There are 2 official districts in Russia which are linked with Lake Baikal. Irkutsk is the capital of the Irkutskaya oblast (district) and Ulan-Ude is the capital of the Buryuat republic. Irkutskaya oblast is located on the west part of Lake Baikal, and Ulan-Ude is on the east.
The territory of these both regions cover about 1 125 000 square kilometers. The population of these both regions are about 3.4 million people. This two regions make the interest because of the deepest lake in world located there. Kindly see below short information about Lake Baikal.
Flora and fauna
Flora and fauna of Lake Baikal are unique and included different species of plants, animals, birds and fish. The two thirds of them are endemic species.
There 2565 types of animals and 1000 types of water plants. The species diversity has no analogue in any other lake in the world. Annually the scientists make the reports of 20 invertebrate animals of Lake Baikal. They suppose that about 1500 invertebrate animals will be discovered at the nearest future. The most known endemic species that area is Baikal seal.
Baikal Lake takes 20% of world source of surface fresh water and more than 80% of Russian’s sources. The lake basin can include whole water of Baikal sea or water of the Great Lakes. 336 rivers flow their waters into Lake Baikal and the only Angara river flow out of it.
Lake Baikal is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.
The climate of Lake Baikal and coastline has the features of sea climate and differs much from the climate of surrounding area. In summer body of water got warmed up to 200-250 meters in depth, it allows to keep the huge amount of warmness. Winter is much softer, summer if cooler comparing with other regions in Siberia. The peculiarity of Baikal weather is instability and contrast. In general the climate is strongly continental.
Average temperatures from -21C in January and +21C in July in the open water of Lake Baikal. At the coastline -25C in January and +17C in July accordingly.
For 5 months per year Lake Baikal is frozen. The average ice depth is 1 meter.
Lake Baikal is one of the most stormy lake in the world. It’s very rarely when the lake surface is calm. E.g. at the end of November and beginning of December the height of waves can up to 4-6 meters.
The main confessions are Orthodox and shamanism.
Traditions and cuisine
Buryat people are aborigines of Siberia. For hundreds years they have been living at the shore of Lake Baikal. The culture of these people presents bright unite of Asian and European traditions.
Present moment the major population are Russians and Buryat. Speaking about Buryat people, it’s necessary to mention that originally the basic type of living was a yurt. You can see some installation in the museum nowadays.
Buryat people inspire the world around. I.e., one of the interesting local holiday, called Surkharban, is about the day of ghosts honouring. Every holiday is full of music and dance.
Baikal cuisine is what everyone has to taste. In general Baikal cuisine is Buryat cuisine. Long time ago Buryat nomads had to eat full and rich to support their energy. So since that time at the first place in local cuisine is meat, cooking in a different ways.
It’s possible to reach Lake Baikal with arrival in Irkutsk or Ulan-Ude by plane. There is the flights to Severobaikalsk also (the town located in the north part of Lake Baikal).
The official websites of the airport are:
Irkutsk - iktport.ru/en
Ulan-Ude - airportbaikal.ru
Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude are one of the main cities along Trans Siberian Railway. There are a lot trains everyday. For detailed information follow the official Russian railway website – eng.rzd.ru
The federal highway goes through Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude. But it’s much better to travel by train.
Top 5 reasons to visit Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is “a blue heart” of Siberia but Olhon is “a heart” of Baikal. This is the largest Island among 22 Islands in the territory of Lake Baikal. But also this is geographical, historical and sacral center of Lake Baikal. Ancient legends and mythology are kept by its land. For nature and photo lovers Olhon Island is an amazing piece of different landscapes.
Circum-Baikal Railway is cultural and historical sight. It includes 38 tunnels with the total length of 9063 meters. The railroad and all its tunnels and passages are unique. In was built in a very short period upon unconventional projects in the early 20th century.
Sandy (Peschanaya) Bay is the most famous and picturesque place at Lake Baikal. No one was indifferent when visited this Bay. We call it as Siberian Riviera, Sandy Bay was given a status of natural monument. Sandy Bay is the only place within the Baikal coastline, where it’s possible to see pine trees and larches with roots rising on the earth surface. By the way this is the only place of Eastern Siberia where the average temperature per year is above zero (+0,4°С).
There is no need to say much. Having a cruise the deepest lake in world is a many people dream. Changing landscapes and the majesty of Lake Baikal...
The crystal clear ice with a meter depth under your foot far enough from the coastline is one of the most memorable thing to do. Welcome to Lake Baikal in March, you will see.