19-20 SEPTEMBER 2019 Irkutsk

History, culture, traditions


The most ancient settlements on Baikal arose 25 thousand years ago. The ancient hunters built their homes from tusks and bones of mammoths. From this time there were rock paintings, a small sculpture, carved figurines from a bone.

In the 17th century the first Russian explorers appeared, at the same time several scientific expeditions were organized to Baikal and through Lake Baikal, the first description of the lake was made, a map was compiled. Here Bering and Chirikov, academicians Gmelin, Mueller, Pallas who studied Baikal flora and fauna visited. In 1852, the East Siberian Branch of the Russian Geographical Society was established, which made a tremendous contribution to the study of Baikal.


There is a legend that Baikal's father had 336 rivers-sons and one Angara daughter, they all flowed into their father in order to replenish his water, but now his daughter fell in love with the Yenisei River and began to bear the water of his beloved father. In response, Father Baikal threw a huge piece of rock into his daughter and cursed her. This rock, called Shaman-stone, is at the source of the Angara River and is considered its beginning.


Among the lakes of the globe, Lake Baikal occupies the first place in depth (1637 meters). On the Earth, only 6 lakes have a depth of more than 500 m. The basin of Lake Baikal morphologically represents three independent basins - the Southern basin with the highest depth of 1430 m, the Middle (1637 m) and the North (920 m). Depression of Lake Baikal is asymmetric. Its western side is distinguished by a steep underwater slope (40-50 ° steepness), the eastern side - more than a canopy.

On all sides, the Baikal is surrounded by mountains. Throughout the western coast, the mountain ridges come very close to Lake Baikal and almost perpendicularly break into the water. The highest peaks of the mountain ranges are: Primorsky Range - Three-Headed Golets (1728 m), Baikal Range - Mount Chersky (2572 m), Barguzinsky Range - highest peak (2840 m), Khamar-Daban - Khan-Ula (2371 m).

By area, Baikal (31500 sq. Km.) Is the eighth largest lake in the world and roughly equal to the area of a country like Belgium.


The Baikal region has a high seismicity - this is one of the most seismically active inland areas of the planet. Strong earthquakes occur at a frequency of 7 points (1-2 years), 8 points (5 years).

An interesting fact: in 1862, at a ten-point earthquake in the northern part of the Selenga delta, a 200-square-meter land area left under water. Km with 6 uluses, in which there were 1,300 people, and a new Gulf of Proval was formed.

Weak earthquakes are recorded almost daily. Each year their number reaches two thousand or more. Scientists call Baikal "the ancient topic of Asia."


Baikal is the largest freshwater storage on the planet (23,000 cubic km), which exceeds the volume of water contained in five Great Lakes of North America - Upper, Michigan, Huron, Erie, Ontario combined, or twice More than in Lake Tanganyika (Central Africa)....

In the basin of Lake Baikal, about 20% of the world's fresh lake water resources of the planet are concentrated (excluding glaciers, snowfields and ice where the water is in a solid state), and the water in it is clear and transparent.

In spring, after clearing the lake from ice, the transparency of the water reaches 40 m - this is ten times greater than in other lakes. For example, in the Caspian Sea the transparency of water is 25 m, in Issyk-Kul - 20 m. On Lake Baikal, a silver coin thrown into the water can be traced to a depth of 30-40 meters. It's amazing! This is approximately the height of a 10-storey building. Transparency of Baikal water is explained by the fact that due to the activity of living organisms in it, it is very poorly mineralized and close to distilled. The water in Baikal is unusually pure and oxygenated.


Lake Baikal is one of the most biodiversity-rich lakes on Earth. In its waters there are 2630 species and varieties of animals and over 1000 plant species, almost 2/3 of them are endemic. The most interesting in Lake Baikal is the viviparous fish golomyanka, whose body contains up to 30% fat. The crustacean epishura (about 300 species), it is to it that Baikal owes its exceptional purity (purifies water, passing through itself). Here lives the only mammal - seal or Baikal seal. As the seal caught in Baikal is still a mystery. In Baikal, a large number of valuable fish: omul, sturgeon, grayling, taimen, whitefish, etc. Freshwater sponges grow on the bottom.

In the forests surrounding the lake, there are 10 species of plants listed in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the complete composition of typical boreal species is presented.


Whoever has ever seen Lake Baikal, he will never forget the beauty of this unique lake, framed by high ridges. And the one who did not see, dreams to visit here and to be convinced of its greatness and power. It is no coincidence that local residents call Lake Baikal not a lake, but a sea.

Baikal is located in the Eastern part of Siberia and is one of the oldest lakes of the planet, whose age is 25-30 million years - so scientists determine. There are no signs of aging on Lake Baikal, like many other lakes in the world. Moreover, recent studies have allowed geophysicists to hypothesize that Baikal is a nascent ocean: its shores diverge at a rate of up to two centimeters a year, just as the continents of Africa and South America diverge. Who knows, maybe the appearance of Lake Baikal on earth is not accidental and the future ocean will play a big role in the history of mankind ...

Among the many epithets characterizing Lake Baikal, there are very accurate: "the world's source of drinking water," the blue eye of Siberia, "the oasis of the virgin nature of the Earth," "the sacred center of North Asia," "the work of God," "the sacred gift of nature, A monument of nature with unique landscapes "," an invaluable treasure of the genetic wealth of the Earth "," a miracle of limnology, the focus of unique natural values. "

Due to its unique features, the Baikal was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1996.


The Baikal region has attracted people with its customs, mysterious cults and mystical legends since ancient times. Only on Baikal can you find so many different religions that live in good neighborhood and respect for each other. Traditional religions of indigenous peoples represent a fairly different set of myths, faith in spirits, magic, totems, etc. Buryats living in the Baikal region also revered the spirits of rivers, lakes and forests.

From time immemorial, the Nordic peoples traded with hunting and fishing. This occupation occupied a special place in the way of life and among the inhabitants of the Baikal region. Rich in the variety and quantity of fish, the Baikal and the rivers flowing into it made it possible to catch it even with the most primitive implements.

Another vital fishing is farming. Although the conditions for growing grain were not the best, but agriculture was a very important trade.

The harsh nature dictated its own rules of life, but the creative principle made its way even under such conditions. Remoteness of the region forced people to make their own tools for themselves, to work the skin, to engage in locksmith's and bondage business, to make dishes. They themselves made canvases from which they sewed clothes. Brightness was also distinguished by embroidered wall towels - they were usually hung around the icons. The skill of needlewomen brought comfort and beauty to the harsh dwellings.


The most common version of the origin of the name Baikal, that the word is Turkic, it comes from the "bye" - rich, "cul" - the lake, which means "Rich Lake".

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