Facts and figures
Friends of Baikal
Baikal under protection
Horror from the Depths: What is Hidden in the Baikal Waters
Baikal has always been surrounded by ancient legends and mysteries, but new mystical stories connected with the lake appear from time to time. Sometimes they are so extraordinary that they may become a plot of a sci-fi film. “Key to Baikal” will tell you about the mysterious inhabitants of the lake’s depths.
Not a Sea, but a Future Ocean
Why is it wrong to call Baikal a sea? Will the lake become an ocean? Read the answers to these and other questions in an exclusive interview with “Key to Baikal”.
The Baikal Atlantis, or How the Proval Bay Emerged
Almost 150 years ago an earthquake was recorded on Lake Baikal. Pretty soon it became a legend among the local population, but there were not so many victims after all. Why? Read about it in our new horror story.
The “Devil’s Funnel”: a Hole Leading to the Abyss of the Waters of Lake Baikal
Many people living on the coast of Lake Baikal believe in its supernatural power. Sometimes the Holy Sea is considered almost a living being or a conductor between the worlds of the living and the dead. And some believe that Baikal can take bloody victims when it wants. “Key to Baikal" will tell about one of these beliefs.
"Let’s Turn to Baikal...": a Poetic View
Many poets living during different epochs reinvented the image of the Great Lake in their works. Today we will tell you about some of them.
Poetry, Melancholy and Sweet Dreams: a Diary about Lake Baikal Written by a Norwegian Traveler
The Poles and Belarusians of Baikal: Disputes about Chersky
People living on Lake Baikal include two Slavic peoples that have made a huge contribution to the research and development of Siberia: Poles and Belarusians. “Key to Baikal” will tell you how these peoples came to Lake Baikal and what it all has to do with Chersky.
Horror Stories of Lake Baikal: The Lake of the Northern Dragon
The regular column of “Key to Baikal” titled “Horror Stories of Baikal” tells you the most mysterious and strange stories that happened around the lake. Today you will be told a story about the fire dragon of Lake Baikal, about his southern brothers and why you should be fearful of him.
The Villages of Baikal That Have Ceased to Exist
According to the census-2010, there are nine inhabited locations on Olkhon: five villages, three settlements (including the administrative centre, Khuzhir) and one small settlement. According to the statistical data, the population growth now can be seen only in Khuzhir, other settlements are getting depressed, slowly but surely.
The Most Beautiful Advertisements with Baikal in the Lead Role
The most epic film set in the world.
A Hairy Bat and a Falcon Changing Colors: Rare Species of the Western Coast of Lake Baikal
Pribaikalsky National Park is a specially protected natural area and also a home to many species listed on the Red Book of Irkutsk Oblast and the Red Book of Russia.
Baikal Berries against Cold Weather: Let’s Prepare for Winter in a Right Way
Everyone knows that the best medicine against cold is grandmother’s raspberry jam. And not only jam made of raspberries. A wide variety of other useful and tasty berries grow at Lake Baikal.
Horror Stories from Baikal: Who are Punished by the Master of Baikal
According the culture of many ancient peoples, man is a drop of the rain in comparison to the nature, but not its king. Nature is the supreme intelligence, where Baikal and everything connected with it has been revered, guarded and even deified for centuries.
Horror Stories from Baikal: Mysterious “Witch Circles”
The expression “Baikal is a mystical place of power” has became an axiom. Baikal keeps many mysteries and miracles, interesting legends and fairy-tales. The atmosphere of the lake is impregnated with paranormal and abnormal phenomena: the attempts to describe them have been made by the indigenous inhabitants of Baikal region with the help of folk art for many centuries. There are also a number of quite “young” legends which include a story about mysterious (witch) circles.
Imperial House in Irkutsk: the Route of Nikolai II
The education of the future heir to the throne was taken very seriously by the imperial family. The final stage of education, as a rule, was a journey of the Crown Prince through foreign countries. However, visits to different places of his vast homeland were also an important part of his imperial duty. Irkutsk and Baikal became significant destination points during one of these visits
Baikal Horror Stories: the Story about the Mare’s Head
The story about the Mare’s Head is one of the most mysterious and terrible legends of Lake Baikal, this story is usually told by the shepherds from the island of Olkhon where this strange story happened.
10 Films Starring Baikal
Baikal is of great interest to the researchers from different scientific fields. The sacred lake has been praised in the works of poets, prose writers and music composers. Film directors also did that and presented the magnificent movies with Baikal as their main character to spectators.
