Lake Baikal, as the deepest and most ancient of the planet’s lakes, amazes and enchants. Its uniqueness is obvious. There are few lakes in the world from which one can drink water without filtering or boiling. The plants and animals of the lake are 80% endemic, which means they cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. The symbol of Baikal is, without doubt, its freshwater seal, the nerpa. Tourists are also attracted by its striking nature and landscapes. It is said that a lake, just like a person, has a character: at times Baikal is absolutely calm and quiet, at others – stormy and furious. It is a whole world that is at each point inimitable and beautiful in its own way.
Centre of eastern Siberia - Irkutsk
Irkutsk is the cultural, economic and scientific centre of East Siberia. In 2011, the city marked its 350th anniversary, a period rich in events. Its history is connected with Siberia’s indigenous inhabitants, with the first Russian settlers, exiles, merchants, travelers, scholars of Asia and America, and with the Decembrists of noble blood who attempted to bring about a revolution in Russia. There is certainly something to see in the city: old churches, wooden houses, stone mansions of merchants and other monuments of architecture of different periods. Irkutsk is also rich in museums: the Museum of the History of the City, the Regional History Museum, the Decembrists’ museums – the Houses of the Volkonskiis and Trubetskois, Museum of the Trans-Siberian Railway and others. Your journey to Baikal should certainly begin with an excursion of the city.