Geopark

A geopark is an administered territory containing the natural, historical and cultural heritage, unique geological sites and terrains, which is adapted for recreational, social and other purposes.

The main principle of the geopark’s work is a complex approach to management: nowadays conservation is only one of the directions, which you can take to develop protected areas. Any natural area possessing a unique terrain has the potential to become a geopark.

A geopark is an administered territory containing the natural, historical and cultural heritage, unique geological sites and terrains, which is adapted for recreational, social and other purposes.

The main principle of the geopark’s work is a complex approach to management: nowadays conservation is only one of the directions, which you can take to develop protected areas.

Any natural area possessing a unique terrain has the potential to become a geopark.

Geology

The Toratau Geopark is located at the joint of the southern part of the Urals and the eastern outskirts of the East European Platform. The territory is rich in unique geological sites that are of scientific, historic, natural, educational and aesthetic value.

The age of the most valuable geological sections is between 1 billion and 250 million years. One of the main objects of the geopark – the Usolka section, is the first “golden nail” in Russia. This is the name given to an internationally acclaimed point of reference of an ancient period of time.

The Toratau geopark is located at the joint of the southern part of the Urals and the eastern outskirts of the East European Platform. The territory is rich in unique geological sites that are of scientific, historic, natural, educational and aesthetic value.

The age of the most valuable geological sections is between 1 billion and 250 million years. One of the main objects of the geopark – the Usolka section, is the first “golden nail” in Russia. This is the name given to an internationally acclaimed point of reference of an ancient period of time.

The Toratau and Yuraktau shihans are of particular value. The mountains are the remains of an ancient bioherm reef, formed in the warm adjacent sea of the Permian 280-300 million years ago. There are no objects in the world similar to them.

Flora and fauna

The territory of the Toratau geopark is incredibly biologically diverse. In one day, you’ll see the vast forest steppes and explore the cool mountain creeks, covered in dense broad wood forests. And in the southern part of the geopark you’ll see the meadow steppes with blooming needle grass.

When you run the Zilim River you’ll hear the rare falcons cry. You’ll see the pine forests with lots of herbs, juniper thickets and shady fir forests that remained from the ice ages. In these forests you can meet wild animals and rare plants, for example, you can come across a real natural wonder – lady’s slipper.

The territory of the Toratau geopark is incredibly biologically diverse. In one day, you’ll see the vast forest steppes and explore the cool mountain creeks, covered in dense broad wood forests. And in the southern part of the geopark you’ll see the meadow steppes with blooming needle grass.

When you run the Zilim River you’ll hear the rare falcons cry. You’ll see the pine forests with lots of herbs, juniper thickets and shady fir forests that remained from the ice ages. In these forests you can meet wild animals and rare plants, for example, you can come across a real natural wonder – lady’s slipper.

History

Currently, the historical and cultural heritage of the Toratau geopark includes about 100 archaeological sites (Paleolithic - New Time), several dozens of architectural monuments, objects of religious pilgrimage, obelisks, steles and monuments of the 20th century, museums and intangible heritage. But all this is only a small part, recorded and described by experts.

We still do not know how big this heritage actually is. One of the most important tasks of the geopark is to identify, study and present to visitors the whole diversity of historical and cultural heritage that has been preserved for millennia in this unique territory.

The richness of historical and cultural heritage of the Toratau geopark is defined by its location on the joint of steppe plains which occupy the western part of the park and area with mountains and forests. The human exploration of these territories began in ancient times, in the Paleolithic age – the finds in some of the geoparks’ caves prove that. Deep in the mountains, the Zilim river valley is famous for its petroglyphs – colourful images on the rocks, dating from the end of Stone age and typical for territories lying much further north. Starting from the Bronze age (2000 BC), the cattle-breeding population started developing the foothill plains, they left numerous settlements and burial mounds, and after another millennium these places became a contact zone between the steppe nomads and the settled inhabitants of the forest-steppe. And from that time on, the Shihan of Toratau began to be used as a large sanctuary of the entire population of the foothill zone. This tradition continued right up to ethnographic modernity, and it echoes to this day.

Currently, the historical and cultural heritage of the Toratau geopark includes about 100 archaeological sites (Paleolithic - New Time), several dozens of architectural monuments, objects of religious pilgrimage, obelisks, steles and monuments of the 20th century, museums and intangible heritage. But all this is only a small part, recorded and described by experts. We still do not know how big this heritage actually is. One of the most important tasks of the geopark is to identify, study and present to visitors the whole diversity of historical and cultural heritage that has been preserved for millennia in this unique territory.

Образовательные программы

Ключевая задача дирекции геопарка «Торатау» – поддержка и участие в  уникальных образовательных и научно-исследовательские программах. 

Здесь вы можете ознакомиться с образовательными программами, разработанными геогидами и научными сотрудниками геопарка.

The territory of the Toratau geopark is incredibly biologically diverse. In one day, you’ll see the vast forest steppes and explore the cool mountain creeks, covered in dense broad wood forests. And in the southern part of the geopark you’ll see the meadow steppes with blooming needle grass.

When you run the Zilim River you’ll hear the rare falcons cry. You’ll see the pine forests with lots of herbs, juniper thickets and shady fir forests that remained from the ice ages. In these forests you can meet wild animals and rare plants, for example, you can come across a real natural wonder – lady’s slipper.