Culture

From the ancient times lake Baikal was a place full of myths and legends. As well as in the whole world, in Russia and in Buryatia religion has been an integral part of the spiritual life of all the peoples of the region, and of all the ethnic groups. Religion influenced all the sides of life of the society, its traditions, its customs and rites of the peoples.
This page provides articles about culture of lake Baikal, information about endemic folkways of the lake and the style of living of local people.

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The People of the Snow: the Customs of the Ancient Tunguses
Here is about the strange customs of the ancient people of Baikal - the Tungus.
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Mystical Baikal: Deities and Spirits of the Sea Lake
There is no better time than Halloween to remind about Baikal spirits. Here is about the cult of the eagle, the ancient traditions of the shamans and how to respect the lake keepers.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Mikhail Kozhov: the Scientist Who Was Ahead of His Time
We will tell you about the amazing man who was the first to speak about the importance of preserving Baikal – the scholar of Baikal, professor, Director of the Institute of Biology and Geography of Irkutsk State University Mikhail Mikhailovich Kozhov, in time to the 50th anniversary of his death.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Shamanka: the Rock That Revenges Itself upon Its offenders
Many names on Baikal are in tune with the shamans worshiped by people of this land – the Shaman Stone, Shaman Rock, Shamanka Cave ...
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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.
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"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.
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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?
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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.
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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”.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.