Sacred Places of Baikal
Sacred Places of Baikal
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November, 20

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.

The mysterious rocks, caves and burial mounds: Lake Baikal definitely has places where you can touch the mystery of the Lake and experience its great ancient power. Going on a trip, do not forget to come and see at least one of them.

Shaman Stone

Baikal has many places of natural origin which are associated with the faith of the local population in shamanic spirits, for shamanism is a huge part of the local culture.
One of the most important sacred places of Baikal is the mysterious Shaman Stone, which has become the most popular tourist attraction. You cannot miss seeing it, because there is a belief that Shaman Stone is the very place where Angara ends and Baikal begins.

Shaman Stone is a rock which stands at the source of the Angara River and rises above the water by 1-1. 5 m in case of good weather. However, a real rock mass is hidden under the water, thanks to this fact the Angara River does not freeze in winter. Locals will surely tell you the legend about the way Shaman Stone appeared at this place: 

it is the very stone that the Father Baikal used for blocking the path of his capricious and beautiful daughter Angara who secretly ran away to handsome Yenisei.

In ancient times Shaman Stone was attributed a miraculous power. According to a legend, the Master of Angara lived here – the Buryat God Ama Sagaan noiona. Shamans carried out important rites here, prayed and gave oaths. Another cruel custom is associated with this very place: criminals were tied to the stone and left for a night, if they managed to survive, the sentenced persons received forgiveness; but if Baikal waters washed the criminals away, then they were acknowledged really guilty and the great Lake punished them.

Ryty Cape

The cape on the north-western shore of Lake Baikal is called Ryty Cape (“digged cape”). This place is sacred for locals; and it is forbidden to visit it. No car road leads there, local boats and ships refuse to stop at those shores, especially to tread on this land.
Locals enforced a taboo on visiting this island; the ban has survived until today. Shamans believe that the most severe gods live here sending deadly winds and casting spells on all those who disturb their peace.

Some believe that an ancient city once stood in that place, which is evidenced by an artificial stone wall. Others talk about an increased radiation background. Locals are sure to tell you thousands of stories about people who suffered in different centuries because they tried to land on the shore of that mysterious island, and that they all died or were killed under weird circumstances. In addition, it is above the Ryty Cape where people repeatedly saw UFOs and mysterious flashes resembling spaceships.

Khoboy Cape

Khoboy Cape means “fang” or “molar” in Buryat language. Khoboy is the northernmost cape on the island of Olkhon; and the rock resembles a woman’s profile if you look at it from the sea. 

A local legend says that this profile belonged to a Buryat woman turned to stone by gods for she had been envious of her husband.
Another legend tells of a dragon which flying over the sacred Lake, dropped its fang that went deep into the land and turned into a rock. 

Some scientists believe that this saga is associated with the memories of the fall of some cosmic body (possibly a small meteorite) that happened many thousands of years ago. Locals assure that sometimes one can meet the spirits of one’s dead ancestors or see one’s own previous incarnations. Today the Cape is chosen for various meditations by different spiritual schools who want to experience unity with nature and feel ancient energies.

The place is also characterized by a polyphonic echo which is reflected from the monolithic rock. In winter you can shoot stunning photos of snowy grottos filled with huge icicles and landwashes of frozen water.


Shamanka Rock on the Burkhan Cape is one of the most mysterious places of Baikal. It consists of white marble, granite and quartz and was formerly called “Temple Stone”. Pagan priests conducted the rites associated with the purification of the ancestral karma and removing curses in this place.

The famous Russian explorer Vladimir Obruchev wrote that this place evoked a superstitious horror of all Buryats living in the Baikal region. A small cave with a approximately 12 meters long and up to 4.5 meters wide passes through the Shamanka Rock, only a shaman had the right to approach this cave. If some ordinary people definitely needed to go into the cave, the horses’ hooves were tied with felt skin so that not to disturb the calm of the Master of Baikal who lived there. Of course, women going into the cave were out of the question, they had to bypass the rock two versts (2.13 km) away.

Generally, all sacred places of Baikal have special spots for peace-offering to local spirits called “obo”. These are usually posts, mounds of stones or trees where, according to the tradition, you should tie a ribbon or leave a coin and, of course, make a wish which will come true.

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