Озеро Байкал является одним из самых популярных туристических мест в России. Ежегодно сюда приезжают десятки тысяч туристов из различных уголков, не только РФ, но и всего мира. Регион богат на достопримечательности, флору, фауну и загадки. С озером Байкал связаны многие интересные факты, а также оно включено в список Чудес России.
Озеро Байкал: описание, фото и видео
Озеро Байкал обладает поистине впечатляющими размерами. Оно покрывает площадь более 30 тысяч квадратных метров. Глубина озера Байкал – 1620 метров, что делает его самым глубоководным озером в мире. К слову, максимальная глубина озера Рица в Абхазии всего 130 метров. Средний показатель глубины озера Байкал – 744 метра. В зависимости от сезона и погоды, прозрачность озерной воды может составлять 40 метров.
В длину оно вытянуто на 636 километров, а в ширину – почти на 80. Вся береговая линия имеет протяженность 2 тысячи километров. Многих интересует вопрос, сколько рек впадает в озеро Байкал? Несмотря на внушительные размеры, оно питает только одну реку – Ангару.
Точное время появления озера Байкал неизвестно. По некоторым подсчетам ему примерно 30-35 миллионов лет. При этом дно Байкала постоянно находится в процессе преобразования, в связи с землетрясениями. Первые поселения русских здесь датированы концом 17 века.
Вода озера Байкал является его главным достоинством. Она содержит огромные объемы кислорода и очень минимальный процент органики и минералов. В теплое время года вода может достигать температуры 23 градусов, как и на озере Иссык Куль, но средние показатели в летний период удерживаются в пределах 9 градусов, что сопоставимо с Телецким озером.
Байкальский лед также отличается высокой прозрачностью. Он замерзает в январе и вскрывается в конце весны. Средняя толщина ледяного покрова составляет 1 метр, но в суровые зимы она может достигать и 2 метров. Водоем с большим количеством воды существенно влияет на климат. Например, зима сюда приходит с 2-недельным опозданием и отличается значительной мягкостью, чем в соседних регионах. Лето же, наоборот, более прохладное. Байкал также богат на солнечные дни. Суммарно, по этому показателю, регион может дать фору многим курортам на Черном море.
В акватории Байкала проживают свыше 2 тысяч различных видов животных, в том числе те, которые встречаются исключительно здесь. В богатой на кислород воде водятся ценные виды рыб – щука, таймень, осетр, хариус и т.д. Флора также отличается разнообразием. В местных лесах произрастают сосны, кедры, ели и множество других видов. В 1999 был разработан закон об озере Байкал, а в 1996 году оно было включено в список мирового наследия Юнеско.
Где находится озеро Байкал?
Озеро Байкал имеет продолговатую форму с юго-западной стороны в северо-восточную. На карте оно похоже на полумесяц или «запятую», а некоторые видят в нем улыбку. Где же находится озеро Байкал? Оно раскинулось практически в центре Евразийского материка, в южном регионе Восточной Сибири, в Центральной Азии.
Озеро Байкал координаты на карте:
- Широта — 53°01’12″
- Долгота — 108°41’03″
Озеро Байкал на карте
Котловина озера располагается в древней впадине, имеющей ледниковое происхождение. Она, в свою очередь, образовалась в Байкальском горном регионе, окруженном непроходимыми лесами и горными массивами.
Lake Baikal, Russian Ozero Baykal, also spelled Ozero Bajkal, lake located in the southern part of eastern Siberia within the republic of Buryatia and Irkutsk oblast (province) of Russia. It is the oldest existing freshwater lake on Earth (20 million–25 million years old), as well as the deepest continental body of water, having a maximum depth of 5,315 feet (1,620 metres). Its area is some 12,200 square miles (31,500 square km), with a length of 395 miles (636 km) and an average width of 30 miles (48 km). It is also the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume, containing about one-fifth of the fresh water on Earth’s surface, some 5,500 cubic miles (23,000 cubic km). Into Lake Baikal flow more than 330 rivers and streams, the largest of which include the Selenga, Barguzin, Upper (Verkhnyaya) Angara, Chikoy, and Uda.
