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photo: Wjatscheslav Petuchin
Lake Baikal - said to be the Holy Sea of the Buryats or Siberia's gem. No term and no honouring superlative can describe its real fascination. To simplify matters: it's just a beautiful, a wonderful lake.
However, this fact does not make millions of tourists travel to the Baikal. One reason might be the infrastructure which still is in a condition a Western tourist is not accustomed to...in many ways. First thing's gravel roads instead of asphalted streets as soon as you leave the main roads, or you won't find electricity and telephon everywhere. Another reason is the Siberian climate which is in most cases neither that bad nor that extreme as presumed, but prejudices are hard to fight. Surely unintentional, the political situation in the former Soviet Union, now in Russia, also contributed to the problem.
With approx. 650 km in length and 80 km in width, Lake Baikal is one of the biggest lakes in the world and it still grows 2 cm every year. But above all, with a depth of 1637 m, Lake Baikal is the world's deepest lake and probably the only bigger lake worldwide whose water is drinkable.
For your first visit, summer is certainly the most favourable season to travel there. But on the other hand, you'll miss the beautiful flowering meadows in spring, the terrific foliage of the Siberian birch and larch in autumn and the uncertain, thrilling feeling when walking over the crystal-clear ice, of the frozen lake in winter - meters thick.
But maybe, the lake just didn't want us to come only once.