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Excursions in the Lake Baikal region

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If your time is limited, and you plan only a short stop in the Lake Baikal region, but you want your time to be well spent and you want to discover something new, visit interesting places, experience new things...

I would like recommend you some possibilities for the interesting excursions:

Excursion to the Ivolginskij Tempel (40 km from Ulan-Ude).
This is a unique Buddhist temple complex widely known abroad Russia. Most of the guests who visit Republic of Buryatia seek to visit this temple surrounded with a picturesque neighborhood. Here you will learn the history of how Buddhism penetrated into Russia, will find out about the Dashi Tchojkhorling Institute. The name means "wheel of learning, which brings happiness". Here future lamas, healers and specialists in Oriental and Tibetan culture study. You can visit an actrologer or a specialist in Tibetan medicine. And on festive days you may get a chance to see the imperishable unique body of Pandido-Khambo Lama Dashi Dorjo Itigelov.
Visit to the Ivolginsky Datsan

Visit to the Ivolginsky Datsan

Acquaintance with the capital of Buryatia – Ulan-Ude.
During the excursion you will learn the history of the city that once was a small winter village on the steep bank of the Uda River and then grew into a prominent city of merchants Verkhneudinsk. Old merchants' villas built in the 18th and 19th centuries, Odigitrievski Cathedral constructed in the style of “Siberian baroque”, a striking Soviet square and the biggest sculptured head of Lenin, a unique Opera and Ballet theatre, numerous museums, all this together with harmoniously interwoven Western and Eastern traditions will leave indelible impressions.

Acquaintance with the village of Old Believers.
During the visit to an authentic village of Old Believers (“semeiskie”) in the Baikal region you will about the culture of Old Believers which is included into UNESCO world heritage. You will learn about customs and traditions of the “semeiskie” people, will hear unique ancient folk songs, take part in traditional games and joyful dances. You will learn the facts about how a traditional house of Old Believers is built and will get acquainted with its household objects the history of which dates back to ancient times. And of course no one will be left indifferent with the richly laid table: Russian borshch, boild potatoes fried with lard, mushrooms in marinade, vegetable salads, berry pies, home-made kvass.
Visit to the Old Believers' village

Visit to the Old Believers' village

Acquaintance with the Buryat village.
It is a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the way of life of the nomad Buryats and dive into their traditions, culture and everyday life. A yurta is settled in one of the most picturesque places in the neighborhoud of Ulan-Ude where the hosts meet guests with a greeting song. Getting inside the yurta guests learn about household objects and take their seats in accord with a tradition. In this cozy, warm atmosphere the hosts treat the guests with the dishes made by the same recipes that were used during Genghis Khan time. The meal is accompanied with telling Buryat folk legends, demonstration of a unique in its kind throat singing, slow Buryat songs and dances. The guests are offered to take part in a Buryat folk dance Jokhor and get acquainted with some traditional folk games: archery, fight, Shage game (dice).

Excursion to the Selenga River Delta.
The Delta of the Selenga River is the most beautiful and picturesque place where the river joins to the huge amounts of water of the Lake Baikal. Also it is a key ornithological territory of Eastern Siberia. You will explore numerous channels, see islands where rare species of waterfowl and semi-aquatic birds nest, visit the oldest lighthouse in Baikal region and the boarder of the Kabansky nature reserve. You will also try dishes of the traditional Baikal cuisine and just enjoy the harmony of untouched nature.

One day at Baikal.
For those who don't have much time during the trip to our region but for who missing a visit to one of the most admirable lakes in the world would be something inexcusable I offer to discover the sacred Siberian Sea taking a one-day trip to the banks of Baikal. Picturesque landscapes, heady fresh air, captivating facts that the guide will tell about unique Baikal nature, history and traditions of the people living on the ancient Baikal land for centuries and the traditional Baikal cuisine, all this will let you proudly say «Yes, I did visit the lake Baikal!»

Kyakhta – Eastern Gates of the Great China Way.
Kyakhta is an old merchants' town Kyakhta (used to be Troitskosavsk) which once was one of the most important transit points of the Great Tea Way. During the excursion you will get acquainted with unique Siberian architecture of the Kyakhtinskaya Sloboda settlement, hear fascinating facts about the history of the region's developing, commercial relations between the two great empires – Russian and Chinese, about the époque of geographic discoveries in Central Asia. You can visit the Kyakhtinski Museum of Regional Studies named after academician V.A. Obruchev which is the oldest museum in Siberia and is rightly called "miniature of the Hermitage".

