Lake Baikal is sublime and diverse, it can be quiet and calm like a giant mirror, it can be furious, foaming and attacking granite rocks, it can be almost completely icebound during the coldest time of the year… The deepest lake on the planet, more than a mile deep, covering an area that is approximately equal to Belgium or Netherlands. Spring water in the lake is so clear that each stone or other underwater objects are visible at a depth of 40 m. From the early January to the early May Baikal is covered with thick ice, which cracks due to severe frost with a sound resembling thunder or cannon shots, revealing the ice caves on the banks… On the lake and around it there are many picturesque natural sites, monuments of history and archeology. The Shaman-stone was considered the home of the master of the Angara, Ama Sagan Noyon. The rock was a sacred place for prayers and important shamanic rituals. Here was also the place of justice: the offender was left on the stone for the night, and if at night Baikal didn’t take him washing off with the waves, the offender was justified. Chivyrkuisky Bay is located in the Trans-Baikal National Park. By area (about 270 km²) it is second only to Barguzinsky bay. The depth of Chivyrkui Bay does not exceed 10 meters, so it can be heated up to +24 ° C, and in calm weather each blade of grass and schools of fish can be seen at the bottom. The bay is rich in fish – it is home to perch, roach and pike, and it is a popular place among fishermen. In the Zmeinaya Bay there is a thermal natural spring, which helps in the treatment of radiculitis and musculoskeletal diseases. On the shore of the Gulf Barguzinsky is the longest sandy beach of Lake Baikal. There are many tourist facilities and pensions, and Barguzinskaya valley that is adjacent to the Gulf is famous for its mineral springs and scenic mountain ranges loved by alpinists and trekkers. Cape Rock Shaman also known as cape Burhan of Olkhon Island was considered the abode of the chief deity of Lake Baikal, and Shaman Rock – one of the nine holy places of Asia. In ancient times, on the Cape were committed various rites and sacrifices. There are numerous legends about the cave in the Shaman rock.
Circum-Baikal Railway (CBRY) is a unique monument of engineering, built from 1896 to 1900. Due to its cost, size and complexity of the work it was called the “Golden buckle of the steel belt of Russia”. It contains a huge number of tunnels, bridges, viaducts, retaining walls. You can take a one- or two-day tour of the CBRY with the Circum-Baikal Express or retro-train “Baikal cruise”. The trains stop at the most beautiful places along the way.
Lake Baikal is a real natural wonder, which has no analogues anywhere on the planet. From the ancient times it has become the center of shamanism throughout the entire eastern hemisphere, a place to communicate with the spirits, to perfom various mystical rituals and practices, and it remained so to this day for a reason – fascinating view and natural purity of this place will imbue anyone with it’s astonishing and truly magical atmosphere.