Numerous, sometimes the most unexpected and original legends of Lake Baikal testify to the enormous importance that the lake had in the life of people at all times. And not only in terms of hunting, fishing, or any other human activity.
The sacredness of this place is comparable to the riddles of Stonehenge or the Nazca Plateau. Even the winds here have their names and their legends. The most famous of these places of power are Olkhon and Cape Ryty.
Scientists suggest that the age of Lake Baikal is about 30 million years. The first man’s sites on its shores are 20–25 thousand years old. By human standards, this is only three weeks from the life of an eighty-year-old man.
A trip to Lake Baikal for a spiritual person can not do without visiting this only inhabited among the 27 Baikal islands. Here is the Shamanka rock – the “navel” of Lake Baikal, the house of the Ezhin (spirit) – the owner of the lake.
Shamanka rock on Lake Baikal
Shamans of all Siberian lands came here to perform the most important rites. And on the neighboring island of Ogoy in 2005, a Buddhist suburgan (stupa) “Top of Enlightenment”, a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists around the world, was erected.
Her-Khushun is an angry cape where, according to the legend, the evil spirit of Uher-noion, the father of seven winds, awakened by the ancient battle of three shamans and three heroes from the Buryat, Yakut and Evenki tribes for owning lands, lives on.
Cape Ryty on Lake Baikal
Since then, visiting this place of power has been a taboo for local residents, because according to the stories of old-timers, strange and terrible things happen here. A stone wall exactly 333 meters long leads archaeologists to the hypothesis of a mysterious settlement not mentioned in any source.
Healing water of Arshans
The Sanskrit word “rashiani”, transformed into the Buryat “arshan”, means the drink of the gods, nectar. The healing springs, generously scattered near Lake Baikal, bring relief to patients and the healing of a wide variety of ailments.
Arshany (hot springs) of Baikal
These are the hot arshans of the Barguzin Valley, the Allinsky and Kuchigersky springs, the silver Buksahan, balneological baths of the Zhemchug village and hundreds of others.
The uniqueness of the Baikal biosphere goes beyond the usual notions of nature. Endemic species of flora and fauna make up 70% of the total ecosystem, which led to the creation of several nature reserves and national parks in the Baikal region. The first in Russia back in 1916 was the Barguzinsky Reserve on the east coast.
Barguzinsky nature reserve on Baikal
For the west coast, this was Baikal-Lensky, and in the southeast – Baikal reserves. Together with them, five nature reserves and two national parks encircle the Glorious Sea almost completely, being essentially the genetic bank of the animal and plant world. Seven-hundred-year-old larch and hundred-kilogram sturgeons, an elegant seal and the famous omul are just a negligible part of Baikal’s natural wonders.
The Circum-Baikal Railway is an example of man-made wonders. This is an example of the art of mining engineers, without which a trip to Lake Baikal by train would be impossible.
Circum-Baikal Railway on Baikal
The Trans-Siberian Railway is the “steel belt of Russia”, and the Circum-Baikal Railway is its “gold buckle”, which connected the two branches of the Great Siberian Route, which met at Lake Baikal.
Interesting facts – 38 tunnels, the longest of which is 777 m, 248 bridges, 15 stone galleries, etc. – make the Circum-Baikal Railway the record holder in the number of works per kilometer and an outstanding monument of Russian engineering.
Attractions of Baikal – Circum-Baikal Railway
Having lost its former significance in the middle of the last century, now the Circum-Baikal Railway is presented for excursions as a dead end branch on the northern side of the western end of the lake.
Rest on Baikal in the summer
Three hundred sunny days a year – not one region of Russia can boast of such a quantity of sunshine. Fans of passive, contemplative relaxation will find a lot of sandy beaches on the Baikal coast from quite modern, with tourist infrastructure, to completely deserted virgin places where you can escape from all over the world, spending your vacation in a tent.
Rest on Baikal in the summer
For bathing, the warm bays of the resorts on the east coast of Maksimikha, Goryachinsk, Posolsky and Chivyrkuisky are suitable. In the Small Sea, the Kurkut and Mukhor bays.
Lake Baikal attracts supporters of an active lifestyle in summer with yachting, diving, hiking, horseback riding and cycling, fishing, mountain climbing, rafting and kayaking.
Summer holidays on Baikal
Any stay near Baikal will give a person peace of mind so necessary in the modern world, add physical strength, improve health.