The Guardians of Baikal Waters: Who Cares about the Purity of the Lake
Transparent waters of Lake Baikal hide a specific and incomprehensible world of underwater plants and animals in their depths. These include not only the numerous fish species, about 60 of them live in the lake. Other small bottom animals, which may not even seem to be animals at all at the first glance, are also extremely interesting.
The King-fish, a Fish without Scales and Other Inhabitants of the Waters of Baikal
Baikal attracts not only by the beauty of its landscape and the boundless still water. The fans of fishing take pride in their journey to Lake Baikal and the opportunity to get acquainted with its unique underwater world.
Lake Robbers: What are the Pirates of Lake Baikal Famous For
Vessels loaded with tea and silk became a slice of the pie for the pirates of Lake Baikal. Let us tell you about the way they appeared on the Lake, the way they won their fame and the location of the cave of the Baikal Ali-Baba.
Decembrists in Siberia: from Political Criminals to Educators
Siberia is a large part of the Russian map associated with difficult natural and human environment. And while the phrase by Mikhail Lomonosov, saying that "the power of the Russian Siberia will grow" is afloat and popular, the severe region is still perceived through the prism of exiles, hard labor, prisons ...
Baikal Mountains: Why the Place Is Worth Visiting
Due to the extreme weather conditions and topographic features, Baikal mountains are not populated and there is no any infrastructure. The nature of the Baikal ridges has remained primeval, this is what is most valued by researchers and travelers.
Rare Animals of Lake Baikal
The unique nature of Baikal creates favorable conditions for a lot of animals that do not live in other places of the planet. The majority of the endemic animals of the Lake today are protected, but alas – the Red Book of Baikal every year becomes even thicker.
Healing Springs of Baikal
Such lake as Baikal could not fail to produce healing mountain springs, there are more than 200 of them here. They are all different in properties and water composition, but in most cases the waters are carbonated with nitrogen, methane and occasionally - hydrogen sulfide.
Baikal: the Magic of Water
If all of the Baikal's water is divided by the number of people who live in Russia, each person would get 2,773 60-tonne tanks. Impressive, isn't it?
Settlement of the Region
The Russian government was actively expanding its territories through reclamation. And it was not surprising that the process encompassed its vast northern lands.
Main Trades of the Region
Nordic peoples have hunted and fished for centuries. These activities have a special place in the way of life of the inhabitants of the Baikal region.
Origin and History of Lake Baikal
This unique lake has always been an area of great debate among scientists. It is the deepest lake on planet Earth and the largest reservoir of fresh water.
Moses Novomeysky: from Lake Baikal to the Dead Sea
What do Baikal and the Dead Sea have in common? These two water reservoirs should obviously be compared from the point of view of dissimilarity: the most freshwater lake in the world and the most salty lake. Nevertheless, they are connected by one name... This person wrote a book titled “From Baikal to the Dead Sea”. We are talking about the famous mining engineer, public figure of Siberia and founding father of the Israeli chemical industry, Moses Novomeysky.
The Great Abyss: Who Was the First to Provide a Description of Baikal
The Moldavian boyar (repetitive of court nobility) with an unusual surname – Spathari - gave the first description of Baikal and detected its boundaries with high accuracy with the use of an astrolabe. If you want to know what Baikal looked like almost four centuries ago, you should read our article.
The Writers Living at Baikal and the Writers Describing Baikal
The Siberian sea lake, severe and majestic, was a source of inspiration for various creative minds. Poems and songs, as well as paintings were created on its coast, extremely touching texts were written there. Writers, poets, artists, musicians, people of science and art found a place here that filled them with creative energy. Interestingly, this region inspires more and more generations of creators. That happens because Baikal is one of human symbols of eternity.
Baikal Rivers: Action for Water and Life
One more remarkable date was added to the calendar of holidays precisely 20 years ago, in 1998. March 14 has since been celebrated as the International Day of Rivers. However, it is the holiday’s name in Russia, and among of environmental activists this date is known under a slightly different name - the International Day of Action Against Dams (and for Rivers).
Fair Seas: Shipping Traffic on Lake Baikal
“Key to Baikal” will tell you when the first ship appeared on Baikal and why the Baikal waves are more frightening than sea ones.
The Oracle of Olkhon: Khan Budak
Many legends have underlying ancient stories dating back to many centuries ago. Now no one knows for sure if these legends had any real foundations, or they were just some figment of imagination of superstitious people. At the same time, some legends are quite recent: these are spoken of as real facts. “Key to Baikal” will tell you about one of such legends.
