Lake Baikal is a rift lake in the south of the Russian region of Siberia.


Lake Baikal is a rift lake in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between the Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast.

Lake Baikal is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world's unfrozen surface fresh water, and at 1,642 m (5,387 ft), the deepest. It is also among the clearest of all lakes, and thought to be the world's oldest lake at 25 million years.

Similar to Lake Tanganyika, Lake Baikal was formed as an ancient rift valley, having the typical long crescent shape with a surface area of 31,722 km2 (12,248 sq mi). Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It is also home to Buryat tribes who reside on the eastern side of Lake Baikal, rearing goats, camels, cattle and sheep, where the regional average temperatures vary from a minimum of -19 C (-2 F) in winter to maximum of 14 C (57 F) in summer. Lake Baikal is nicknamed "Older sister of Sister Lakes (Lake Kho"vsgo"l and Lake Baikal)".

Amazingly beautiful lake, a unique creation of nature, crystal clear water ... I guess everyone is more or less heard of the deepest lake on the planet. What do you know more about Lake Baikal?

Baikal is located almost in the center of Eurasia, including high ridges Baikal mountain area. At length the lake extends for 636 km in width - 80 km. On the area of Lake Baikal is 31 470 km2, which is comparable to the area of Belgium (in this European country with large cities and industrial centers are home to almost 10 million people). The maximum depth of the lake - 1637 km - can rightly be called Baikal the deepest in the world (average depth - 730 m). African Lake Tanganyika, which is among the deepest lakes in the world, "behind" from Baikal to 200 m from the thirty largest island is Olkhon.

Baikal fill three hundred thirty-six permanent rivers and streams, and half of the water brings the Selenga. As follows from the lake is the only one river - the Angara. To estimate the volume of Lake Baikal, imagine that under ideal conditions (that will not fall and not a drop to evaporate from the surface), the Angara, carrying 60.9 km3 of water annually, will need 387 years of continuous operation to drain the lake! In addition, Lake Baikal - oldest lake on the planet, his age variously estimated 20-30 million years.

Clean, clear Baikal water, oxygen-rich, long considered to be curative. Thanks to the activity of living organisms that live in it, the water is slightly mineralized (almost distilled), which explains its crystal clarity. In the spring of clear water is 40 meters!

Lake Baikal is rich in biodiversity. It hosts 1,085 species of plants and 1,550 species and varieties of animals. More than 80% of the animals are endemic. Epischura baikalensis is endemic to Lake Baikal and the dominating zooplankton species there, making up 80 to 90 percent of total biomass. The Baikal Seal or nerpa (Pusa sibirica) is found throughout Lake Baikal. It is one of only three entirely freshwater seal populations in the world, the other two being subspecies of Ringed Seal. Perhaps the most important local species is the omul (Coregonus autumnalis migratorius), a smallish endemic salmonid. It is caught, smoked and then sold widely in markets around the lake.

Baikal is the repository of the world's 20% and 90% of Russian reserves of fresh water. For comparison - this is more than the supply of water in five American Great Lakes combined! Baikal ecosystem provides about 60 km3 of fresh water per year.

Amazing and diverse flora and fauna of Lake Baikal, which makes it unique in this regard among other freshwater lakes. Who has not heard of the famous Baikal cisco? In addition to his usual lake whitefish, flax, salmon - representatives of the salmon family. Sturgeon, hariusovye, schukovye, carp, catfish, cod, perch - this is not a complete list of families of fish found in the lake. Not to mention the Baikal seal, which is the sole representative of the mammals in the lake. Fall on rocky shores you can see numerous aggregations of Baikal seals. Seal - not the only inhabitant of the coasts, and many gulls, mergansers, goldeneye, Turpanov, Ogar, White-tailed eagle, osprey, and other birds nesting on the shores and islands. In addition to all the above can be seen on Baikal massive landfall of brown bears.

The flora and fauna of Baikal endemic. 848 species (15%) and 133 species (15%) do not occur in any body of water the earth.

The uniqueness and beauty of the lake each year attracts more and more tourists, including foreign ones. This also helps to develop the infrastructure. Therefore, the main objective is to preserve the integrity of the ecosystem of the lake.

