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Urals: Verkhnyaya Salda - Russian Titanium Valley, Kopeisk - the Centre of Machine-Building
January 16, 2017 22:50


Only by the road signs and “brand” local billboards “Smile, you're in Verkhnyaya Salda”, a car-driver traveling along the P-353 road can determine that he is moving in the heart of the global titanium metallurgy.

The backbone enterprise of Verkhnyaya Salda, the world’s largest titanium supplier, satisfying nearly a third of world demand for this metal, is located on the border of a dull low-rise provincial town with straight streets as if drawn by a ruler and without a single attraction (not including the company itself and the boring Local History Museum).

It seems that the town is still led by the narrow-fisted Demidovs - and the town, of course, was led by Demidovs once. Nikita Akinfeyevich, a great connoisseur of Mining and Metallurgy, opened an iron-smelting plant and iron works here in 1778. The settlement around the factory has grown up into the town of 50 thousand inhabitants over time, changed its “occupation” and is about to get its special economic zone (with the loud name “Titanium Valley”) - but still looks like an ordinary working village, only a large one. An old iron foundry stands in the centre of the village, on the banks of the long winding Verkhnesaldinsky pond; and they say there are huge perches living in the pond.


Kopeisk borders on Chelyabinsk and seems just another city area of the industrial giant. It was true some time ago - not on paper, but in fact. Kopeisk emerged and developed as a town of coal miners, but in 1990s all the coal mines within the town border were closed, so local residents have long worked mainly with Chelyabinsk enterprises. Today the town is recovering from the crisis and becomes not a coal town, but a diversified one.

The biggest Russian enterprise for the production of mining equipment, Kopeisk Machine-Building Plant is located here. The plant, by the way, is one of the main tourist attractions of the city, it regularly conducts excursions.

Those who prefer outdoor recreation to industry can visit one of the lakes near the city. The biggest of them, Kurlady, is located literally at a stone’s throw from Kopeisk, nevertheless it is excellent for fishing (it is best to fish from a boat), and during the season you can also hunt ducks on the lake. Kurlady is generally a “bird” place: in addition to game - ducks and godwits, you can find rare species of birds here. For example, the local pride is Dalmatian pelican.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Kopeisk Urals    

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