The Evenkis: the First People of Lake Baikal
The Evenkis are one of the indigenous peoples of the Baikal region with a long and glorious history. “Key to Baikal” will tell you about this ancient people scattered from the Yenisei to the Pacific Ocean, although their native land is the Baikal region.
What the Shaman Disease Is or How Baikal Shamans Live
A lot of articles about the history of shamanism in the Baikal region have already been written. However, few people know how real shamans live today. Is it easy to be a chosen one? How do shamans treat tourists, the church and their own mission?
The Baikal Dutch: Who Are They?
A people called “Golendry” (translated presumably as “Hollanders”, “the Dutch”) has been living in the remote Siberian taiga for more than a century. The people speaks a mix of Belarusian and Ukrainian, prays in Polish and has German surnames. They live in Zalarinsky district of Irkutsk Oblast and are a true cultural phenomenon. “Key to Baikal” will tell you what kind of people they are and how they got here.
A Story about a Vagabond Who Floated across Baikal in an Omul Barrel
Many lines of author’s poetry in our country became folk songs after a certain period of time. One of the most stunning examples of this phenomenon is the song titled “Glorious Sea, Sacred Baikal”.
Horror Stories of Lake Baikal: Shaman’s Cave or How the Kin of Olkhon Buryats Emerged
There are many mysterious and frightening legends surrounding the great lake. Here’s one of them.
How the Emperor Saved the Baikal Sable: Dedication to the Centennial Anniversary of the Barguzinsky Reserve
I heard the name “Doppelmair Pass” by chance, but it was so intriguing by the peculiarity of its sound that I wished to learn more about it. In the same unexpected way I discovered another story about the life of an interesting person and about the creation of the famous Barguzinsky Reserve that began to implement the tasks of protecting the nature of Baikal even in the pre-revolutionary period.
The Underground Fairy-Tale of Baikal: What are the Caves near the Lake Famous For
Baikal is surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides. The snow ridge of Khamar-Daban stretches in the south and south-east almost everywhere, the spurs of the Primorsky and Baikalsky ridges approach the coast of the lake in the west and north-west; the spurs of the Barguzinsky ridge come to the lake’s coast in the east, beginning from the Chivyrkuisky Bay. The holes of mysterious caves can be seen in the outcrops of rocks in many places...
Baikal Playlist: Let’s Listen to the Songs about the Lake
Myths, legends and songs have been composed about the ancient lake since hundreds and dozens of years ago. The article will feature the most popular and well-known songs about Baikal.
Anton Chekhov: Letters about Lake Baikal
Even in the second half of XIX century a journey through Siberia was a journey as long and dangerous as a travel to the most remote places of the world. The journey from Moscow to Sakhalin could take more than two months before the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway! Anton Pavlovich Chekhov set on this way in 1890.
Shaman Stone: on the Border of Lake Baikal
Shaman Stone is a rock near the source of the Angara, a natural monument of the Pribaikalsky National Park and also a sacred place of shamanists. This is one of the symbols of Lake Baikal. Only a small tip of the Shaman Stone is visible above the water, protruding to 1-1.5 meters, but a rock massif dividing the river into two parts lies under the water and, moreover, it is a boundary between the river and the lake.
The Winds of Baikal: from the Left, from the Right, to the North, Everywhere and All Around
There are from 18 to 148 stormy days in different regions of Lake Baikal during the year. All of them are the result of work of three dozen Baikal winds ...
A City Made of Lace: Wooden Architecture of Irkutsk
A trip to Baikal begins with Irkutsk, the largest city near the lake, for most part of tourists. And this city is not just a point on the route: in addition to many of its interesting peculiarities, one cannot stay away from its architecture.
The Settlement of Tarbagatai: Three Centuries of Traditions at Lake Baikal
One of the most interesting settlements located near Lake Baikal is undoubtedly the one called Tarbagatai. The Russian Old Believers exiled to Sibera have been living here for three centuries in a row.
Meat Pears and Sagudai: the Most Delicious Dishes of the Baikal Cuisine
Gourmet features of the cuisine of the Baikal peoples are due, first and foremost, to their main crafts: hunting and fishing. The Siberian cuisine has a wide variety of fish and meat dishes; each tourist will find something of his or her own, a favorite dish; and the abundance of dishes and recipes won’t leave anybody indifferent.
Whose name does the Chersky's shore bear?
One of the Baikal shores in Barguzinskiy park has a name “Chersky's shore”. There is an observation platform “Chersky’s rock” on the shore – a hill at Listvyanka village area. You can observe an amazing view from that point on the Baikal, the Angara river, mountain ranges, and the main top of the Baikal range is named “Chersky’s mountain”... So who is Czerski and why do the Baikal surroundings bear his name?
