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  Beauty Of World Deepest Baikal Lake

Beauty Of World Deepest Baikal Lake 

General information Major sights

Major sights

Freshwater seals on Baikal.

The area around Baikal is mostly the territory of National Parks and Reserves: Pribaikalsky National Park and Baikalo-Lensky Reserve are found on the western coast of the lake while Zabaikalsky National Park and Barguzin Nature Reserve on the eastern coast.

Between Listvyanka and Irkutsk there's an interesting Taltsy open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture with samples of old houses brought here from all over Siberia. In the Museum of Baikal one can learn about flora and fauna of the lake and see some unique species in aquarium. The Irkutsk Art Museum houses a number of various paintings, art and crafts, and one of the most significant collections of icons and wooden sculptures of the 15–18th centuries in Siberia. The city Art Gallery exhibits a rich collection of Chinese porcelain and paintings by famous Russian artists.

Olkhon Island is the biggest island in Baikal, with steep mountains on the eastern shore. The western shore ends with the many bays of the Maloye More. The island is 72 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide with a population of 1,500 people. Olkhon has many beautiful virgin places. Olkhon has a great combination of landscapes and is rich with archeological landmarks. It was the first place on Baikal which Russian explorers visited in the 17th century. Olkhon is the geographical, historical and sacred center of Baikal, the heart of many legends and fairy tales and is believed to be the home of many Baikal spirits. To learn more of Olkhon, visit the local history museum in Khuzhir. There is a rich collection of artifacts that tell the story of many traditions, as well as the daily life of the local people.

Irkutsk. Wooden church of 17th century.

Circum-Baikal Railway was built more than a hundred years ago, and is an outstanding landmark to the construction and engineering art. There are a lot of beautifully constructed tunnels and bridges along the way, making Circum-Baikal a huge monument. The railway was supposed to be a continuation of the Trans-Siberian railway, and was very important for Russia strategically. That was the reason why such a complicated project ever started. Hundrets of engineer constructions were built along 84 kilometer-long stretch of the road from Khultuk to Port Baikal including 39 tunnels with the total length of 8994 meters, 14 kilometers of supporting walls, 47 stone and 3 iron galleries. Each tunnel has its own name: for example “the tunnel to penal servitude” or “the thick tunnel” or “the cormorant tunnel”. The longest tunnel is 776m long. The Circum-Baikal Railway was used for Trans-Siberian trains starting from 1904 until 1950s, when the new railway from Irkutsk to Slyudyanka was built. Today this length lies apart from the main route of the Trans-Siberian Railway.

For many travelers an old Russian city Irkutsk is a staring point for explorations of Lake Baikal. The Trans-Siberian Railroad goes through Baikal Lake area with stop at Irkutsk, situated on a picturesque bank of the Angara River, which is going out of lake Baikal. Irkutsk impresses travelers with different sights illustrating the history of the Russian state like the Church of Our Savior and old brick building constructed in the 17th century. Along the embankment of Angara river there's calm and green Gagarinsky Boulevard with various open-air cafés which is a favorite promenade place as well as a square in front of Drama Theater.
Frozen waves of the Baikal lake.
Finally, Irkutsk is not only about Baikal. The great Sayan mountains are very close and worth visiting for few days with staying in most popular among tourists Arshan settlement.
Intourist offers accommodation in Irkutsk hotels: Baikal business center, The Sun, Baikal.

The easiest way to reach Baikal is to go to Listvyanka settlement located 65 km south-east from Irkutsk. It takes about 1 hour to get there by car. In Summer time foot-walks along the shore of Baikal and a path through the hills are very nice. Alternatively, renting horses for the whole day or rafting trips are popular among tourists. In winter snowmobiles are available for rent, as well as ski or dog sledging. On the road to Listvyanka there's Shaman-rock, sneaking out of Angara river, it is considered to be a sacred stone.
Intourist offers accommodation in Listvyanka hotels: Baikal Terema, Legent of Baikal, Lighthouse

The Ivolginsky Datsan.

The Trans-Siberian Railroad goes through marvelous Baikal Lake area with stop at Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic located 456km east of Irkutsk. Ulan Ude is a perfect point to discover eastern side of Baikal lake. It is situated on a crossroad of trading routes leading from China and Mongolia to Russia and Europe. The settlement was founded in 1666 as a winter outpost of Russian Cossacks. Buryatia is a unique land with its wild and virgin nature, endless steppes, alpine meadows and taiga, Buddhist temples, nomad’s tents and shamans. The region provides great possibilities for ecotourism: horseback riding, hiking, trekking, boating and fishing. The Ivolginsky Datsan, a Buddhist Monastery, built in 1945, is the main active Buddhist religious centre in Russia. Nowadays the Ivolginsky Datsan is the residence of the leader of Russian Lamas.

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