Lake Baikal - the blue gem of the Siberia


Baikal is the deepest lake in the whole world and it’s located in the southern part of Eastern Siberia — the region in the Asian part of Russia. It is located at the very border between the Irkutsk region (Irkutskaya Oblast)and the Republic of Buryatiya and has a shape of a giant half-moon. Besides, it’s the biggest reservoir of fresh water on Earth and the depth of Baikal is1,167 meters lower than the World ocean level. Its maximum depth is 1,642 meters which were learned in 1983. The square of the Baikal water surface equals the size of such European countries as, for example, the Netherlands or Belgium. Baikal is ranked number seven at the top of the biggest world’s lakes. Besides, plants which grow there, are rare and endemic, and there are a lot of their kinds, so Lake Baikal even surpasses the Galapagos Islands and Madagascar init.

Baikal is a sacred place for those who live there. It’s often called “the sacred Sea”, “the Blue Eye of Siberia”, “the Diamond of the Planet”. The Baikal water is very unique for it’s not only just clean and fresh — it contains a very small amount of mineral salts, which makes this water distilled. It also contains a lot of oxygen. Almost 300 rivers and streams flow in Baikal, but only one river called the Angara flows out of it. This river is the biggest afflux of another Siberian river — the Yenisei, which is considered to be one of the world's greatest rivers. There is also about 20 island in the Lake Baikal, and the biggest one is Olkhon — the unique island which contains different types of natural landscapes, like, for example, steppes and Baltic sand beaches at the same time. It’s where the sun shines almost all year round, so Olkhon is definitely a place to be for those who love sunbathing and don’t like raining cats and dogs. But, to be honest, the temperature of the water is not so high as one might think. Lake Baikal is quite cold even in August, despite the fact it’s the warmest month in almost all the Russian territory. The water temperature influences all the places near the lake. The winter there is usually mild, but the summer is quite cool. Spring comes there a little bit late, but the fall lasts longer.

The best time to travel to Lake Baikal is from May through to October. Summer is the best time for hiking, excursions, fishing, riding jeeps along the coast, and swimming. Besides it, one may enjoy the beaches here, and yachting as well. In wintertime, people come to Lake Baikal for skiing mostly, but such activities as riding snowmobiles, dog harnesses, skating, and mountain skiing are very popular there. One may choose a comfortable hotel for staying, but there are also stylized Mongolian yurts (nomad’s tents).

You can reach Lake Baikal from Moscow only. The plane from there reaches Irkutsk in something like six and a half hours, and then almost three hours are left till the place of your accommodation — usually, there are some shuttles or buses.

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