Of particular note are the two species of golomyanka or Baikal oil fish (Comephorus baicalensis and C. dybowskii). These long-finned, translucent fish normally live in depths of 200500 m (6501,600 ft) and are the primary prey of the Baikal seal, representing the largest fish biomass in the lake. The Baikal grayling (Thymallus arcticus baicalensis), a fast swimming salmonid, popular among anglers and the Baikal sturgeon (Acipenser baerri baicalensis), are both important endemic species with commercial value. The lake also hosts rich endemic fauna of invertebrates. Among them turbellarian worms, snails and amphipod crustaceans are particularly diverse.

The watershed of Lake Baikal has numerous flora species represented. The marsh thistle, Cirsium palustre, is found here at the eastern limit of its geographic range

Many birds nest on the shores and islands of the lake. Mass flow rate of the banks of brown bears observed during departure mayflies. The flora and fauna of Baikal endemic to 2/3. More than 1,000 species of plants and animals found in any body of water the earth. The lake is home to more than half of all species of oligochaetes, ostracods, and almost half of all species of freshwater mussels. Only a few of Baikal endemics are found in the hangar - the only river that flows out of the lake. Baikal is unique because of its natural features. Here, in one year there are more sunny days than on the Black Sea near Sochi.

Several organizations are carrying out natural research projects on Lake Baikal. Most of them are governmental or associated with governmental organizations. The Baikal Research Centre is an independent research organization carrying out environmental educational and research projects at Lake Baikal.

In July 2008, Russia sent two small submersibles, Mir-1 and Mir-2, to descend 1,592 m (5,223 ft) to the bottom of Lake Baikal to conduct geological and biological tests on its unique ecosystem. Although originally reported as being successful, they did not set a world record for the deepest fresh water dive, reaching a depth of only 1,580 m (5,180 ft). That record is currently held by Anatoly Sagalevich, at 1,637 m (5,371 ft) (also in Lake Baikal aboard a Pisces submersible in 1990). Russian scientist and federal politician, Artur Chilingarov, the leader of the mission, also took part in the Mir dives

Primitive and ancient kayak paddle as the world - that is all that is needed to strengthen the body and calm the mind. You temporarily forget about the existence of drowning in the gray mist of the city, about the endless urgent matters and eternal vanity. You will return back to where you came from, where it should always be - you get back to nature. It will be around you in the form of beautiful mountains, grasslands, taiga, and the air filled with the smell of the sea, rocks and flowers, below you - in the form of crystal clear water, over you - as a bottomless blue sky, white clouds and dazzling hot sun, night-yielding crazy place placer stars. You will see the majestic cliffs that Time itself creates amazing grottoes and caves, mysterious rock art - the creation of ancestors, cozy coves and bays. You will see Baikal, can touch it and try to understand. In the meantime, I invite you to a virtual tour of Lake Baikal, where I have visited. And if you are imbued with magic lake and respect for the Great Lakes, I will assume that it is not wasting time creating this site.

The lake, nicknamed "the Pearl of Siberia", drew investors from the tourist industry as energy revenues sparked an economic boom. Viktor Grigorov's Grand Baikal in Irkutsk is one of the investors, who planned to build three hotels creating 570 jobs. In 2007, the Russian government declared the Baikal region a special economic zone. The popular resort of Listvyanka is home to the seven-story Hotel Mayak. At the northern part of the lake Baikalplan (a German NGO) built together with Russians in 2009 the Frolikha Adventure Coastline Track a 100 km long Long-distance trail as example for a sustainable development of the region. Baikal was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996. Rosatom plans to build a laboratory in Baikal, in conjunction with an international uranium plant and to invest $2.5 billion in the region and create 2,000 jobs in the city of Angarsk.

How to get to Lake Baikal

First you need to get into one of the largest cities near the lake. For example, in Irkutsk. It trains and airplanes fly. Irkutsk is located 70 km from the lake, the city has several places where you can deliver at a point in the coast of the lake, it is:

Station (trains and trains); Bus (buses, taxis and "leftists"); pier "Rocket" (ships, yachts, it should be noted that the navigation lasts 2-2.5 months in the second half of June to end of August); Central Market (taxis).

