During the 5 days tour you will learn the most interesting places of Irkutsk city, “Trans Siberian golden buckle” – Circum Baikal railway road, the gates to Baikal – Listvyanka, buryat national folklore performance. In the end of the tour you will visit Olkhon Island – the heart of Baikal. This island is the historical and sacred centre of the lake.
Tour destination: Irkutsk – Listvyanka – Circum Baikal railway road – Olkhon Island – Irkutsk.
English speaking guide service during the whole tour!
Upon arrival you will be met at the airport/railway station by our English-speaking guide. Then you will be offered breakfast.
Afterwards, you will be invited to take a city tour through historical part of Irkutsk. There are about 700 historical and cultural monuments in Irkutsk. The most interesting parts of the city were built by its 350 year anniversary. We will see most of them during our excursion.
We will start our tour from the Spasskaya Church – the place where the stockade town of Irkutsk was founded by Yakov Pokhabov in 1661. Then we’ll go on to the famous Epiphany Cathedral, the Polish Church, the Eternal flame and the Moscow gates. Later, we’ll move to the Znamenskiy Monastery– there you will also see the necropolis where Ekaterina Trubetskaya, a wife of the exiled Decembrist, is buried. The grave of Grigory Shelikhov, the founder of the Russian-American company also known as “the Russian Columbus”, is located here as well. Nearby the Monastery gates there is a monument to Alexander Kolchak.
Transfer to Listvyanka settlement.
On our way to Listvyanka we will visit the museum of wooden architecture Taltsy. It contains 40 history and architecture monuments and 8000 exhibits of great historic importance. The first wooden buildings of the museum were removed from the floodable zone of Ust-Ilimsk reservoir. The museum was founded in 1966. On 20th February 1995 the Russian Federation President issued a decree about making Museum Taltsy an object of national history and culture heritage. During the tour to Taltsy museum you`ll see 13 architecture complexes with 36 wooden buildings on the territory of the museum. They get the visitors acquainted with material and spiritual culture of Near-Baikal nationalities – Russians, Buryats, Evenks. The museum expositions tell about everyday life, customs and traditions of Near-Baikal nationalities in late 19th / early 20th century. Original and magnificent Siberian folk architecture attracts a special attention of tourists.
Stop at the observation area opposite the famous Shaman Stone. The Angara is 1779 km long and is the only river flowing out of Lake Baikal. Its source is the widest in the world, it does not freeze during the most severe Siberian winters (width – 863 m , maximum depth – 4.8 m, speed – 5.1 km/h). In the middle of the river, at its head, rises a rock cliff 1.5 m high protected by the state as a natural relic mentioned in the legends of old times.
Visit to the Baikal Museum. The museum was established in 1928 when the Baikal Limnological Station opened in the village of Listvyanka (since 1961 – the Limnological Institute). Every year the Baikal Museum has more than 30,000 visitors. The unique exhibits tell about the origin and the history of the lake, its flora and fauna, geological structure, climate and tectonics of Prebaikalye.
You will see: stuffed birds and animals; collection of minerals; exhibits found in scientific expeditions models of the lake bed showing its history, the peculiarities of its shoreline and bottom. And also Baikal fish (omul, golomyanka, kharius, sturgeon, taimen, pike); Microorganisms inhabiting Baikal waters and destroying everything that might pollute the lake.
Walking tour of Krestovka village with a visit to St. Nicholas’ Church. Legend has it that Russian merchant Serebriakov was caught in a storm out on the lake and prayed to St. Nicholas (Protector of Navigators) for help. His prayers were answered and on his safe return he began to build a church to thank the saint (in 1846). Unfinished when he died, the church was completed by the merchant’s wife. Located in Listvyanka village, the residents attend service held in the church. In the 1950-s the building was restored and many icons from other churches of Irkutsk were brought there among which are some rare items dating back to the 18th century.
Afterwards, you will be accommodated at the hotel (comfort double/twin rooms).
