AESTHETIC PROPERTIES OF GEOLOGICAL HERITAGE LANDSCAPES: EVIDENCE FROM THE LAGONAKI HIGHLAND (WESTERN CAUCASUS, RUSSIA)
Keywords:natural beauty, geological heritage, geotourism, landscape perception, Caucasus
Beauty adds value to unique geological features because the former is important for tourist emotional satisfaction. Aesthetic properties of geological heritage landscapes (landscapes dominated by unique geological phenomena) should be distinguished from their aesthetic attractiveness. Field studies permit ranging all basic aesthetic properties according to their local importance. The same information allows realizing appearance of the properties, which can be either positive or negative. The aesthetic properties of a world-class geosite representing ancient carbonate platform and diverse karst features, namely the Lagonaki Highland (western part of the Greater Caucasus Mountains) are examined. It is established that the Lagonaki Highland has physical parameters that determine a specific set of aesthetic properties. Three most important aesthetic properties of the studied object are openness, pattern, and uniqueness. These properties match the expected tourists’ idea of beauty, and, thus, the geological heritage landscape of the Lagonaki Highland is characterized by significant aesthetic attractiveness, which is important for tourism development.
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