Baikal lies in a deep structural hollow surrounded by mountains, some of which rise more than 6,600 feet (2,000 metres) above the lake’s surface. The sedimentary strata on the floor of the lake may be as much as 20,000 feet (6,100 metres) thick. Breaks in Earth’s crust produce hot mineral springs in the area. There are occasional severe earthquakes; in 1862 a quake inundated about 77 square miles (200 square km) in the northern Selenga delta, creating a new bay in Baikal known as Proval Bay.
The lake hollow is not symmetrical, having steep slopes on the western shores and gentler slopes on the eastern. The meandering shoreline runs for some 1,300 miles (2,100 km), with large indentations at the bays of Barguzin, Chivyrkuysky, and Proval and at Ayaya and Frolikha inlets; the Svyatoy Nos Peninsula juts out into the lake from the eastern shore. Baikal contains some 45 islets and islands, the largest of which are Olkhon (about 270 square miles [700 square km]) and Bolshoy (Great) Ushkany (3.6 square miles [9.4 square km]). The influx of water into the lake is primarily from rivers, chiefly the Selenga. The only outflow is through the Angara River, a tributary of the Yenisey.
Baikal’s climate is much milder than that of the surrounding territory. Winter air temperatures average −6 °F (−21 °C), and August temperatures average 52 °F (11 °C). The lake surface freezes in January and thaws in May or June. The water temperature at the surface in August is between 50 and 54 °F (10 and 12 °C) and reaches 68 °F (20 °C) in the offshore shallows. Waves can be as high as 15 feet (4.6 metres). The water is very clear; from the surface one can see to 130 feet (40 metres). Its salinity is low, and it contains few minerals.
Plant and animal life in the lake is rich and various. There are between 1,500 and 1,800 animal species at different depths, and hundreds of plant species live on or near the surface. The majority of the species are endemic to Baikal. There are some 50 species of fish, belonging to seven families; the most numerous of these are the 25 species of gobies. The omul salmon is heavily fished; also important are the grayling, lake whitefish, and sturgeon. Unique to the lake is a fish called the golomyanka, of the family Comephoridae, which gives birth to live young. The one mammal species is the Baikal seal, or nerpa (Phoca sibirica). There are more than 320 bird species in the Baikal area.
Industries along the shores of Baikal include mining (mica and marble), the manufacture of cellulose and paper, shipbuilding, fisheries, and timber. There are many mineral springs, and visitors come to Goryachinsk for the curative properties of the waters.
pulp and paper mill built on Lake Baikal’s southern shore in 1966 drew strong environmental protests from Soviet scientists and writers because its wastes were polluting the water, and in 1971 the Soviet government adopted a decree to protect the lake from polluting emissions. Further pollution controls were resisted, however, and industrial waste at the site remained a concern in the late 1990s.
The Limnological Institute of the Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences is located in the town of Listvyanka, as is the Baikal Sanatorium, and the hydrobiological station of Irkutsk State University is in Bolshiye Koty (Bolshoy Koti). The protection of natural resources in the area began with the establishment of the Barguzinsky Nature Reserve in 1916; subsequently there were added the Baikalsky (1969) and Baikalo-Lenskiy (1986) nature reserves, the Frolikhinskiy (1976) and Kabansky (1974) wildlife reserves, and the Zabaikalsky and Pribaikalsky national parks (both 1986). The Lake Baikal Coastal Protection Zone, covering the lake and its environs (a total of 34,000 square miles [88,000 square km]), was created in 1987, and the same area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.
Grigory Ivanovich Galazy The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica
Lake Baikal is unique natural sight protected by UNESCO. And it’s fair: this huge lake in the shape of a crescent, stretching from southwest to northeast for 620 kilometres, considers being the most in many ways.
First of all, it’s the deepest lake in the world. Its maximum depth is 1642 meters, while the average is about 742 meters. The depth of the lake is so big because it is located in a tectonic fault. Secondly, it contains about 20% of the world’s fresh water and considers being the largest freshwater lake by volume in our planet. Still the water in Lake Baikal is one of the cleanest, clearest and oxygen-richest in the world. The visibility in the water can reach up to 40 meters in fine weather. Third, flora and fauna of Lake Baikal are unique: more than 1000 local species of plants and animals can’t be found anywhere else. For example, a charming freshwater seal – the Baikal seal.