Meals included: breakfast, dinner
After breakfast you will be transferred to the pier to take the ferry and go to the village Port Baikal. Arrival at Port Baikal village. Boarding in the train. Departure for a full day excursion by Circumbaikal rail road.
The Circum Baikal Railroad also known as KBZhD (according to its Russian abbreviated form) was the part of the main Trans-Siberian railroad until the middle of the 20th century (before the Hydro Power Electric Station was built in Irkutsk and the part of this road got to the flooded area).
The railroad is truly a unique historical line. It was built more than a hundred years ago, and is an outstanding landmark to the construction and engineering art.
Arrival in the city. Transter to the hotel.
Meals included: breakfast, lunch box
Please note: the tour can be replaced by a boat cruise.
Higher category of accommodation is available for an extra charge
After the breakfast you will be transferred to Olkhon Island.
Olkhon, the largest island in Baikal and its heart, was given its name after the Buryat word “oy-khon” which stands for “small forest”. In fact, you can only see the forest in the central part of the island as the Northern and the Southern areas of Olkhon are steppe. Located in the central part of Baikal, almost above its deepest point (1637 m/5370 ft), and shaped similarly to the lake, Olkhon has a uniquely diverse landscape typical of that of Baikal shores.
On our way there we will stop by the settlement of Ust-Orda – the place where Buryat customs and traditions are passed on through generations. Buryats represent one of the largest ethnic groups inhabiting Siberia.
During our excursion to Ust-Orda you will get acquainted with Buryat folklore, games and Shaman rituals.
Lunch at a local cafe.
Arrival on the Island.
After that you will be offered a hiking tour to the Burkhan Cape (also known as the Shamanka stone), one of the nine sanctuaries of Asia. The Shamanka stone was greatly revered by people. Since the first Shamans appeared, it was the place for vows and sacrifices.
Dinner at the tourist camp.
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Breakfast at the tourist camp
Whole-day guided group tour to the northern point of the Island – Khoboy Cape.
The cape is located at the place, where the lake is widest. There is a ground, where all-Olkhon shaman tailagans were conducted. Nerpa, the unique Baikal seal, can often be seen here.
Here you will also find the rock, bearing the same name, Khoboy, which means “claw” in the Buryat language, though the shape of the rock resembles rather a woman’s silhouette with a bust. No wonder they also call is a Maiden-Rock. Your guide will tell you a marvelous legend related to the rock.
The road towards the northern tip of the island will be like riding a jeep-safari since it runs through woods, sandy fields and steppes without any hard surface. The road gets much worse after a rain, that’s why the principle transportation means in those places is UAZ all-roaders.
Olkhon is the biggest Island at Lake Baikal. It is situated right in the middle of the lake.
The word Olkhon means “sunny place” in Buryat language. It was said that Baikal is the heart of Siberia, and Olkhon is the heart of Baikal. It is a geographical, historical and sacral center of the lake.
Meals included: breakfast, dinner
Breakfast at the tourist camp. Afterwards you will be transferred to Irkutsk. The end of the tour.
Meals included: breakfast
The tour price includes:
• Accommodation in Irkutsk, Listvyanka, Olkhon Island;
• Meals according to the program (if not specified as at own expense);
• Excursions according to the tour program and museums entrance fees, Circum Baikal railway road fee, hiking tour to Burkhun Cape, automobile tour to Khoboy Cape, visiting Ust-Orda (shaman, folklore performance);
• All the transfers along the route;
• Guide service during the whole tour.
The tour price does not include:
• Plane or train charges to Irkutsk from departure as well as plane or train charges to the next destination upon the program’s completion;
• Meals, if specified as independently and at own expense by the program;
• Dishes and drinks not included into the main menu according to the program;
• Additional services listed in the program but specified as at additional charge or not listed in the program;
• Higher category of accommodation / additional charge for the single accomodation.
Please note: The order of excursions can be changed.