Lake Baikal – The blue jewel of Siberia


Lake Baikal is a Holy sea for the Siberian nation. Olkon Island is holding the magically sanctuary of the Buryats, living on the shores of Lake Baikal, practicing a kind of shamanism so Olkon Island is the holiest place for them.

Like the Loch Ness in Scotland, Lake Baikal has a legend linked to a monster in its depths. Buryats talk about a huge snake-headed dragon and those in search of the monster says that Lake Baikal is 484 higher than the Loch Ness and has a depth of 1.5 km.

Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest lake in the world. It is fueled by 336 rivers and only one spring from the lake, Angara. The water is so clean that in winter, even on the surface of 1 m thick ice, you can see the rocks at 40 m depth. Along the banks, overlooking is a scenic railroad, Circum-Baikal, 200 bridges and 33 tunnels, built partly by political exiles in Siberia.

Trans-Siberian Railway passes south of Lake Baikal. With 9.2888,8 km, is the longest railway in the world, intersects 8 different time zones. German and Japanese prisoners of war were built much of the line between 1944 and 1946.

Winters are sunny and Baikal region enjoys more sunny days in winter. In January the temperature drops below 20 degrees Celsius but rarely below 30 degrees Celsius. In summer the average temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius. Paradoxically, there are few sunny days in summer. In August it rains almost all the time and the area is known for its strong winds and hurricanes that occur suddenly.

The flora of Lake Baikal is represented by over 600 species of plants, mostly endemic. The lake water is very clear and with a high content of oxygen. Because vertical and horizontal vortex and warm geothermal waters, life flourishes here even at great depths. Regarding to the fauna, the most important creatures in Lake Baikal is the Coregon fish and the freshwater seals, the only ones in the world that live in fresh water. Lake Baikal is the largest ecosystem and hosts 1,800 species of plants and animals.

Not far from Lake Baikal, there is Ivolginsk city, which is the main center of Buddhism in Russia and the Russian Lamaism leader seat, Chambo Lama. The city houses the Choikhorling Institute Dashi (in Tibetan means a monastery-school), remaining one of the two Buddhist schools of the Russian Federation, the Dalai Lama visiting it first in 1992.

Researchers believe that the formation of Lake Baikal has begun 25,000,000 year ago, when it was a period of high tectonic activity, the movement of continental plates and processes of formation of mountains. Magma formed a giant fault line that stretches 2,000 km from chain Stanovo to Khovsgol Lake in northern Mongolia. This rift widens by 2.5 cm per year. In the past the lake was deeper, but over millions of years the 7 km thick layer of sediments has been accumulated on the bottom.

A fascinating place with …


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