Merkitskaya Fortress (Tugnujskaya Valley).
Travelling along a fascinating route to the Tugnujskaya Valley (120 km from Ulan-Ude) you will see a natural outpost of militant Merkits – Tugnujskie columns, the sacred apricot grove of Genghis Khan, ruins of a defensive barrage dating back to the époque of the Huns, a unique natural monument Taban-khurgan (the Five Fingers), mysterious caves with well-preserved petroglyphs, the Bain-Khan Mount which is one of the greatest mounts in Asia, and you will hear many captivating legends and stories about the first campaigns of Genghis Khan.

Buddhist Relics of Buryatia – Buddhist Temples.
In the Republic of Buryatia you can visit the main Buddhist temples and sacred places: Ivolginskij Dazan – the center of Buddhism in the Russian Federation where one of the Buddhist miracles is situated - the imperishable body of Pandido-Khambo Lama Dashi Dorjo Itigelov, Tamchinskij and Murochinskij Datsans – the oldest Buddhist temples in Russia that once used to be the biggest centers of Buddhist philosophic education. If you wish, it is possible to visit an astrologer lama or a specialist in Tibetan medicine.

Along the Baikal Way to the beginnings of the Angara River at Baikal.
Begin your acquaintance with the Lake Baikal through an excursion to an old Siberian village and a fast-developing tourist center of Listvyanka. The road to the village of Listvyanka goes along the right bank of Angara (68 km) – the only river that flows out of Baikal. On your way it is possible to visit a famous museum of wooden architecture open-air museum of "Taltsy". Close to Listvyanka, having a stop at the observation platform you will be able to see the legendary Shaman stone at the beginnings of Angara. Visiting the Baikal Limnological museum you will get to know the history of research in the Lake Baikal, its animal and plant world, you can also have an interactive dive to the bottom of Baikal. Using a cable way or walking on your wish, you will be able to climb up to the Stone of Chersky, from this point you will have an admirable panoramic view to the Khamar-Daban mountain chain, the beginnings of Angara, port of Baikal, and on the other side one can see the pier of Listvyanka where water tours around Baikal begin.

Old Circum-Baiakl railroad.
This is a fascinating excursion along the Circum-Baiakl railroad – a giant historic and architectural, engineering and landscape site where tunnels, drainage systems, retaining walls have been well preserved for a century at the length of 85 km. And all this stands at the background of capes and cliffs of the picturesque Baikal bank. On your wish it is possible to organize a walking tour as well as an excursion ride in a comfortable railway bus (a cabin of a one-carriage diesel train with first-class seats). During the whole way you will hear an interesting story told by the guide about the history of Circum-Baikal railroad building. During the trip a few stops are provided in the most interesting and beautiful places, your can go out of the carriage accompanied by the guide.

"The Heart of Baikal" – the Olkhon Island.
The Island of Olkhon is not only the biggest isle in the lake Baikal, it is also the heart of Baikal, its geographic, historic and sacral center, the mysterious beauty of which attracts people from all the corners of the world since ancient times. An excursion to the Olkhon Island (270 km from Irkutsk) is a good chance to plunge into the world of legends and traditions, enjoy on your way the great landscapes of the sacred Tazheranskaya Steppe and the Small Sea bay, to see one of the nine sacred places of Asia – the famous Shamanka Rock (Burkhan Cape) and the settlements of the ancient civilization of Khurykan, to visit religious places of shamans – Khoboi Cape (the northern end of the isle), marble cape of Sagan-Khushun, the healing lake of Yalginskoe and the lake of Shara-Nur, to get acquainted with the traditional lifestyle of the local people. And all this you will be able to do for a limited amount of time. On your wish it is possible to organize the excursion on land-rovers (UAZ), mountain bikes, horses as well as on foot.

Tunkinskaya Valley + the Arshan Resort.
It is an amazing place where you can not only enjoy miraculous landscapes of the Tunkinsky Alps of the Baikal region, but also restore your strength at the mineral waters of the Arshan Resort. These mineral springs are known for their healing qualities, they are helpful for cardiovascular disorders, nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. The surroundings of the resort are very picturesque. You will see the most famous and interesting places like the sacred place of shamans "Takhmi-Baryaasha" (Tabacco Giving), one of the oldest resorts in Buryatia "Nilova Pustyn", a Buddhist temple "Burkhan-Baabaj". You will be able to take a fascinating walk to the gorge of the mountain river Kyngarga, the bottom of which is paved by Nature with water polished marble, will see a powerful waterfall 6 meters high at the falling edge of which there is a bridge. There are 12 waterfalls on the Kyngarga River. On your wish it is possible to have an interesting horse-ride along a picturesque valley of the Irkut River.

