Baikal, or "Sacred Sea," is located
in southeastern Siberia, in the Republic of
Buryatia and the Irkutsk region, Russia. At
25-30 million years old, it is the oldest lake
in the world. It measures 636 km long by 80
km wide, and has 2100 km of coastline. Over
three hundred rivers and streams flow into Baikal,
of which the six main ones are: Selenga, Chikoy,
Khiloh, Uda, Barguzin, and the Upper Angara.
Only the Angara River flows out of the lake.
The deepest point in Lake Baikal is 1637 m,
the average depth being 630 m, and it has an
exceptional clarity which allows 40-50 m of
The open air Wooden Architecture Museum is located
in a picturesque forest on the bank of the Angara
river (47 km from Irkutsk). It represents settlements
of Evenks, Russians, Buryats and provides a
picture of life in Siberia in the XVII-XIXth
centuries. Continue on to the lakeside village
The transfer from Listvyanka to Ust Orda (140
km) by car takes about 2.5 hours. In Ust Orda,
a village where Shamanism is still practiced,
you will experience traditional Buryatian hospitality
and cuisine, enjoying their dancing and music.
You are invited to take part in the original
ceremony of "meeting-and-greeting"
guests at a Buryat dwelling, view their folk
arts and make offerings to the local spirits,
so you will feel like a medieval nomad.
The city of Ulan Ude is the capital of the
Republic of Buryatia, which occupies the territory
to the east of Lake Baikal. The Ivolginsky Datsan
is the Buddhism center of Eastern Siberia and
the Far East. Its well-preserved temple is among
the best historical samples of the Buddhism
architecture in Russia.