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Khabarovsk Krai

Khabarovsk region, washed by the Pacific Ocean, is an area of unspoilt nature and industrial centers. Mountains, hills, sea animal rookeries and serene valley lakes occupy 70 % of the region. Summer in Khabarovsk Krai is the best time to go trekking in the mountains or take a rubber boat or raft down the numerous rivers, while winter is ideal for skiing and snowboarding. The nearest Chinese city of Fuyuan is less than 70 kilometers from Khabarovsk.

Khabarovsk is often rated as one of the best places to live in Russia; it has an excellent airport, clean streets, big parks and squares and a varied choice of hotels and restaurants.

The best way to see the city is on foot. Start your route fr om Lenin square (most important city events are held here). Take in the beautiful pre-revolutionary historical buildings on the city's main street, Muravyov-Amursky, (buildings fr om the 19th century, when the city was founded on the banks of the Amur, have been preserved). Nevelsky Embankment is the best place to take a stroll. The Amursky and Ussuriysky boulevards, favorite places for local residents to walk, both take you to the embankment.

It is worth visiting the nature reserves on the outskirts of Khabarovsk and see the lotus lakes and wild animals. On Tsvetochnoe, Barkhatnoe and Lonchakovo lakes, more than 200 km south of Khabarovsk, grows a mysterious plant – the Nelumbo komarovii or Siberian Lotus. This is not just an ancient water flower listed in the Red Data Book. In many Eastern religions, it is a sacred object; in Buddhism, the lotus symbolizes purity. Many people dream of seeing it because it only flowers for a few days a year in August. According to legend, if you see the flowering lotus, you will be happy and lucky for a whole year.

The most famous place inhabited by indigenous people of Khabarovsk Krai is the Nanai village of Sikachi-Alyan. Here you can find a museum of the native peoples of Amur and the Welcome environmental tourism center, while half a kilometer from the village is the main local attraction. On the banks of the river, on the edge of the water, stand basalt rocks with petroglyphs. They show people and animals, hunting scenes and shaman masks. There are about 200 petroglyphs in total, the earliest date back to the 13th century BC and are listed on the preliminary list of UNESCO World Heritage.

Bolshekhekhtsirsky Nature Reserve was specially created to preserve the unique landscape of Priamurye. Most of the nature reserve is taken up by forest, wh ere Korean cedar, Yezo spruce and Dahurian larch grow. Himalayan bears and Amur tigers live here, surprisingly close to a large town. The real "Tiger House" is on the Western slope of Sikhote-Alin, 200 kilometers from Khabarovsk, not far from Mukhen village in the upper reaches of the Nelta River. Tiger House is a small mountain (555 meters high), the permanent home of 5-7 Amur tigers. The peaks and slopes are decorated with fantastical natural rock images. It is forbidden to collect mushrooms, berries, hunt or fish in autumn here. Tiger House is only open for researchers and ecotourism.

Just under 100 years ago, Komsomolsk-on-Amur became the largest industrial center in the Far East. It was named after the first city builders, volunteers from the Communist youth organization – the Komsomol. To commemorate them, a three-meter high stone stands on the Amur embankment, inscribed with the words: "On May 10, the first Komsomol volunteers, the city's builders, landed here", as well as a statue of young builders ready to start building the city. The city's unofficial symbol, House with a Spire, stands on Komsomolsk-on-Amur's main square.

The Amur Pillars can be found 134 kilometers from Komsomolsk-on-Amur, near Nizhnetambovskoe village, deep in the taiga. These granite rocks have an unusual shape and are 12 to 70 meters high. Some even have names: Shamen-rock, Walls, Cup, Church and Crown.

Proschalnaya cave in Lazovsky district (300 kilometers south of Khabarovsk) is the largest cave in the Far East (3,200 meters long, 79 meters deep). It was discovered in 1978 by students from the Polytechnic Institute saying goodbye to student life, which is wh ere the name comes from. To visit the cave, you need a special permit and must be accompanied by an instructor.

There are seven nature reserves in Khabarovsk Krai, but one of the most important natural attractions in the region is the Shantar Islands. This is an archipelago of 15 rocky islands in the Sea of Okhotsk, which was declared a national park in 2013. The archipelago has wonderful scenery; the islands have lots of rocks with strange shapes and colors – pink, white, green and red. There are a large number of waterfalls on the steep cliffs. Pink salmon, common rudd, Dolly Varden trout and salmon swim in the lakes and rivers.

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