Trekking to the Cherski Peak.
You can take a short trekking-tour to the natural park "The Cherski Peak" and climb up the mountain with the same name (2,090 meters). This fascinating route will let you learn how to cross numerous rivers, you will see picturesque landscapes of the famous mountain chain Khamar-Daban, mountain lakes, the most beautiful waterfalls, you will visit the Starokomarskaya road – the ancient caravan way from Russia to Mongolia and China. And the views of the vast Baikal lands which you can see from this height will let even an amateur mountaineer feel a real winner, a conqueror of the mountain peaks.

Posted by baikaleast 20:29 Archived in Russia Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

5 reasons to go to Lake Baikal

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Dear friends,

I know 5 reasons to go to Lake Baikal. Do you any other ideas?

1. Baikal is the deepest (1637 m) freshwater lake in the world

Among lakes of the world Lake Baikal is at the first place on depth. On the Earth only 6 lakes have the depth more than 500 m. The greatest mark of depth in the southern hollow of Baikal is 1430 m, in the middle - 1637 m, in the northern - 920 m. The bottom of the lake lies 1,285 m below sea level, and is the deepest continental rift on the earth (12977 m). For reference, the deepest point in the Marianas Trench in the Western Pacific Ocean is 11,021 m

2. Baikal is the oldest (25 million years) freshwater lake in the world

Geologists believe that the Baikal has already been in existence in late Palaeogene. Its origination started not less than 25-30 million years ago. In contrast the second oldest lake in China is only 5 million years old and Lake Tahoe is a mere 10,000 years old. Scientists are still debating about the lake's origin. Some are trying to prove that it emerged as a result of tectonic processes of orogenesis, while others consider it as having been formed as a result of the earth's crust gradually subsiding. So far nobody has been proved right point of view.

3. Lake Baikal contains 20% of the world surface unfrozen fresh water

Baikal is in itself the only well of the planet, holding up to 20% of all the world`s unfrozen fresh water (up to 80% of all the fresh water in the Russian federation). In Baikal there are 23.6 thousand cubic milliliters of water, and Baikal water is exceptionally pure. The lake acts as a powerful generator and biofilter producing this water.

4. 70% of flora and fauna of the lake can be found in the area of Baikal only

Lake Baikal is one of the richest out of all the lakes on the planet. According to the latest data Baikal holds 2570 types and subtypes of animals out of which a minimum 56% are endemic (O.A. Timoshkin);More than 2630 types and varieties of animals (1550) and plants (1085), found up nowadays in the lake, almost 2/3 are endemic, have appeared in the lake and are nowhere else to be found on the planet (B.B. Takhteev).

5. Lake Baikal is the cradle for many nations and the home for many cultures

The Siberian inland sea has played a vital role in the historical past of peoples of Asia. According to the archeologists, at different times here many tribes and ethnic groups of different cultures have lived. There are Hunnu, Turks and Mongolian tribes, the ancient Korean, American Indians etc. Up to this day on Lake Baikal there are three major ethnic groups: Evenks, Buryats and Russians. But the ancient culture of Evenk and Buryat people with their holy attitude to the nature, traditional shamanism and unique spiritual songs used to be the dominant at the lake for many centuries until Russian colonization in 17th century. Simply said, centuries of independent life in wild nature have made Siberian Russians reliable, strong, traditional, and nature-respecting. These people differ from central Russians and are respected much in Russia.

Posted by baikaleast 21:53 Archived in Russia Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Baikal... how much this word means...

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Baikal…How much this word means. Have you ever though about it? So, you live in the legendary place of the world and sometimes even don’t know how many reserved secret places are there on our saint Baikal land. These places are very interesting for adventurers, people who are fond of active, perceptive rest.

