The city is situated on high hills and surrounded by volcanoes. In fact, the horizon cannot be seen clearly from any point of town as volcanoes and mountains are everywhere. Across Avacha Bay from the city is Russia's largest submarine base, the Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base, established during Soviet times and still used by the Russian Navy. The city is located 6766 km (4204 miles) from Moscow.
Petropavlovsk was founded by Russian explorer Vitus Bering. Bering reached Avacha Bay on July 10th, 1740 and laid the foundation stone for the harbor town, naming the new settlement "Petropavlovsk" (Peter + Paul) after his two ships, the St. Peter and the St. Paul, built in Okhotsk for his second expedition. The town's location on the sheltered Avacha Bay and at the mouth of the Avacha River saw it develop to become the most important settlement in Kamchatka.
During the 1854–1855 Crimean War, the city was put under siege by the Anglo-French forces, but never fell. The city had been fortified under the command of Nikolay Muravyov-Amursky in the years previous, but only possessed a small garrison of a few hundred soldiers and 67 cannons. After much exchange of fire, 600 allied troops landed south of the city, but were forced to retreat by only 230 Russian troops after heavy fighting. One week later, 900 allied troops landed east of the town, but were again repelled by the Russians. The allied ships then retreated from Russian waters. The total Russian losses were reported at around 100 men, those of the allies at least five times that number.
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