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Russian Far East mining town rolls out gem idea for diamond tour route

May 23, 13:51 UTC+3

Local authorities also intend to open the Arctic diamond mines to tourists

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© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MIRNY (Yakutia), May 23. /TASS/. The Mirny District administration in the Sakha Region of Russia’s Far East has come up with a new tourism strategy to attract visitors, a route has been mapped out around sites linked to the history of Russia’s diamond mining.

Among them are the Mir mine, the Kimberlite Museum, the Holy Trinity Church, a natural park and others.

The local authorities also intend to open the Arctic diamond mines to tourists.

Rishat Yuzmukhametov, head of the Mirny administration told TASS that tourism is the start of a new chapter in the town’s history, the center of the country’s diamond mining, which is unofficially dubbed “Russia’s diamond capital.

He hopes that the new route will become popular with tourists. A point of interest on its planned tourist route is a bronze monument dedicated to the Soviet geologists who discovered diamonds in this region in the 1950s.

The sculpture portrays two geologists following a Yakut guide who is riding a reindeer, but this is no hint that the town is linked to deer breeding, even though it’s a long-time, local traditional profession. The town is a diamond industry-based community.

“The ‘diamond’ tourist route also includes the Holy Trinity Cathedral built on the initiative of the Alrosa (Russia’s largest diamond producer),” Yuzmukhametov said.

The cathedral has distinct decorations, which combine Russian and Florentine mosaic techniques.

Visitors will be also offered to visit a natural park 11 kilometers to the northwest of the diamond-mining town. The park is populated by muskoxen noted for their thick coat, as well as elks, bison and Yakut horses.

Tourists are allowed to feed the animals.

“We want to focus on the development of the tourism industry,” the official stated. “It is difficult to take tourists to all the nine diamond mines due to weather conditions and transportationdrawbacks but we are working on fixing the problems.”

He said some 15 years ago visits to diamond mines had been restricted.

The Mirny district in western Yakutia produces 14 percent of all diamonds mined in the world. The town was founded in 1955 after the discovery of a nearby kimberlite pipe deposit.

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