Resurrection symbiosis: how to preserve industrial heritage in the natural environment

The preservation of the industrial heritage in Bashkortostan, as well as the prospects for the activity of the Toratau and Yangan-Tau geoparks, were discussed at an off-site meeting of the regional branch of the Russian Geographical Society under the leadership of the head of the republic, Radiy Khabirov. Sergey Korlykhanov, Deputy Executive Director of the Russian Geographical Society, took part in the discussion.

The meeting was held at the Resurrection Art Gallery, a branch of the Mikhail Nesterov Art Museum. The gallery is located in the village of Voskresenskoye, Meleuzovsky district of Bashkortostan. Pupils of the art school at the Moscow Art Institute named after Vasily Surikov were evacuated here during the Great Patriotic War.

— We are holding a meeting in a unique place, – said Radiy Khabirov. — It’s amazing how professionally our ancestors approached any business. Brickwork has been preserved on the walls of the copper smelter. This is one of the most interesting projects we are currently working on. The ruins of the former Voskresensky copper smelter, built in the 18th century, were recognized as a monument of urban planning and architecture of federal significance. It is important that Voskresenskoye is located on the territory of the Toratau Geopark. I am sure that over time the village will become a center of attraction for tourists and an important point of the new route.

Currently, work is underway to reconstruct the cultural and tourist public space “Art Center Resurrection Plant”. The project received a federal subsidy for winning the IV All-Russian competition for the best ideas for creating a comfortable urban environment. The head of Bashkortostan instructed to speed up the pace of work and complete the first stage of improvement by October 1, 2022.

In turn, Sergey Korlykhanov highly appreciated the contribution of the republic in the preservation of cultural heritage and ethnography.

— In Bashkortostan, you can feel a comprehensive and thorough approach to everything, – said the Deputy Executive Director of the Russian Geographical Society. — If a project is being conceived for the preservation of an architectural or archaeological monument, the issues of ecological preservation of the surrounding area and thrifty tourism are being worked out at the same time.

The executive secretary of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, Grigory Ordzhonikidze, via video link from Moscow, also noted the importance of the measures taken in the republic to preserve the country’s unique industrial heritage.

– In 60 countries of the world, there are 1154 buildings that have lost their original purpose of a factory or manufactory, but have survived to this day as unique architectural monuments, – said Grigory Ordzhonikidze. Russia ranks ninth in the world for this indicator. Therefore, it is very important to support the initiatives of the regions at the federal level, and Bashkortostan has something to offer.

President of the National Committee of the International Council for the Protection of Monuments and Sites Leonid Kondrashev, in his speech, gave a number of successful examples of how former factory buildings built back in the 18th-19th centuries in Moscow were reconstructed.

— I am sure that our specialists, together with caring custodians of antiquity from your republic, will find ways to breathe a second life into such objects as the Voskresensky copper smelter, Leonid Kondrashev said.

The head of Bashkortostan instructed the relevant ministries and departments to prepare a list of priority objects requiring restoration and renovation in order to begin reconstruction in the coming years, as well as work out transport logistics and organizing events to attract tourists to cities and regions of the republic.

— Our industrial heritage projects have a rich history and are very interesting for tourists, but they are located at a considerable distance from big cities. Therefore, here it is necessary to think over everything to the smallest detail: comfortable roads, roadside service, food, accommodation, souvenirs, and so on, Radiy Khabirov said.

The first industrial facilities – the Ural mining plants – appeared on the territory of present-day Bashkortostan in the middle of the 18th century, in the era of Elizabeth Petrovna. These are factories – Voskresensky, Verkhotorsky, Preobrazhensky, Arkhangelsky, Beloretsky, Sharansky, Usen-Ivanovsky, Bogoyavlensky, Blagoveshchensky. At present, everything has been preserved in varying degrees of destruction, except for Usen-Ivanovsky and Sharansky. At different times, they were included in the list of cultural heritage sites, identified or placed under state protection. But all of them are monuments of industrial history and architecture of Russia of the 18th century.

The participants of the field meeting of the regional branch of the Russian Geographical Society in the Republic of Belarus discussed the development of the Toratau and Yangan-Tau geoparks.

Saida Suvorova, director of the center for science, education, ecology and tourism of the Toratau geopark, said that in November of this year, the construction of a specially equipped iron staircase – an eco-trail with a length of more than five kilometers to the top of the shikhan – will be completed. Parking for 80 cars will also appear here, and new yurts are also planned to be installed.

The construction of the stairs is necessary to preserve the flora and fauna, a unique natural heritage. Now there are about 40 trails on the slope of the shikhan Toratau. Each of them is a strip of trampled and destroyed vegetation. This poses a threat to the habitats of flora and fauna, including rare and Red Book species. The equipped eco-trail-ladder will allow to streamline the movement of tourists on the ascent and descent.

Three priority sites have been identified in the Yangan-Tau Geopark. These are the Mechetlino geological museum complex, the Caravanserai ethnographic complex and the Salauat Yere historical and cultural complex. 50 million rubles have already been allocated for design and survey work.

The head of Bashkortostan instructed the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Tourism of the Republic to finalize the project for the integrated development of tourism infrastructure near geoparks.

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