Located in the south eastern part of Siberia, the Lake Baikal is the oldest lake in the world and also the deepest. Existing for more than 25 million years this has around 20% of the total unfrozen freshwater reserve in the world. It is known as the Galapagos of Russia and is one of the richest freshwater fauna zones of the world.
Lake Baikal Russia
With a great freshwater ecosystem, this is a lake which has a great variety of endemic flora and fauna and is of great value to the evolutionary world. It has highly protected areas surrounding and great scenic value and beauty. This lake at around 1, 700 m is home to the Baikal seal which is a unique species of freshwater. With the best sights of great plants this is a place that has a lot of coniferous forests and also mountain steppes. The pine forests dominate the eastern part and the deciduous forests are found in the north. The Cenozoic, Mesozoic and Paleozoic eras saw the formation of the geological structure of the lake. There have been many tectonic forces going on here and a lot of thermal vents have been seen in the deep depths of the Baikal.
The lake thus has great value to the conservation and science of the underwater species. Today this is one of the most biodiverse lakes in the world and has around 1340 species of animals and 570 species of plants. The forest surrounding the lake is of boreal species and the aquatic life here has brought about the presence of many plants and animals that are typical of this place.
The lake is surrounded by a picturesque landscape and has the ideal visual delights of tundra lakes, boreal forests, majestic mountains, steppes and islands. More than 1,200 archaeological and historical monuments besides many cultural structures are found here out of which around 1,000 are protected by the State. Many of them are considered sacred. The region has a very interesting history and has great tourist value.
Today a World Heritage site, the Lake Baikal shows a lot of species that live here. So you would get to see the Siberian fir, the Alpine Bearberry, the European Roe Deer, the Dwarf Birch, the Red Deer, The Black Stork, the Wolverine, the Peregrine Falcon, the Siberian larch and the Willow Ptarmigan.
This Lake curves for more than 400 miles through the south eastern part of Siberia to the north of the Mongolian region. There is a cleft where it seems as if Asia falls apart and this is the beginning of a future ocean. It is said that the Lake Baikal shows how the seaboards of Africa, North America and Europe looked like when they began to part many million years ago.
There is a thick layer of sediment for four miles under the Lake Baikal. The golomyanka which is a partly transparent fish of this region is found here and the seal feeds on this in Lake Baikal. It is believed by many that the Lake Baikal formed during the Mesozoic age some 20 million years back.
With greatly fascinating sights of wild animals, small villages and lovely forests, the Siberian taiga is very popular here.
Lake Baikal is in a remote area in Siberia. It is not visited by many tourists but those who do, never forget their tours here. There are many places of stay in and around the lake. Listvyanka is a popular tourist destination here near Lake Baikal and is around 2 hours from Irkutsk which is a city which also has an international airport. Then there is Severobaikalsk which is another town visited by tourists coming to see Lake Baikal.
Lake Baikal has some of the most fascinating islands around it and Olkhon is one such island which is unique in its own way.
People around Lake Baikal live on a diet mainly of fish. The roads from Irktutsk have many stands where you would find elderly women selling smoked fish. Visiting Baikal in summer is the best as it is impossible to be here in the winter months. November month is very cold and is the beginning of the freeze season.
With many more sights to experience, the Lake Baikal surely offers a lot to take back and enthralls the tourists completely.