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LAKE BAIKAL

Explore the mysteries of the ancient and enticing Lake Baikal!
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Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal

About Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal or “the Pearl of Siberia” is the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake. It is an ancient, massive lake in the mountainous Russian region of Siberia, north of Mongolian border. Baikal area has a long history of human habitation.

The KURYKANS are an early known tribe in the area. Located in the former northern territory of the Xiongnu confederation, Lake Baikal is one site of the Han dynasty pursued and defeated the Xiongnu forces from the second century BC to the first century BC. They were the one to record that the lake was a “huge sea” and designate it the North Sea of the semi mythical four seas. Later on it was called “natural lake” by the Buryats and “rich lake” by the Yakuts.

Several government organizations are carrying out natural research projects on Lake Baikal. The Baikalian Research Centre is an independent research organization carrying out environmental, research and educational projects at Lake Baikal.

It contains 20% of the world’s total unfrozen freshwater reserve. Lake Baikal is known as the ‘ Galapagos of Russia’, which have produced one of the world’s richest and most unusual freshwater faunas, which is of exceptional value to evolutionary science.

Some Interesting Facts About Lake Baikal

  • Baikal is the world’s most ancient freshwater lake and it is said to be originated 20 to 25 million years ago.
  • Lake Baikal is one of the clearest and purest water bodies.
  • There are about 27 islands in Lake Baikal, most of them being uninhabited.
  • The depth of this lake is 1,632 m and it is the deepest lake in the world.
  • This lake is the home to many species of animals and plants including the freshwater seal.
  • Lake Baikal’s coastline measures around 1300 miles.
  • About 1/5th of all the fresh water in the world is located here at Lake Baikal.

The climate of Lake Baikal is unique because the lake’s huge water mass gives it certain features of a seashore climate. The significant are the temperature differences between the Baikal hollow and the surrounding territories of Eastern Siberia. This temperature difference diminishes slightly after the lake freezes, but still remains quite noticeable.

This area is often called the museum of climates because of the variations that result from differences in distance from the lake, the shape of the coastline, the steepness of slopes and their orientations. On Baikal, there are breezes resulting from pressure differences over the land and the water surface. In autumn and before it freezes up , they are almost steady and blow from the land towards the sea.

Lake Baikal is an area of exceptional beauty. This area is a veritable treasure trove of mineral resources. There are several hot springs near this lake , the water of which is of exceptional quality. Despite its great depth, the lake’s waters are well mixed and well-oxygenated throughout the water column.

Baikal is exceptionally beautiful in winter due to the fact that the ice is very much transparent and diverse. Travellers from all over the world come to watch the Siberian sunset over the world’s largest mirror. This moment is really a treat to our eyes and to our soul.
This remarkable lake is one of the Asia’s holy places. People have prayed to the lake and believed in its power through centuries.

Lake Baikal is also one of the comfortable tourist places in the world. The experiences you will get there will be incomparable to anything else!

Places Of Tourist Interest In Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is big and diverse and a perfect place to spend your holiday if you are a true nature lover. The area surrounding Baikal is unique and many of its plants and animals exist only in his area.

You are sure to become mesmerized and impressed by the grandeur, size and unusual might of this Siberian miracle of nature.

List Of Places Tourists Can Visit

Baikal Limnological museum

baikal-limnological-museum
Baikal Limnological Museum

The first Baikal Limnological museum was opened in Listvyanka in 1928 and from this base in 1961 the Limnological institute was created. In 1993, the museum acquired its status. About 50,000 visitors come here every year . It is the only place where you can find Baikal’s flora and fauna. The aquariums have a unique system of water supply and water cycle which takes water from a depth of 500 metres. The living conditions are arranged so as to be similar to the natural lake biocoenosis. The flora consists of 284 types of tracheal plants from 212 kinds, which represent 63 families. There are about 259 types of medicinal herbs. This place is a must visit for the tourists.

Olkhon Islands

Olkhon Islands
Olkhon Islands

It is the fourth largest lake bound island in the world. It is by far the largest island in Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia. Much of the land is still covered by forests and the amount of precipitation is extremely low—about 240 mm per year.

Circum Baikal Railway

Circum Baikal Railway
Circum Baikal Railway

A picturesque railway along the Southern Baikal shore, built about a century ago. This area is great for trekking, meeting Russian backpackers, villages along the way and of course you will be mesmerised by the beauty of this place.

Shaman Rock

Shaman Rock
Shaman Rock

It is located to the north of Listvyanka on Olkhon Island. Legend says that a furious Lake Baikal threw this rock at his daughter to prevent her from running off to her beloved Yenisei River. Criminals were brought here to test their fate against the cold nights brought on by the Gods. If they survived, they were granted mercy and set free. Shamans take oaths and pray at 13 poles take oaths and pray at 13 poles erected on top of the hill nearby, believing in its miraculous power.

Hot thermal spring in Khakasy

Another Siberian phenomenon in Lake Baikalis its hot springs. The place is surrounded by beautiful forest full of cedars, therapeutic Khakasy hot springs rarely get crowded, but in order to get into hot water, supplied by an underground source you will experience your own five minutes of freezing hell while getting from locker room to shared bath.

Other Attractions

Sunset on Lake Baikal
Sunset on Lake Baikal

Sunset on Lake Baikal will surely be a visual treat to the eyes. Tourists must watch the sunset at the magnificent port of the Angara River or for the adventurous, scale the 2 km trail up to Cherny cliff for immaculate views out over Lake Baikal from the observation platform.

Baikal in Winter
Baikal in Winter

Winter is probably the best time of the year to go and discover the spirit of Lake Baikal. This is especially true in February and March when the lake surface is frozen solid and the temperatures are below zero degree. At the same time the air is dry and skies are surprisingly sunny.

The ice of Baikal, whose thickness can reach 1.5 metres, does not have a uniformly even surface. It is always extraordinarily pure and transparent.

Baikal in winter is also a wonderful natural ice rink with a slippery and uniform surface . For ice skating and other winter sports, tourists usually  go to Listvyanka where the ice is smoothed over along the shore. Get ready for an absolutely unique Siberian adventure!