The Capital of Eastern Siberia: Who “Babr” Is and Whence the Tank Came
Irkutsk has celebrated its 350th anniversary since the city’s foundation. The city has served as the gateway of Lake Baikal for more than three and a half centuries and is an important cultural and economic center of Eastern Siberia.
Waterfalls of Baikal
Around 336 rivers and streams flow into Baikal, and only Angara flows out. There are many waterfalls along the length of this complex system of water flow. The exact number is difficult to determine, as it is more than a hundred.
Peoples of Baikal
The oldest man sites found in the Baikal region are about 25 thousand years. We cannot tell if these were the ancestors of the tribes that lived here later or not. Scientists still argue who constituted the indigenous population of Eastern Siberia.
The first explorers of Baikal
When Yermak Timofeyevich made his famous march, the conquest of the vast lands of Siberia and the Far East has become a matter of state importance for Russia.
Sacred Places of Baikal
Baikal has been surrounded by mysteries and legends since ancient times. Tourists called the Lake “The Place of Power”; and it really radiates a special energy that is perceived by everyone who comes here.
Shamanism and Buddhism: Beliefs in Ancient Baikal
Archaeological excavations prove that people lived near Lake Baikal since ancient times. And of course, they believed in various otherworldly creatures. Shamanism is still widespread in the territory of the lake, and after the invasion of the Mongols, it was joined by Buddhism.
Anniversary of the “Moorish Castle” or the Place Keeping the Secrets of Baikal
The 135th anniversary of opening of the building attracting many visitors is celebrated on October 6: nowadays the building houses the history department of the Irkutsk Museum of Regional Studies.
Selenga – Baikal’s Favorite Wife
“Key to Baikal” starts a new series of articles on the rivers flowing into the lake and filling its waters. The main artery of Lake Baikal - the Selenga River – has become the first in the list.
The Mountain of Uran-Dushe: the Earthen Realm of Heavenly Blacksmiths
Local residents claim that numerous air and car accidents, accidents involving the things made of iron, are connected with the blacksmith cult. This is the way the ancestors-blacksmiths try to reach their descendants. Indeed, in ancient times blacksmiths’ art was considered a gift of the gods. “Key to Baikal” will tell about the mysterious mountain of Uran-Dushe and the cult connected with it.
Tofalars and Soyots - the Peoples Lost around Baikal
“Key to Baikal” continues to publish articles about the peoples living near Baikal. This one will deal with the two rarest peoples living near the great lake - Tofalars (Tofs) and Soyots.
Circles on the Ice of Baikal: It’s Only Science, No Sensation
The circles on the ice of Lake Baikal were called a “Baikal phenomenon”, “UFOs’ landing traces” and many other names. The recent sensation excites inquisitive minds, so we are trying to find out what these circles really are.
Crystal Glass of the Baikal Ice
Baikal is one of the few water reservoirs characterized by so many superlatives. The deepest and greatest, the most transparent and purest, the unique repository of fresh water ... To be brief, Baikal has many peculiar features, one of them being ice.
Who is Served Signature Meat and How to Tell Fortunes by a Sheep’s Shoulder Blade in a Correct Way?
Who is Served Signature Meat and How to Tell Fortunes by a Sheep’s Shoulder Blade in a Correct Way?
The House of a Million Faces: 110th Anniversary of the Irkutsk Railway Station
Irkutsk is the gate of Lake Baikal, and it has always attracted people. However, a journey to the city was truly epic before the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway. The road from Moscow could take many months. Today dozens of trains run through Irkutsk every day: someone is traveling from the West to the East, someone in the opposite direction, but everyone stops here and gets acquainted with the railway station of the city that celebrates its 100th anniversary this month. “Key to Baikal” will tell you about this famous building.
Instruction: How to correctly Cook and Eat pozas (a kind of steamed dumplings)
“Pozas” or Buryatian “buuzas” are a traditional dish that should be tasted by everyone coming to Lake Baikal. And although this dish has already spread far beyond the Baikal region, it is prepared by all proper rules only on the coast of the lake.
Bear Fostering: a Brown She-bear and Her Offspring
About the way the bear became a symbol of Russia and why she-bears are the best mothers among all animals.
Secrets of Baikal Herbs: 5 Recipes of Healthy Drinks
If you want to stay strong and energetic all the time, you need not necessarily buy brand new vitamins or create a stock of kilograms of pills. Our article features 5 curative tea recipes from Baikal which will help to stay healthy and forget about pharmacies for a long time.
