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Tour to Baikal region. Irkutsk tour.




Lake Baikal, 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 million25 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 worlds largest freshwater lake by volume, containing about one-fifth of the fresh water on Earths 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 lakes surface. The sedimentary strata on the floor of the lake may be as much as 20,000 feet (6,100 metres) thick. Breaks in Earths 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.

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. A pulp and paper mill built on Lake Baikals 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.


In southeastern Siberia, in the Republic of Buryatia and the Irkutsk region, Russia. See map of Baikal area.


636 km long + 80 km wide (average: 48 km), and has 2100 km of coastline
It covers 31,500 km². The surface area of all the tributaries that feed lake Baikal is about 560,000 km²


It is the worlds greatest fresh water lake and makes approximately 20 percent of the world's surface fresh water and over 80 per cent of fresh water in the former Soviet Union. It's basin is made up of three underwater depressions, which together hold a volume of 23,600 cubic km of water


It is the oldest lake in the world, about 25-30 million years old,


It is the worlds deepest lake. The deepest point in Lake Baikal is 1637m, the average depth being 630m, and it has an exceptional clarity which allows 40-50 m of visibility.


A long lasting winter and a very intensive summer mark the climate of this region. The Lake Baikal is at the beginning of January to the end of April frozen over. In the summer months of at the end of June to in the middle of Septembers prevails high-summer weather with temperatures up to 35 degrees Celsius with very dry air


Baikal's water is cold. Overall, the average temperature of the water is +4C, but varies like many micro climates depending on location and season. The surface temperature in August in the middle of the lake is about 8 to 10C and along the coastal line, 14 to 16C. Below the surface, the water temperature plunges. In August, at a depth of 50 meters, the temperature is about 5 to 6C, even in summertime. In Kultuk Bay, Chivyrkuysky Bay, Proval Bay, Peschanay Bay and the area called the Small Sea, temperatures climb to between 16 and 18C, and can reach a balmy 20-24C. The entire surface of the lake freezes over in the winter.

Best time
for tourists

At the end of June to in the middle of October is the best season, in addition, the winter has his own attraction. Who would like to celebrate Christmas time with cold weather and snow, a journey was most warmly recommended to the Lake Baikal in the winter. There are numerous offers for winter sportsmen of skiing, ice fishing and ice swimming to ice skating.


More then three hundred rivers and streams flowing into Baikal , of which the six main ones are: Selenga, Chikoy, Khiloh, Uda, Barguzin, and the Upper Angara. Only one, the Angara, flows out from it.


There are a number of islands in the lake, the largest of which is Olkhon, 72 km long and more than 130 km² in area.


Lake Baikal is home to 1200 different species of animals, and 1000 species of plants. 80% of the species at Baikal are endemic.

There are 50 edible species of fish including salmon, sturgeon, greyling and omul. While locals use it in many of their favorite dishes, they also enjoy burbot, groundling, oil fish, and bullhead. Pike and perch are easy to catch and very popular. In addition, grayling and omul are highly recommended

The most unique animal at Baikal is the freshwater seal Phoca siberica, known as the nerpa, which is also the only mammal which inhabits the lake. Scientists believe that the seals are from the tertiary fauna, migrated inland gradually in search for food, and have been breeding at Baikal for 22 million years. There have been years when scientists have counted nearly one hundred thousand nerpa in and around the lake. Valued for their soft, warm pelts and fat, the seals have been hunted for thousands of years. Archeologists have discovered seal hunting weapons in the cave homes of early seal hunters.


Baikal's water, long famous for its spiritual and medicinal qualities, is called "living water." Unlike all other deep lakes of the world where the lower depths are dead, asphyxiated by hydrogen sulfide and other gases, Lake Baikal's deep waters are blanketed in fresh oxygen. It has only been in the past five years that scientists have discovered thermal springs beating up from the bottom of Baikal. The release of hot, oxygenated water from underwater vents mixed by two horizontal currents and by rising and falling vertical currents may explain why the water is alive with aquatic life. The small epishura zooplankton consume waterweeds, bacteria and other material which would cloud the water. These and other small crustaceans are largely responsible for the clarity of Baikal's waters.

Photo. Tours to Irkutsk and Lake Baikal.

Photo. Tours to Irkutsk and Lake Baikal.

Photo. Tours to Irkutsk and Lake Baikal.

Photo. Tours to Irkutsk and Lake Baikal.

Photo. Tours to Irkutsk and Lake Baikal.

Photo. Tours to Irkutsk and Lake Baikal.

Photo. Tours to Irkutsk and Lake Baikal.

Photo. Tours to Irkutsk and Lake Baikal.




Shot tour in Irkutsk city.

Best tours to Baikal

Krugo-Baikalskaya Railway


Baikal Winter tours



About Irkutsk

Irkutsk history

Sights of interest




About Baikal

Sights of interest


Olkhon islands



Accommodation in Irkutsk

Accommodation in Irkutsk region

Accommodation in Baikalsk

Accommodation in Port Baikal

Accommodation in Listvyanka

Accommodation in Olkhon islands and
 Maloe more (Olkhon region)



Russia in numbers and facts


Religious creeds in Russia

Folk craft

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Trip to Yekaterinburg

Trip to Novosibirsk

Trip to Altay

Trip to Krasnoyarsk

Trip to Tuva Republik

Trip to Lake Baikal and Irkutsk

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Trip to Khabarovsky Kray

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