Tavrida cave inspired Chechen speleologists

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The discovery of the Tavrida cave in the Crimea was the impetus for the creation of speleotourism clusters in Russia.

Our methodology for organizing an underground tourist facility, developed by scientists of the KFU named after Vernadsky, the experts from the Chechen Republic liked it. Crimean speleologists went on research expeditions to the Caucasus to help their colleagues improve their underground routes.

Cavers, like any other explorer of the surrounding world, are lucky to discover. Thanks to their research of natural underground spaces, new marks appear on geographical maps. And after the reunification of the Crimea with Russia, the cavers of the peninsula discovered a huge karst region – the North Caucasus, where there are two main limestone ridges as in the Crimea. But they were not studied as actively as ours.

“In 2015, we came to Grozny and started cooperation with the Chechen University,” said the project manager of the KFU named after Vernadsky “Cave of Taurida”, Chairman of the Russian Union of Cavers Gennady Samokhin. – It should be noted that if in Crimea there are caves similar to the Caucasian, Ural, European, then in Chechnya they are truly unique. For example, a cave with a hydrogen sulphide river. There a biocenosis (a combination of plant and animal species) is formed, based not on photosynthesis, but on the use of sulfur. Such a phenomenon can be on Mars, at the bottom of the World Ocean, at any object where there is no photosynthesis, but there is life. Rare minerals and interesting fauna are formed right there. While exploring this cave, biologists and I managed to collect about 50 species of living organisms (insects, arachnids). Of these, 5 are completely new species, which is a treasure trove for science and education.

One third of the territory of the Chechen Republic is mountains of karst rocks (limestone, dolomite, gypsum, rock salt), which allows developing three areas there – scientific, educational and recreational.

The extraordinary natural resources of Chechnya once conquered Elena Dashkova, who decided to work at the Chechen State University as dean of the Faculty of Geography and Geoecology. Three directions are already presented at the faculty. And this can be called a breakthrough in education.

photo: RIA Novosti Crimea

“I am an adherent of practice-oriented education, so that after graduation from the university our students receive not only theoretical knowledge, but also good practice,” says Elena Dashkova. – The republic pays great attention to the development of tourism and the creation of tourist and recreational clusters. One of them is the Kezenoyam high-mountain lake cluster. For the development of speleotourism, we need the help of colleagues from KFU, because they have already created a method for equipping a cave and turning it into an object of tourist interest.

Colleagues from the Caucasus noted how harmoniously science and tourism are combined in Crimea. And they are trying to learn from this experience, but in a shorter time frame. The Tavrida cave is the best example.

“The Tavrida cave is interesting to us, because we saw not a completed object, like the same Marble Cave, but what is now in the process of being created,” Rustam, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Geography and Geoecology of the Chechen State University for scientific and organizational work, shared his impression Gakaev. – We were given a complete roadmap: what organizational procedures, what departments need to go through …

Now in Chechnya, a grandiose construction of roads in mountainous areas has started. Now you can get to some objects by car.

If in Soviet times the names of new objects were given by pioneers, today the names are given on the basis of local traditions, the characteristics of the region with the influence of the public. As for the caves, it is more often just a number assigned.

“Out of 1600 caves in Crimea, only about 450 have names,” says Gennady Samokhin. – Only large caves are named. And the Chechen Republic recently embarked on this path, they have so far explored about a dozen caves. But there is a chance to become a forge of personnel for cavers.

Chechen State University is already thinking about the possibility of exchanging groups of students. The university can resolve the issue of accommodation and meals during the summer practice.

In Soviet times, there was an organization that created speleological routes. Experts agree that it is necessary to restore old routes, create new ones, and deal with infrastructure. In China there are about 400 excursion caves, in Russia there are 40 well-organized ones. Moreover, in the Crimea there are many artificially created interesting objects: the Adzhimushkay quarries, the submarine base in Balaklava. By the same principle, you can use the quarries in the village of Morozovka.

“There was an abandoned quarry in Karelia, where marble was once mined,” Samokhin gives an example of the competent implementation of resources. – It turned into a dump with flooded floors. 10 years have passed, they decided to make a Ruskeala excursion route from this object. He has now received the third prize in the world for tourism development. It is visited by 350 thousand tourists every year. A fast train from St. Petersburg was specially launched. It was created out of nothing.

Published in the newspaper “Moskovsky Komsomolets” No. 51 of December 16, 2020

Newspaper headline:
Cave charm

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