Lake Baikal takes an important place among all the beauties and riches of Siberia. It’s an enigma given to us by the nature and it is still unsolved. We don’t know how the lake has appeared – either as a result of a slow transform fracture or because of a split in the Earth crust. Anyway, the transformation of Baikal is still in process – earthquakes constantly take place in the lake’s vicinity.

Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world. Its depth reaches 1637 meters. Baikal contains 23 cubic kilometers of fresh water which makes up 20% of all the world’s supply. The amount of water in Baikal exceeds, for example, the amount contained in 5 great lakes of North America taken together: Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. The length of the lake is 636 km, the width is 79.4 km, the length of the coastline is 2000 km, the territory of the lake is 31500 square kilometers. There are 22 islands on lake Baikal; the biggest one is Olkhon island.

Baikal is 25 million years old. A lake reaching the age of 10-20 million years is considered to become old, but Baikal, on the contrary, is a young lake in spite of its age. The scientists don’t observe any signs of aging or the lake’s disappearing off the face of the earth. On the contrary, scientists have come to a conclusion that Baikal is an incipient ocean, as the sides of the lake go apart from each other by 2 cm a year, like continents Africa and South America do.

Baikal has many tributaries: 336 rivers flow into the lake and the only powerful beauty Angara flows out of it. There’s a legend in Siberia: once upon a time father Baikal decided to marry off his daughter – beauty Angara, and he chose a bridegroom – the river Irkut. But Angara fell in love with a youth Yenissei and one night ran away to him. The father woke up and threw a big stone after the running daughter. At present you can see that stone (called Shaman stone) on the shore of Baikal. There is an observation area on it, where the locals sell fish and souvenirs, and the visitor admire the beauty of the lake and the river head of the Angara.

Flora and fauna of the lake are very rich. 52 species of fish inhabit Baikal water. The biggest fish is sturgeon, but the most popular and unique fish is Omul. You can also meet at Baikal taimen, pollan, burbot, perch, ide. Brown bear, sable, hazel-grouse, deer, Siberian hare, ermine, fox, wild boar dwell in Baikal forests. There are 76 rare species of plants. 60% of all the plants and animals live only in Baikal area.

The climate at Baikal is maritime and differs from climate in Siberia: winter is milder and summer is colder. The average December temperature is – 12 – 15 °C, the average June temperature is + 15 + 18 °. in summer the Baikal water warms up to 200-250 meters deep. But strong Baikal winds make the water constantly move preventing the lower water layers warm up well enough. So the Baikal water is too cold for bathing nearly everywhere except the Maloye More (Small Sea) bays. Baikal freezes over in January-February and melts in May. The ice depth may reach 2 meters. 

Lake Baikal is a sacred lake, mighty and mysterious. Its sceneries are diverse and amazing: boundless forests, fields and steppes, majestic mountains, sandy beaches, charming bays and shallow-water coves...

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