The city was named after the two small boats that took Vitus Bering to Alaska in1739, and its location is where Bering and his partner Chirikov were said to have launched their expedition. In the late 1770s the elected governor of Kamchatka built barracks for 32 soldiers and 2 officers, calling the small settlement Petropavlovsk. During the next century, Petropavlovsk, because of its natural harbor and plentiful natural resources, was used as the base for many outgoing expeditions. The sprawling city is a jumble of different types of buildings with a haphazard road system; there has been little or no official planning. Due to its location on Avacha Bay, the city is spread out along the shoreline. Looming over the city are the spectacular Avachinsky, Koryaksky, and Viluchinsky volcanoes.