In Soviet times, a wooden tower was built in the village so that forestry workers could monitor the fire situation but in the early 90s, it collapsed. Now, with the appearance of a new fire station, monitoring is ongoing.
Since Kozyrevsk has become popular as a base for tourists traveling to volcanoes recently, private guesthouses have been built. There are two stores where you can buy the necessary products and things, a dining room where you can eat. Residents of the village grow vegetables on the open ground and even grow watermelons in greenhouses. And of course, the basis of the Kamchatka menu is amazing fish dishes. Houses in Kozyrevsk are mostly wooden, one-story, solid, with spacious backyards.
The village is located on the shores of Domashnee Lake. The lake is spread out against the background of volcanoes, and when they are snow-covered it looks especially impressive. Back in 1908, zoologist Valentin Bianchi noted a huge amount of sockeye salmon in the lake. However, uncontrolled fishing for almost the entire past century has stopped the entry of Pacific salmon. The water in Domashnee is very clean, and there are springs in the bottom. The villagers take drinking water from there. Even in winter, water does not freeze off the coast.
The surroundings of Kozyrevsk are also known for their "dry" rivers. They are called so because in summer they almost dry up but when the snow melts in the mountains, they are filled with water and carry it to the Kamchatka River. The channels of these rivers are unchanged, some flow directly through the village.
Everyone who has visited Kozyrevsk notes the charm of this small village located in a stunningly beautiful place.