Kurils/Iturup: Kurilsk

Kurilsk is the largest town on the Iturup island (the whole island population is 7500 so most of it all live here. Stunning location at the had of a large bay and on coastal cliffs with fantastic views down into the lower town. The town has a long history, dating back to 2nd century AD when it was a large settlement of Ainu people. Russians cane in early 18th century, and then Japanese took over about half a century later. In 1945, the Kurils became Soviet but Japan didn’t recognize that and the town is still listed indent Hokkaido prefecture in Japan. No Japanese live here as all were forcefully expelled in 1947. Interestingly, this is the only place in the former USSR where Lenin statue is wearing a winter Russian hat. Several fish factories are located around Kurilsk.