Who Has Counted Baikal Fish and Birds
A special place among the large number of people engaged in the research and protection of Lake Baikal is occupied by V.Ch. Dorogostaisky, a reputable miscellaneous scientist, extraordinary person, enthusiastic traveler, explorer of the fauna of Lake Baikal and its coast.
Women are Strictly Forbidden: On the Severe Taboos of Lake Baikal
People traveling to Lake Baikal (especially to the areas which are sacred for the Buryats) often have to encounter distrustful views of the local population, and this can be explained by the fact that the entry to some places it is strictly prohibited for women.
The Stars above Baikal: the Reason Why There Are no Stars of This Kind Anywhere Else
“Astronomical Big Cleanup” has been held in Bolshoe Goloustnoe on July 28. The staff of the Irkutsk Planetarium staff installed a professional telescope on the cleared glade of the National Park and conducted a lecture-journey through the night sky. Volunteers were able to observe Saturn, the Andromeda galaxy and a cluster of stars, as well as the ISS flying at a distance of 400 km. We talked with the Head of the Irkutsk Planetarium Pavel Nikiforov in order to find out what is so special about the sky above Baikal.
The Arch Connecting the Past and the Future or Why Irkutsk Needs a Triumphal Gate
The Moscow Triumphal Arch became a bridge connecting different pages of the Irkutsk history. Both in the 19th century and now it is perceived as a symbol of Irkutsk that has welcomed all travelers, statespersons, writers who have visited and are still visiting the capital of Eastern Siberia.
Fluffy Gold of Siberia: Barguzinsky Sable
Tourists visiting the Barguzinsky Nature Reserve can see a brisk curious fluffy animal with a narrow muzzle among the dense fir grove - this is the sable.
Baikal “Shark”: Amazing Facts about Baikal Oilfish (Golomyanka)
One of the most numerous fish species of Lake Baikal is the unique Baikal Oilfish. This rose-pearl fish with beautiful large fins is, without exaggeration, one of the wonders of the lake, because is amazing everything in it.
Deadly Earnings: Gold Rush at Lake Baikal
Gold has been attracting people since ancient times. Quick and easy enrichment at the expense of this precious metal has always led people to the farthest regions of the world, such as Alaska, South Africa, Australia, and Siberia. The coast of Lake Baikal had its own deposits of gold. The works on them had been conducted for more than a hundred years from the mid-nineteenth century until 1960-s.
War and Peace at Baikal: the Fate of the Two Ice Breakers
The fate of the fleet of Lake Baikal is closely associated with the civil war that overwhelmed Russia after the October revolution. We’ll tell about the way the Baikal “Titanic” built by the British was destroyed, as well as about the fate of its counterpart, the “Angara” ice breaker.
Sacred Cigarettes and Ribbons around the Trees: Is There Still Shamanism at Baikal?
The traditional religions of the indigenous peoples represent a rather versatile set of myths, beliefs in spirits, magic, totems, etc. Buryats living in the Baikal Region also revered the spirits of rivers, lakes, forests, had a well-developed mythology.
Milky Wine and White Old Man: Unusual Traditions of Siberians
Despite the severe climate and difficult temper, the peoples of Lake Baikal are very hospitable, and their folk traditions are full of love to nature and romantic traditions. A mysterious lake which has not yet disclosed all its secrets to scientists attracts ordinary tourists and researchers, as well as fans of shamanism and esoterics. And any of them will be welcomed with honors.
Why the Ringed Seal Does not Breathe Underwater and Why It Needs a Health Resort
Everyone knows that the Baikal ringed seal is the only mammal of Lake Baikal and its main endemic. However, ringed seals have some interesting abilities and peculiarities which we will gladly reveal to you.
The Red Book of Lake Baikal: What Grows in the Woods by the Lake
The extraordinary natural beauty of the lake attracts a huge number of tourists. The diversity of flora cannot be but admired - more than a thousand species exist at Baikal.
The Rivers of Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal has a huge amount of freshwater - 23615.39 cubic meters, which is about 19% of all world reserves. The amazing Lake is fed by a great number of rivers.
Golden Buckle: History of Circum-Baikal Railway
The old round Baikal railway (Circum-Baikal) which the locals call “Krugobaikalka” is one of the few unique railway lines running through the territory of our vast country.
Baikal Myths and Legends
Since ancient times, there have been many myths and legends about Lake Baikal. It is no wonder that the lake keeps attracting shamans and mysticists from all over the world.
Islands of Baikal
Baikal is not just the lake. It includes plains, mountains, and islands. There are many of them, but the exact number is still unknown. Scientists provide different numbers - from 19 to 47.
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