Now, just imagine…..we are having a trip by the motor boat or canoe (if you really like active rest) in the delta of the Selenga. Boundless water, waterlogged open spaces will prompt that it is probably not the biggest, but definitely one of the biggest fresh river delta in the world. The total square of the delta is 600km², and each meter of it is protected by the world community as a unique marsh area. The birds flying around can please each ornithologist, because they are the representatives of the rarest species. Almost all of them can be found in the Red Book of Russia. They are long-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus), hooded crane (Grus monacha Temminck), white napped crane (Grus vipio), sea-eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), godlewski’s bunting (Emberiza godlewskii Taczanowski) and others. Even if you are just an amateur in ornithology, just enjoy the scenery and sounds, as the number of birds in the area can reach 5 million species in the period of migration. The marshes and steppes, meadows and small lakes, canals and refined willows create the unique picture of the Selenga delta, even if on paper it looks boring. In reality, every second can take your breath away, watching the beauty of the surrounding scenery and the variety of the flora and fauna. Even your imagination can not help you here …
The Selenga River Delta

The Selenga River Delta

Wonderful panoramic view is seen from the watch-tower, which is situated on the territory of the delta. If you take a specialist with you, you may listen to the capturing story about each flying bird. There is even a real beacon, which is the first beacon built on Lake Baikal. Three generations of one family are the kind of “inspectors-watchers” there. In the evening, having rest close to the fire on the one of the islands of the estuary, cooking fish on the sticks, feeling the aroma of the herbs and enjoying the majesty and calmness of the estuary in the sunset, you may finally get sure that you will definitely come back here.

That is not the end of our trip, let’s move to another reserved place of Buryatia. It combines different natural objects, which are unique: the biggest peninsula on the Baikal- Svyatoy Nos, majestic Barguzin mountain ridge, the Ushkanyi islands, the islands of the Chevirkuysky bay, the Chevirkuysky isthmus, the deepest Barguzin bay and the warmest Chevirkuysky bay, which was called “Chevirkysky fairy-tale”. Every step leads you further in the unique world, taking excursions to bays around the island, looking for conciliation from thermal springs and white beaches, adventuring the Plato of the Svyatoy Nos, where you even can meet some inhabitants from the Taiga. It is said that such pure natural places can open the person’s inner world and you will understand who you really are and take the opportunity to see the world from a different point.
Svyatoi Nos peninsula on Baikal

Svyatoi Nos peninsula on Baikal

Here is the next stop of our trip- the Ushkanyi islands: Big, Thin, Long- with their mysterious origin. They attract people by the unique plants, the biggest rookery of the Baikal seal (Nerpa), marble rocks and original climate. For instance, birch trees have black bark, the crowns of trees are flag-shaped. Even a volcano used to be there. The Ushkanyi islands even possess….. an elephant. Frankly speaking you won’t be able to ride it because it is a marble one. It was created by nature, which shaped him on the rock on the shore of the Baikal. The elephant, with the trunk placed in the Baikal is drinking water …
Big Ushkany Island

Big Ushkany Island

It is important to notice that the Ushkanyi islands are the reserved area of the Zabaikalsky National park and the number of visitors are limited, so the tourists must have the special permission of the park’s administration.

One more place, where we offered you to go, strikes with its beauty, riddles and miracles. The Shumack….That is probably a great name for the planet. Though, the Shumack is a kind of a planet with fantastic scenery, craters-lakes on feet of the rocks, iced rivers, picturesque waterfalls, healing springs, and unique energy, heat which can be immediately replaced by the cold, rain and snow even in the middle of the summer and air, which you want to breathe forever. If you want to enjoy not only the romantic atmosphre of the tent camp and the songs sitting around the fire, then we offer to cross the Shumack pass (2750 м) to the valley of the unique mineral springs to the unity of two rivers- The Right and Left Shumack. It won’t be very difficult, but will bring unforgettable impressions of the beauty of the Tunka Alps.
Shumak (Tunka valley in the Lake Baikal region)

Shumak (Tunka valley in the Lake Baikal region)

For a long period of time the place was considered to be sacral. The healing power of the water is legendary. One of the legends tells about the unique event when the hunter, following the wounded deer for several days, finally reached him in the narrow mountain valley. He expected to see weakened animal, but saw the deer standing in the mud, full of energy. He got interested in the properties of the mud and noticed the springs located nearby. So, the healing properties of the springs first appeared. They were visited by hunters and local people. Now it is visited by people from all over Russia not only because it is the unique place in the world but because it has unique energy. If you visit the Shumack once, you will definitely come back to the energy, which can change every person, his body and soul.

It is impossible at once to tell about all the reserved places, worth visiting during expected holidays. The information we have presented to you is only a small part. The Baikal is surrounded by many reserved territories. That is why, it is open for adventures and discoveries.

Posted by baikaleast 06:57 Archived in Russia Tagged ecotourism Comments (1)

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