Chelyabinsk residents want meteor to be their ‘Eiffel Tower’

Chelyabinsk residents want meteor to be their 'Eiffel Tower'
Photograph: RIA Novosti

5 March 2013

Ever since a meteor crashed into Russia’s Chelyabinsk region, residents have been thinking up ways to capitalise on the event. “Space sent us a gift and we need to make use of it. We need our own Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty,” Natalia Gritsay, head of the region’s tourism department, told Bloomberg.

So far ideas for tourist attractions include a “Meteor Disneyland” which would recreate the 15 February explosion, an annual cosmic and fireworks festival, and a “Cosmic Water Park”. Mayor Andrei Orlov suggested creating a diving centre near the lake where the meteor crashed for tourists to go in search of fragments.

A local company, Sputnik, has already organised two summer tours for Japanese tourists. “One is a two-day tour to the impact site at Chebarkul, while the other includes city sightseeing and will last longer,” the company manager Elena Kolesnikova said. “The price is around $800 (£530) per person, which includes a hotel.”

The regional museum has already opened a meteor exhibition, displaying a piece of the meteorite next to front pages of international newspapers reporting the events.