Baikal is annually visited by more than 2 million tourists from all over the world. Nevertheless, there are many places on the lake that look completely virginal (and sometimes even charming and dangerous) as in ancient times. There are lots of opportunities to spend time on the lake and in the surrounding area, and everyone can find something to their liking.
It can be swimming in the lake or ship cruise, fishing or seeing the Circum-Baikal Railway – an engineering masterpiece, acquaintance with local traditions or hiking on ecological trails, scuba diving, windsurfing, thermal water treatment and even skiing in winter!
How to get there
There are two big cities situated near Lake Baikal – Irkutsk on the west and Ulan-Ude on the east. Both of them have their airports that accept both domestic and international flights. Also, both of these cities are located on the famous Trans-Siberian Railway and many trains pass them through both from the west and the east.
From both cities you need to move further to the Lake Baikal shore: about 70 km from Irkutsk and 130km from Ulan-Ude. There, depending on your destination, you shall use route taxis, suburban trains or even water transport. A number of places with rocky shores still have only bad quality roads where only an off-road vehicle can pass or doesn’t have roads at all.
Many route taxis and buses go from Irkutsk to various interesting places of Lake Baikal. You should know that such trip can take from 1 to 8 (!) hours, depending on the distance and necessity of ferry line (with transport). A sail across the lake from the most southern to the most northern point can take up to 14 hours.
In the north of the lake (less reclined than the south) there is a small town Severobaikalsk, where the local train comes once a week. You should go there if your goal is Khakusy hot springs or Frolikha, nearby mountain lake.
On the southern shore of the lake there is a small town Sludyanka. Trains that cross Trans-Siberian Railway has a stop on its train station (by the way, the only one in the world fully made of marble!). It can also be a starting point for a trip to Lake Baikal if you want to explore its southern part.
Accommodation in Baikal area
The easiest way to stay overnight at Lake Baikal is to pitch a tent on a shore or a nearby forest meadow. That’s what tourists in a long hiking or water trips do. But the tent can’t be pitched everywhere. Some parts of the lake (for example, a big part of its northern territory and a part of Olkhon Island) belong to reserves so you’ll need to get a permission from the local administration via e-mail or phone before your arrival. Sometimes, for a number of reasons (such as fire season) they can deny, and you will have to change your plans.
On the lake shore there is a huge amount of holiday camps, especially in popular resort places. Unfortunately, many of them are old, so there could be a shared bathroom on a street. However, holiday camps are usually located close to major attractions and offer rather low prices. One night in such house can cost $10-30 per person.
There is another, more comfortable accommodation variant – guest houses managed by locals. In most cases staying there is a great opportunity not only to find a roof over your head, but also to communicate with a person who can give useful advice or suggest an interesting track. Prices are more expensive – $35-60 per night.
At Lake Baikal you can also find traditional hotels with all modern conveniences, but they are few and it’s better to book them in advance because they are in high demand. A room in such hotel will cost $70-90 per night. Unfortunately, many of them are far from style and perfect service standards, but due to the lack of choices, people would bear with some nuances.
Tourists mostly like to stay in holiday camps and guest houses. They believe this is the best quality-price ratio.
Attractions of Baikal are truly inexhaustible. Southern part of the lake has more developed infrastructure, better transport accessibility and the majority of man-made attractions, but there are more people as well. If you are looking for unexplored and savage places it’s better to go to the northern part of the lake. The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, also spent time on Baikal: he came here for skiing and also dived to the bottom in the Mir submarine.
Some places are considered to be truly iconic. Tourists and locals say that to miss them is to miss Baikal.
