|The Lake Baikal.
Lake Baykal is one of 23 Unesco World Heritage sites in Russia. Located in the south of Eastern Siberia, it covers 31,500 sq. km and is 636 km long. At its widest point it is 48 km wide and 79.4 km long. Baikal is the deepest lake in the world (1,637 m deep opposite the Olkhon Island), containing approximately one-fifth of all the Earth’s fresh surface water. That’s why Baikal is called the planet’s well. Its age is 25 milllion years. There are 336 rivers flowing into Baikal and only one river — Angara flows out of it.
Scientists still debate on the lake’s origin. Some experts hold that it emerged as a result of tectonic processes of orogenesis, while others consider it to be a result of the earth’s crust gradual subsiding.
Baikal is known for the remarkable clarity of its waters and for the great diversity of its plant and animal life; the majority of species found in the lake and in its surroundings are endemic. The nearby Dauro-Mongolian steppes are very fertile. There are hot springs in the vicinity of Lake Baikal, the water of which is of excellent quality. The lake acts as a powerful generator and bio filter producing this water.
The Baikal region is mostly inhabited by the Russians and the Buryats. Visitors will have an opportunity to get acquainted with their national culture and history, to see unique architectural monuments, to visit Russian Orthodox monasteries, Buddhist Datsans, Shamanist holy places, old-believer’s villages, to taste national cuisines and to participate in national folklore festivities.