Siberia is not all about frost, taiga and bears. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Baikal ranks as one of the most fascinating natural wonders in the world.

The Baikal

Siberia is not all about frost, taiga and bears. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Baikal ranks as one of the most fascinating natural wonders in the world.

The lake lies in a deep rift, which makes it not only the deepest lake in the world (a maximum of 1,637 meters), but also the largest pure water source, containing 22 percent of the world's fresh water supplies. That is more than all of North America's Great Lakes combined!

The usual way to reach Baikal is via Irkutsk, after a 6-hour flight from Moscow. However, passionate travellers - or those afraid Siberia is not all about frost, taiga and bears. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Baikal ranks as one of the most fascinating natural wonders in the world. of winged transport - can make it by train in three or four days.

The lake is about a one-hour drive from Irkutsk. Once there you will find crystal pure water and fresh air that makes your city-dweller's eyes tear from happiness. Visitors quickly understand why the native population of the region describe Baikal as a living being, one whose name they refuse to mention in vain, and describe it as "the sea."

But coddled travellers should beware: the mighty Baikal region presents certain challenges for those accustomed to modern conveniences. Hotels are few and far Siberia is not all about frost, taiga and bears. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Baikal ranks as one of the most fascinating natural wonders in the world. between, and generally the choice is either top-notch and expensive, or quite bad. For the experienced and unspoiled tourist, however, the latter option presents a good opportunity to save some money and enjoy Russia's rugged countryside.

To get to the Lake from Irkutsk, take the highway that travels along the Angara River. Don't miss a chance to visit Taltsy village, an open air museum that presents a traditional Siberian village that features a church, school, fortress, and numerous homes including some wonderful old structures.

Continuing along the Angara, soon you will reach its source at Baikal Siberia is not all about frost, taiga and bears. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Baikal ranks as one of the most fascinating natural wonders in the world.. Here you will see the so-called Shaman stone in the center of the river. This sacred, pagan landmark, according to legend, marks where Baikal threw his rebellious daughter Angara when she ran away to Yenisey and declined to marry Irkut. The Angara still runs away to Yenisey River, while the Irkut River joins up modestly at its side.

Not far from the Shaman stone is the Chersky stone. You can get to the top of it with a ride on a chairlift, and from here visitors will be confronted by the most spectacular scenes: the neverending crystal blue Siberia is not all about frost, taiga and bears. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Baikal ranks as one of the most fascinating natural wonders in the world. waters, the head of the Angara, and a small, toylike port lying calm and peaceful below. With a bit of luck you will see trains on the other side of the Angara going from Slyudyanka village to Baikal port along the shore. Tourist trains make regular trips along the Baikal through numerous tunnels, small stations and picturesque surroundings of the railroad, which used to be called the golden buckle of the Trans-Siberian belt.

Nearby is Listvyanka village, where you can catch a boat ride and taste some of Baikal's famous native fish, like omul, grayling and whitefish. There is Siberia is not all about frost, taiga and bears. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Baikal ranks as one of the most fascinating natural wonders in the world. also a surprisingly good limnological (lake) museum, which has its own aquarium with Baikal fish and even "nerpa" - the Baikal seal. This unique seal lives in fresh water, and it remains a mystery how these animals came to settle in Baikal in the first place, as it lies hundreds of kilometers away from any ocean.

A visit to Baikal must include a trip to Olkhon Island, a large, sacred island in the Lake. For some, the bumpy road around Olkhon in a beat-up marshrutka driven by a Buryat driver can pose an adventure in itself. Don't be surprised Siberia is not all about frost, taiga and bears. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Baikal ranks as one of the most fascinating natural wonders in the world. if your local driver stops someplace and says he needs to pay his respect to the gods, or simply to "burkhan." He may step outside, take a drop of vodka and throw sunflower seeds on the ground before driving on further. Nobody knows how and when this tradition began.

Olkhon seems to be a romantic tourist's Mecca. The place is relatively small and distant, but is frequently visited by people from all over the globe. You can easily meet American, British, Spanish, French and even Australian people here. Olkhon will offer you neither luxurious living conditions, nor exquisite Siberia is not all about frost, taiga and bears. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Baikal ranks as one of the most fascinating natural wonders in the world. food. It may even seem that is the place where civilization ends, but that is probably the point. Olkhon is not called sacred for nothing. There is something in the air that makes people remember it and return over and over again.



Stop somewhere in the middle, in the biggest island settlement Khuzhir, see the nearby Shaman Rock (no to be confused with Shaman stone on the Angara) and the Burkhan Cape and then take a car (which most likely again become a rundown UAZ) and get to the Cape of Khoboy, the northern tip of the island, just Siberia is not all about frost, taiga and bears. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Baikal ranks as one of the most fascinating natural wonders in the world. to feel the grandeur and splendor of wild and untouched nature.

Sacred Olkhon island is one of the few places where it is possible to bathe in the clear waters of the Baikal. The deep waters of the Lake never get enough warmth during the hot season, but relatively shallow parts of the Baikal - like the strip between Olkhon and the continent - manage to warm up a bit. Spend a couple of days there and you will return back a changed person.

Remember, you can leave the Baikal, but once you get to know it the Siberia is not all about frost, taiga and bears. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Baikal ranks as one of the most fascinating natural wonders in the world. Lake will never leave you, at least in your dreams.

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Документ Siberia is not all about frost, taiga and bears. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Baikal ranks as one of the most fascinating natural wonders in the world.