Olkhon island. The largest and the only one inhabited island on the lake is located in the middle part of Baikal near the western shore. Besides being incredibly beautiful – there are relict forests, sand dunes, erosive landscapes, severe rocks – it’s also been known as a cult place for people who believe in shamanism, an ancient religion. Some capes of Olkhon (especially a big cave in the Shaman cliff) are considered sacred. Local people have very beautiful legends about almost every corner of the island. The most beautiful place is Cape Khoboy with a cliff above the lake in the north of the island and Peschannoe area full of trees with fantastically bared roots. Some places of the island still can’t be entered an uninitiated person: locals are very serious about this taboo.
There are many holiday camps and guest houses on the island. The strait between the island and the western shore of the lake is called the Small Sea and it’s one of the most popular resorts on Lake Baikal. The best way is to combine holidays on the island and the Small Sea.
Small Sea. This wide strait is called the Small Sea because it has many shoals and the lake is not very deep here. The water in sandy shallow warms up to 23 degrees, so in July and August it’s a very pleasant place to swim. Small Sea is almost a champion for the number of holiday camps throughout the lake, so in high season its beaches are really crowded. On the other hand, there is well developed infrastructure: good grocery shops, ATMs, pharmacies. There are several ways to get here: by bus from Irkutsk or by ship.
Listvyanka village. This place is the ideal starting point for a journey to Lake Baikal. First of all, there is Angara river spring next to the village (the only river flowing out of Lake Baikal!) with a beautiful Shaman stone rising above the water. Also, there is one and only Lake Baikal Museum in Listvyanka, where visitors can find out more about the development history of these wild places and get acquainted with unique flora and fauna of Lake Baikal. Also, there is a beautiful botanic garden in the village facing the lake, and in sealarium you can enjoy a performance of trained Baikal seals. These animals are very sociable and intelligent, and they want to show it.
Near Listvyanka there is a cable way which provides an access to a viewing point on the Chersky Stone Mountain (755 meters). There you can enjoy a view of the southern shore.
Also, there is the most popular ecological trail in Baikal from Listvyanka to Bolshie Koti village along the western shore of the lake (about 25 km). It is not the safest trail as it passes through steep cliffs, but the landscapes are certainly breathtaking.
Listvyanka is also a good point for those who are planning to have a nice stroll around the lake by water: there is a station of the Ivan Babushkin cruise ship, and also a ferry to Baikal Port – one of the Circum-Baikal Railway stations.
There are many hotels, guest houses and holiday camps in Listvyanka.
Circum-Baikal Railway. In the old times it was called Russian gold buckle on a steel belt. Trying to avoid expensive, long and dangerous ferry lines of Trans-Siberian trains trough Lake Baikal, this railway was built in a very high gear from 1899 to 1905. This construction became one of the toughest in the world, because builders had to break tunnels through impregnable Baikal rocks, breaking off into the water, hack out beams and build bridges across mountain rivers.
Historians suggest that a carriage of explosives has been spent for every kilometre of this road, and in every 100 meters on the way you could find some engineering construction from early 20th century. However, the Circum-Baikal railway station slowly lose its significance on the western shore of the lake: a more convenient and faster way around the winding shore was built. And after the construction of the Irkutsk hydroelectric station and flooding some of the tracks the railway became deadlocked. But it didn’t lose its historical and aesthetic value.
Now there is a touristy retro-train with a guide on a segment of Circum-Baikal railway from Sludyanka to Baikal Port, tickets cost from 2200 rubles per person. But there are some cheaper and more relaxing ways to explore the railway: you can walk across it by foot or (for adventurers) ride on the local locomotive with a funny name “Matanya” which looks like a small bus riding on rails. Locals use it to reach their homes in remote villages, and a driver sometimes slows down for a couple of minutes to talk to someone he knows.
Sludyanka. Another Baikal city with a glorious past. Earlier there were mica mines, and now the main occupation of the local people is tourism. Here in Sludyanka is a station for trains riding on Circum-Baikal Railway. A hiking trail to Chersky Peak also begins here. It is a 2090 meter mountain which can be conquered even by a beginner in climbing. In the town there is a very interesting Museum of Minerals, opened by local enthusiasts. It has about 9000 exhibit items – scientists even call Sludyanka a minerals paradise. And next to the city there is another mystical place on Lake Baikal: Shaman cape with preserved ancient petroglyphs on its rocks.
