The Lake Baikal, located in the south of Eastern Siberia, on the border of the Irkutsk Region and the Republic of Buryatia, is among the most ancient water bodies of our planet. But most of all it is known for being the deepest lake on Earth and at the same time the largest natural reservoir of fresh water - 19% of all world reserves.
Both Baikal and the coastal areas are distinguished by unique flora and fauna in their diversity, which makes these places truly unique, invariably attracting the attention of scientific minds and numerous travel lovers and real adventurers.
By outline, Baikal resembles a narrow crescent moon, so easily remembered that even those who are not particularly strong in geography can easily find it on the map of Russia.
The depth of the lake is truly impressive - 1637 meters. According to this indicator, Baikal surpasses such largest reservoirs as Tanganyika (1470 m), the Caspian Sea (1025 m), San Martin (836 m), Nyasa (706 m), Issyk-Kul (702 m) and Great Slave Lake (614 m).
The length of the coastline of the Siberian "Crescent" is 2100 km, it has 27 islands, the largest of which is Olkhon. The water in Baikal is very clean.
Previously, it could be drunk directly from the lake and not even boiled. But now crowds of tourists rushed to Baikal, who are pollute this area, so now, before drinking Baikal water, you should ask the local residents where it can be done.
The freeze-up time on the lake lasts on average from the beginning of January to the beginning of May. The only exception is a small 15-20 km section located in the source of the Angara. At the end of winter, the thickness of the ice can reach one meter, and in the bays even more - one and a half to two meters.
The Lake Baikal is so magnificent that it is often called the Siberian Sea. In 1996, it was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. However, not only because of the unique ecosystem that requires careful treatment - there are also a lot of historical and architectural attractions, not to mention the monuments of nature and culture.
Baikal in winter
The deepest lake in the world attracts thousands of visitors all the year round.
In winter, Baikal is turned into one giant skating rink in the breathtaking scenery of taiga woods and cliffs all covered with snow!
Apart from admiring the most stunning landscapes, Baikal offers a lot of other things to do in winter.
You can go skating, tube-sliding, snowmobiling, or ice-biking.
Another unforgettable experience you may get on the lake is dog sledding through the winter forest. In the middle of this incredible dog-sled adventure you will be offered lunch over a campfire — right in the woods!
You can also go hiking across the ice from the mainland to the Olkhon Island.
When going on your winter adventure to Lake Baikal, do not forget to take your warmest clothes along (it gets pretty cold there).
Shamanka Rock (Cape Burkhan) is sometimes called one of the nine shrines of Asia. This place is sacred for the peoples living around Lake Baikal.
According to the legend, the rock itself is the habitat of the spirit and ruler of the Olkhon island named Khan Khute-Baabai. Khan lives in 3 places: in heaven, in the underworld, and on earth (this is the Shamanka rock).
Having two peaks, the rock consists of crystalline limestone-marble. Red lichens densely cover its surface. There is also a through cave, which, according to ancient beliefs, only a shaman could visit.