To the shores of Lake Baikal can be reached in several ways, depending on the location in which you need to get:

On Baikal Railway can be reached in the following ways:

On the train to get to the south coast (Kultuk, Slyudyanka). Travel time 2.5-3 hours. You can leave early, at the "Dark Pad" where the well-packed trail (all the way down) for about an hour walk from the shore of Lake Baikal in the river left Angasolka (149-km CBRY).

On the boat "Sunrise" to Port Baikal (73-km CBRY).

Bus to the Listvyanka settlement, then to Port Baikal ferry (runs all year).

A tourist train "Circum-Baikal Express", which runs from 2003 to the route Irkutsk Port Baikal Irkutsk from early summer to mid autumn.

There is a road from Irkutsk to Kultuk and Slyudyanka. From Irkutsk bus station in this area buses (in my opinion - is the worst-case scenario).

In Listvyanka (village Listvenichnoe) you can get:

By bus or taxi from the bus station Irkutsk (takes 1 hour). On the boat, which runs from the pier "Rocket" (takes 1-1.5 hours).

Prior to the Small Sea and the island of Olkhon can be reached:

by buses and taxis Irkutsk Khuzhir (takes about 8 hours) and Irkutsk-MPC (takes about 7 hours).

On the ship "Comet" flying Irkutsk Nizhneangarsk calling at bay Zagli on Olkhon.

On the boat "Barguzin" flying from Irkutsk to Ust-Barguzin with entering into the bay and the village Zagli Khuzhir on Olkhon.

The cities and Severobaikalsk Nizhneangarsk:

On the train from Irkutsk to Severobaikalsk (walks through the day, but there are passing trains). The journey takes around 40 hours. On the ship "Comet" (2-3 times a week, the journey takes about 12 hours). "Comet" is to Nizhneangarsk calling at Severobaikalsk. With a large amount of cargo to keep in mind that to Port Baikal, where it is change to "Comet", will take you to the ship "Voskhod".

To the bay Sandy two or three times a week, walking the ship "Barguzin". Time is about 6 hours.

To the town of Big Cats walks ship "Voskhod" (takes 1.5 hours).

In the village of Big Goloustnoye once a week there is a bus (it takes about 3.5 hours).

In the village Buguldeika once a week there is a bus (takes about 5.5 hours).

Chivyrkuy Bay there is a road from Irkutsk (east Selenga large part of the road is in a horrific state), but there is no regular communication. Get to Chivyrkuy Bay as follows:

On the train to Ulan-Ude, then by bus or minibus to the village of Ust-Barguzin remaining 25 miles - on a passing transport. If resources permit, or group rides, the best way to organize a meeting in Ulan-Ude, followed by delivery Chivyrkuy. Find people who met and dovezut can on our forum.

On the boat "Barguzin" flying from Irkutsk to Ust-Barguzin Chivyrkuisky calling at bay.

The most visited places west coast of Lake Baikal:

All the Small Sea coast;

Western (Maloe) shore of Olkhon;

Sandy Bay and its surroundings;

Baikal Railway;

north-west coast of the city to the village Severobaikalsk Baikal;

any place can be reached by car.

If you like to relax in the midst of the people, delighting hearing heart-rending howl around the clock pop, water bikes roar and thunder overhead trike - choose any of the listed place. If you want peace and quiet, then you need to look for places inaccessible. They still are even on the island, but getting there will have either on foot or by water. I note that the silence of the most visited places too, sometimes, but outside of the summer season. Unfortunately, with the hubbub persist unsightly effects Molodetsky pastime.

Baikal walk runs along the coast, but it is not a simple walk. Dared to such a trip would have to overcome the rapid flow and climb high into the mountains to get around the many kilometers of clamps.

On the western shore of Lake Baikal popular following routes:

Listvyanka - Small Sea (about 260 km). The route is not easy and usually do not go all over. Start and finish it at any point, having links with the outside world is: Listvyanka, Big Cats, Big Goloustnoye, Buguldeika, MRS (Sahyurte), Sandy Bay and Dry.

Olkhon Island. Manages the entire perimeter, but easily just west bank (the only difficulty here - in the north it is difficult to get to the water). East Coast - mountain and steep - much harder in a few places have significantly removed from the coast to get around impassable clamps.

