Planet Baikal

Lake of Records

The words "Baikal" and "most" are found side by side incredibly often: Baikal is the deepest lake in Russia, the deepest freshwater and cleanest lake on the planet, and one of the oldest on Earth. It's not just a water body, it's a whole amazing world, and many of its inhabitants cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Everyone should visit it at least once in their lifetime.

Baikal and Its Records

The lake's name speaks for itself: in translation from Yakut "Bai-khol" means "rich lake". And in whatever language you are told about the amazing water body, the words "Baikal" and "most" will always occur side by side. Baikal is the deepest lake in Russia. Its maximum depth reaches 1,642 meters, which is comparable to the height of three Ostankino towers! It is the deepest freshwater lake on Earth, it contains about 20% of the world's fresh water reserves. And it is one of the oldest lakes on the planet: it appeared about 25 million years ago as a result of subsidence of rock formation. The water of Lake Baikal is so clean that you can safely drink directly from the lake. It is not surprising that Baikal is listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Two-thirds of local flora and fauna species are endemic, they cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The most unusual among the local species is the viviparous Baikal oilfish: this fish consists of fat by one third and is so transparent that you can read a newspaper through it. And perhaps the most famous is the Baikal ring seal. This species of freshwater seals lives in Baikal only, and seals are the only mammals in the lake. Scientists are still wondering how seals got so far from the sea and how they manage to do what no other living creature on Earth is capable of: to suspend pregnancy until better times in adverse conditions.

The most famous inhabitant of the lake is the Baikal ring seal. This species of freshwater seals lives in Baikal only. Scientists are still wondering how seals got so far from the sea.

Lake of the Sun

Baikal is welcoming at any time of the year. The lake is so large (its area is 31,500 square kilometers) that storms are common here, and waves can get as high as 4-5 meters. But bad weather never lingers for a long time. It is not without reason that Baikal is called the Lake of the Sun: the number of sunshine hours per year reaches 2,200.

In the summer, a huge number of tourists are eager to see Olkhon, the largest of the islands on Lake Baikal with an area of over 700 square kilometers, and its beauties: the unique symbol of Lake Baikal Shamanka rock, the ancient Kurykan wall at Cape Khorgoy, and the dunes of Peschanoye stow. It is quite possible to swim at the beaches of Lake Baikal in the warm months, the warmest water will be in the Baikal bays: they are shallow and the water warms up well.

In Cold Weather

The lake is particularly picturesque in autumn: bright, like flames, larches on the hills reflect in its mirror-like surface. This is a perfect season to take a ride along the most beautiful railroad in Russia, the Circum-Baikal Railroad. And if you dream of plunging into the atmosphere of the past, you can take a train with a steam locomotive.

Every year Baikal freezes completely. The lake is famous for its incredibly transparent water, so you will be able to see stones at the bottom through the ice even as far as dozens of meters from the shore. At frosty nights, the ice crackles with a sound resembling a cannon shot. And when during a thaw the cracks are compressed, ice is squeezed out and the famous Baikal ice pilings are formed. In winter, many unique adventures await travelers at Baikal: you can go ice diving, ride a dog sled on the ice of the lake, or even go tour skating.

Spring is a unique opportunity to observe the majestic ice drift and the awakening of Baikal nature. And in whatever season of the year you are on Lake Baikal, be sure to try the local food: pozy, the Buryat dumplings made in the form of a yurt; bukhler, a fragrant mutton soup; tarasun, an alcoholic beverage made from milk; and of course, the delicious Baikal omul, all ways of cooking which are difficult to describe.

A traveler who visits Baikal even once is both a lucky person and a kind of captive of the unique lake: those who visit it once, dream to repeat the trip again and again, see all the shaman faces of Baikal.

At frosty nights, the ice crackles with a sound resembling a cannon shot on frosty nights. And when during a thaw the cracks are compressed, ice is squeezed out and the famous Baikal ice pilings are formed

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