This is the first geopark in Russia to receive such a status.
Overall, 147 natural habitats in the world are currently in the UNESCO list, and 12 are now in Russia: Virgin Komi Forests, Lake Baikal, Volcanoes of Kamchatka, Golden Mountains of Altai, Western Caucasus, Central Sikhote-Alin, Uvs Nuur Basin, Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve, Putorana Plateau, Lena Pillars Natural Park, Landscapes of Dauria, and now Yangan-Tau (situated in Salavat District, Republic of Bashkortostan).
“There are many interesting objects in Yangan-Tau – geothermal springs, a health resort, caves, geological sections, burial mounds, and ancient settlements. Kazan University oversees Mechetlino Section there,” says Rafael Sungatullin, Professor at the Department of Regional Geology and Mineral Resources of Kazan Federal University.
KFU’s research of Mechetlino started in 2015. International Subcommission on the Permian System recommended studying and beautifying the section after a major expedition organized by Kazanian geologists. In 2016, a group headed by KFU experts won a grant from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research.
To induct a natural object into the UNESCO List, it must have an internationally important part. Mechetlino served such a part when the decision was made. Workers of Yangan-Tau Health Resort and Salavat District Administration helped the scientists beautify the section and showed great interest in making it a UNESCO site.
The works are still underway. KFU is supervising another project at Toratau Geopark in Bashkortostan, where Usolka and Dalny Tyulkas sections are being studied. Toratau, now 400 meters above sea level, used to be a reef long ago. One day, it may also enter the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Source text: Alina Minnevalieva
Photo: Rafael Sungatullin
Translation: Yury Nurmeev