Modern trends in mountain regional study: border transformation and comparative analysis (on the example of Alps and Caucasus)

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About the Author

Alexey N. Gunya

Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Staromonetny per. 29, 119017, Moscow,


The mountain regional study is based on ideas about mountains, which play a crucial role in the formation of specific features of a vast territory. Unlike classical regional study, which is based on the political boundaries of countries, mountain regional study focuses on the natural boundaries, which are reflected to some extent in the socio-political picture. Mountain countries, such as the Alps, the Caucasus, the Carpathians, the Hindu Kush and others, have a transboundary character. The ideas about these and other mountainous countries have significantly transformed in recent times: the borders, names, and geopolitical context have changed. Using the example of the Caucasus and the Alps, the article will analyze two trends in mountain regional study: 1) changes in the understanding of boundaries; 2) shifts in the nature of the comparison of similar mountain countries towards the involvement of the human component.

There are traditional and postmodern approaches to the selection of borders, based either on natural or artificial (constructed) borders. In the last century, the relative similarity of the natural structure of the Caucasus and the Alps contributed to the development of comparative geographical analysis and cooperation of scientists from the Alpine countries and the USSR. At that time, emphasis was placed on physiographic conditions; socio-economic features were only partially reflected, for example, in a comparative analysis of tourism development. Modern conditions of scientific analysis and comparison of the Alps and the Caucasus have changed. The new geopolitical situation has led to the transformation of ideas about the boundaries of these regions. The development of the concept of an ecoregion, including adjacent to the mountain ranges, significantly increased the area of these mountain countries.


mountain countries, the Caucasus, the Alps, the transformation of borders, a comparative analysis.


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For citation: Gunya A.N. Modern trends in mountain regional study: border transformation and comparative analysis (on the example of Alps and Caucasus) InterCarto. InterGIS. GI support of sustainable development of territories: Proceedings of the International conference. Moscow: Moscow University Press, 2019. V. 25. Part 1. P. 229–245. DOI: 10.35595/2414-9179-2019-1-25-229-245