Settlement Onguren - Cape Elokhin (about 140 km). Beautiful, difficult route really wild places, as it is for the most part on the territory of the Baikal-Lena Reserve. Until Onguren a road, and the Cape Elokhin often comes "Comet" operating between Irkutsk and Nizhneangarsk. The dead from the cape can go up to the source of the river Lena.

Cape Elokhin - Baikal village (about 130 km). This route is also well suited lovers of peace and wildlife. Baikal is the road out of the city Severobaikalsk.

Cape Kotelnikovsky - Guitar Lake (about 30 km). A relatively short trip along the river to Lake Gorgol and grief Chersky - the highest mark of the Baikal Mountains.

There are places on Baikal, where to go absolutely should not be - the south-east coast, where the world-famous giant industry - the Baikal Pulp and Paper Mill, subtle flavors which sometimes envelop the coast for miles around.

As of summer 2006, the cellular phone is fully covered shore of Lake Baikal from Listvyanka to the southern end of the lake and on to the Selenga delta, including the delta, about to settlement Dubinino (operators MTS and "BaikalWestCom").

In the northern part of Lake Baikal mobile Bright worked on the island, in the villages and Nizhneangarsk Severobaikalsk (MTS "BaikalWestCom").

Olkhon Island and the village of IFAs (Sahyurte) cellular communication also have, at times, not very high quality (MTS, "Megaphone" and "BaikalWestCom").

On the eastern shore of Lake Baikal from the village of Ust-Barguzin to settlement Kurbulik works "Megaphone".

The village is only large Goloustnoye MTS.

Where and when you can swim in the lake.

Many private and / or shallow bays of Lake Baikal during the summer season (mid-July to mid-August) warmed up quite a comfortable temperature (above 20 C). First of all, it's bays Mukhor, Chivyrkuisky, Barguzin, failure Ambassadorial Sor, Bright Island. It should be borne in mind that, if happen to the average force storm, the water temperature can drop to 10 degrees and a few days of swimming will have to wait. On the other hand, in the summer on Lake Baikal happen calms of 5-7 days, and then the temperature of the water, not only in private, but in the open deep bays can achieve quite acceptable temperature, but, again, up to the first storm.

When severe autumn storm jumbled Baikal water, the lake and the mountains covered with snow, and the Siberian winter vystudyat of water last stretch of summer heat, Baikal slowly, as if reluctantly starts covered ice cap. First stable ice cover is formed in the second half of November, in the shallow bays. The deep part of the lake are covered with ice from the north of Lake Baikal. Here comes the ice formation in early January and only two weeks later ice binds southern Baikal.

Lake Baikal in winter.

On long-term observations, the average date of freezing lake Jan. 9 opening - May 4. But the lake can fight colds and longer, the latest date of freezing lake on February 6, the earliest opening - April 17.

A leisurely pictures gradual spread of the ice cover in the north to the south is usually no. Fierce winds Baikal repeatedly breaking into seemingly already established ice. Particularly successful in this mountain wind, mighty squalls which, falling to Lake Baikal and the coastal mountain ranges, can break the ice, which reaches a thickness of 30 centimeters. The process of freezing lake is long - about two months, and the Baikal gets much later the local rivers and lakes.

The first European to reach the lake is said to be Kurbat Ivanov in 1643.

In the past, the Baikal was respectfully referred to by many Russians as the "Baikal Sea" (Russian: , More Baikal), rather than merely "Lake Baikal" (Russian: , Ozero Baikal). This usage is attested already on the late-17th century maps by Semyon Remezov. To these days, the strait between the western shore of the Lake and the Olkhon Island is called Maloye More ( ), i.e. "the Little Sea".

According to 19th century traveler T. W. Atkinson, locals in the Lake Baikal Region had the tradition that Christ visited the area:

The people have a tradition in connection with this region which they implicitly believe. They say "that Christ visited this part of Asia and ascended this summit, whence he looked down on all the region around. After blessing the country to the northward, he turned towards the south, and looking across the Baikal, he waved his hand, exclaiming 'Beyond this there is nothing.'" Thus they account for the sterility of Daouria, where it is said "no corn will grow."

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