Quarries and mines often become targets for tourist trips or photo shoots. Visits to these quarries are called industrial tourism. Some quarries and mines are still used for mining rock, but for tourists there are observation decks, and even expositions.

Some quarries are flooded by water, and they become natural attractions. The most famous natural quarries in the European part of Russia are the Marble Canyon in the Ruskeala Mountain Park, as well as the Konduki quarry in the Tula region. However, there are many such quarries and mines all over the country. 

In this review on the Geomerid online guide, you can read about quarries and mines that have become tourist attractions:

1. Amber quarry, Kaliningrad region
2. Konduki quarry, Tula region
3. Mikhailovsky mine, Kursk region
4. Ruskeala Marble Canyon, Karelia
5. Marble Lake, Astrakhan region
6. Mines in Samarskaya Luka Park

Click on the hyperlinks to read in detail about each attraction and see a large number of photos

Amber quarry, Kaliningrad region

To the east of the village of Yantarny there is a huge Amber Quarry, where amber is extracted commercially. These places contain about 90% of the world`s amber reserves. In the southern part of the quarry, there is an observation platform where you can view the scale of industrial development of stone.

Near the quarry, which is called “New Primorskiy”, there is an Amber factory, however, the entrance to it is closed, and tours are not conducted. To see the quarry, you have to go to the observation deck, which is located a few kilometers away. From the observation deck of the Amber quarry, you can see its huge size. The depth of the amber layer in this quarry is 50 meters.

Konduki quarry, Tula region

The Romantsev mountains (Konduki) are located in 90 kilometers to the south of the Tula. Here you will see lakes with turquoise water and red-brown clay waste heaps. Since the 1960s, brown coal has been mined in the Ushakovsky quarry, near the village of Konduki. As the depth of mines increased, the quality of brown coal declined, and operation of the quarry was discontinued in the 1990s.

The water completely filled all the mines where coal was extracted, It is very clean with a turquoise hue, but the strongest transformation occurred with clay waste heaps. Rain, melting snow, and wind turned them into strange mountains of red-brown color. The strongest transformation occurred with clay waste heaps. Rain, melting snow, and wind turned them into strange mountains of red-brown color.

Mikhailovsky mine, Kursk region

The Mikhailovsky opencast mine is located in the north-western part of the Kursk region. This region is called the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly. Here, the compass needle works with deviations, since there are billions of tons of iron ore in the ground. Moreover, it is not just a rock, in some places the iron content reaches 90%. It is the largest iron ore basin in the world.

Not far from the city of Zheleznogorsk there is an observation deck where you can come and look at the gigantic scale of the Mikhailovsky opencast mine. It belongs to Metalloinvest Holding. The company's management has decided to develop industrial tourism in the Kursk Magnetic Anomaly. Here you can not only come to the observation deck of the Mikhailovsky opencast mine, but also sign up for an excursion to the quarry or to the iron ore production plant. 

Ruskeala Marble Canyon, Karelia

Ruskeala Marble Canyon is one of the most beautiful places in Karelia and the entire North-Western region of Russia. Grand Marble Canyon is the main attraction of the Ruskeala Mountain Park. For several centuries, marble has been mined here, on the banks of the Tohmajoki River. Many cathedrals and palaces in St. Petersburg were built from this marble.

Marble and lime mining was carried out here until the end of the 1990s. The Great Marble Canyon was mothballed after World War II and quickly filled with water. Inside the canyon, a lake with azure-colored water has formed, above which steep walls of white and gray marble rock rise.  For more than a decade, the quarry was in an abandoned state, but in the 2000s, the tourist infrastructure began to form here. Now a whole Mountain Park was formed here. 

Marble Lake, Astrakhan region

Marble Lake is located on the road from the village of Nizhny Baskunchak to Bolshoe Bogdo Mountain. It is at the bottom of a quarry in mines where gypsum is being developed commercially. Part of the quarry and some mines were flooded with underground water. Blocks of gypsum under the bright blue waters of the lake are very similar to marble, so the lake was named Marble.

On the shore of Marble lake there is a sandy beach, which is visited by many people from the surrounding villages and even from Akhtubinsk. Unfortunately, the lake is open for swimming only 1 day a year – August 14, on the Day of the Builder. During the rest of the days, the Austrian Knauf company is developing gypsum here.

Mines in Samarskaya Luka Reserve

Abandoned mines in the Samarskaya Luka Nature Reserve are located in Popova Mountain, as well as in Camel Mountain. Near the village of Shiryaevo, the development of limestone was started in mines of Popova mountain, in the 19th century. Limestone, was mined here, is almost 100% consist of calcium carbonate, which allowed producing lime of the highest quality. Despite the only square entrances to the mines are visible from the road, the mines in Popova, and then in the Monastery mountain, amounted to 17 thousand square meters. Huge corridors stretch hundreds of meters deep into the mountain. 

In the 19th century, horse-drawn drays were driven into these tunnels and loaded with hand-cut limestone. In the process of limestone extracting in mine tunnels, large columns were made to protect against collapses. They give the caves a beautiful and mystical appearance.