The Post-Industrial Landscapes of Central Urals, Russia: Heritage Value, Tourist Potential, and Unrealized Opportunities

Authors: Elena Givental*, California State University East Bay, Department of Anthropology, Geography, Environmental Studies, Anatoly Stepanov, Department of International Relations, Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia, Maria Ilyushkina, Department of Linguistics and Professional Communications and Department of Tourism, Ural Federal University Yekaterinburg, Russia , Alexander Burnasov, Department of International Relations, Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia
Topics: Tourism Geography, Russia, Regional Geography
Keywords: tourism, industrial heritage tourism, Russia, Central Urals, old industrial region
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Roosevelt 4.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The focus of this study is the Central Urals region of Russia known for its abundant industrial and mining heritage, dating back to the eighteenth century. Until the 1990s, the access to the Central Urals was restricted due to the overwhelming presence of the military-industrial complex. After decades of contempt and physical neglect, industrial heritage sites in the Central Urals are gaining notable interest, both inside and outside Russia, with the emerging “Urals Gemstone Ring” tour as a living proof. However, our research, based on the extensive review of tourist websites and specific visitor site information, shows that the tremendous tourist opportunities in the Central Urals are hampered by the lack of tourist infrastructure, deficit of support from local authorities, and shortage of advertisement and visibility. This case study demonstrates how the interplay of local perceptions and business interests in the post-Soviet space defines the pace of change. The authors’ recommendations for revitalizing industrial and mining heritage tourism in the Central Urals are three-fold: improving the quality of domestic tourist sites and amenities while appealing to the international tourist community, pursuing the intersectoral cooperation of various interested actors including regional and local administration, private businesses, investors, and residents, and, finally, obtaining the UNESCO status for numerous unique industrial heritage sites in the region.

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