Baikalsk. The name of this town is well known among mountain skiers. Here is the most convenient way to rise to the top of Sobolinaya Mountain 1004 meters high where 12 different complexity ski runs are situated. From the mountain you can see a beautiful view of Baikal, and the path to the top can be reduced with a cable way. There are also many mountain lakes nearby, for example Warm lakes, which are popular among tourists.
Chivyrkuisky Gulf. It is a paradise for anglers. Local shallow water (due to Baikal standards – from 5 to 10 meters) and wealthy fodder attract many species of fish. The big perch, roach and pike are mostly the ones that can be caught here. The weight of the caught fish can be up to 10 kilograms! Also, there is a famous Snake spring with thermal waters, which is very useful for locomotor system. However, to get here is not very convenient. The best way is by water on a ship from Irkutsk, but it is also possible to go on a route taxi from Ulan-Ude.
Svyatoy Nos Peninsula. This impressive peninsula (the only hill in Baikal) attracts tourists with the opportunity to climb the mountain more than 1.5 km high. After passing through several climatic zones and being on top in the icy tundra, as a reward you get a wonderful view of the Barguzin gulf. The route to the top of the mountain 24 km in length is called the “The path of challenge.”
Ushkaniy Islands. The archipelago of 4 small islands near the Svyatoy Nos peninsula is a famous Baikal seal rookery. You can’t land on these protected islands (only with a permission of the Transbaikal National Park administration), but you can watch the seals with a binocular from a ship or a boat. There are excursions on islands from different Baikal towns. Also, everyone can watch a “live program” from the rookery in the Baikal Museum in Listvyanka.
Barguzin Gulf. The largest on the lake, it’s known for its beautiful sandy beaches and dunes with pines. In summer the water here is also warming up to a comfortable swimming temperature about 23 degrees. There are many holiday camps in the Maksimikha village area.
Sagan-Zaba Cliff. This white marble cliff stands out from other rocks. Part of its area is covered with ancient petroglyphs with images of people, animals and birds. These drawings are approximately 2000 years old.
Peschannaya Bay. This picturesque bay is worthily called the Baikal Riviera. It is famous for its golden beaches and stilt trees that grow with bare roots. To visit this deserted bay, you need to pass 37 km on foot from the Bolshoe Goloystnoye village (the trail is unsuitable for unprepared tourists) or use the Barguzin ship which arrives here twice a week in summer.
Posolsky sor. Many windsurfers and anglers love to spend time in this warm bay, separated from the lake with a thin sand spit. Here also lives a special kind of Baikal omul – posolsky. It is considered to be even more delicious, and it is bigger than usual ones. Two resort areas attract many tourists – Baikalsky priboi and Kultushnaya.
Special aspects of tourism in Baikal
Despite its beauty, first of all Baikal is a powerful element, virgin nature in all its might. As the lake is located in a tectonic fault, a 1-2 ball earthquake can strike here. But about once in 100-150 years they can be larger.
The weather on the lake is unpredictable and in half an hour can change from a bright sunny day with a hurricane wind, rain and cold. It is caused by surrounding mountains and gorges that disperse winds in the natural “air tunnel”. The locals even give them names, and there are more than 30 of them. The most famous are Verkhovik, Gornaya and Sarma. If you heard one of last two names, it is best to stop all water activities (there can be a storm on the lake) and hide somewhere in a house. However, these winds mostly blow in late autumn and winter.
For a journey to Lake Baikal, you will need a good sport or travel clothes and shoes because many trails along the rocky shores are very steep and difficult for unprepared traveller. Many of such trails are better to pass with a local guide.
Mobile receptions are better in southern regions and popular tourist destinations in the middle. In the north of Baikal, there can be no reception except in towns.
It’s better to buy food and medicines in towns and villages. Baikal shores are deserted and you may not find any signs of civilization for many kilometres. The same thing about ATMs: most people use and accept only cash here. There are ATMs in towns, but it’s better to withdraw money in advance – in Irkutsk or Listvyanka.
There are many mosquitoes and ticks in this area, so repellent and tight clothing (with pants tucked into boots) are required. If possible, it is better to make a vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis.