Information site-guide to the

places and events of Baikal

and the city of Irkutsk

Lake Baikal is wonderful, and the Siberians may well call it a sea instead of a lake. The water is extraordinarily transparent, so that one can see through it as through air; the colour is a soft turquoise very agreeable to the eye. The banks are mountainous, and covered with forests; it is all impenetrable wildness without a break anywhere. There are great numbers of bears, wild goats, and wild creatures of all sorts...

- Anton Chekhov

It would seem that Baikal should suppress a person with its greatness and size - everything is large in it, everything is wide, free and mysterious - on the contrary, it elevates it. You experience a rare feeling of elevation and spirituality on Lake Baikal, as if in view of eternity and perfection, you were touched by the secret printing of these magical concepts, and you were drowned in the near breath of the all-powerful presence, and a portion of the magic secret of everything that entered you. It seems that you are already marked and highlighted that you are standing on this shore, breathing this air and drinking this water. Nowhere else will you have the feeling of so complete and so desired cohesion with nature and penetration into it: you will befooled by this air, swallow it and carry it over the water so soon that you do not even have time to come to your senses; you will visit such protected areas that we never dreamed of; and you will return with a ten-fold hope: there, ahead, the promised life...

- Valentin Rasputin

Who saw Baikal, he will forever keep in his memory the magnificent paintings of this lake, framed by high ridges. The many-sided Baikal seems to be passing by differently. Some remember it quiet and calm, with a blue mirror smooth surface of the waters; others - furiously rushing to the granite cliffs with white waves of foam from the foam; still others see Baikal subdued from storms and unrest, shackled by heavy ice that is banging from the frost ... In calm weather, Baikal is completely different. In summer there are days when there is not a single wrinkle of ripples on the water surface. Then, as in a giant mirror, it reflects a distant pale blue sky, which makes crystal clear Baikal water even clearer and lighter.

- S.G. Sarkisyan

Irkutsk is an ancient Siberian city. The city leads its beginning from the fort built by the Cossack detachment Jacob Pokhabov on the instructions of the Yenisei governor on July 6, 1661. The place on the bank of the Angara River at the confluence of the Irkut River into it turned out to be suitable for agriculture and cattle breeding, the waterway provided communication with the Yenisei and Baikal.

On the day of the laying of the prison, Pokhabov reported: “Here the place is the best, it is more pleasing for arable land, and cattle production, and hay mowing, and fishing - everything is close; but there was no place to put a prison in the place of that place: the places of the steppe and unclean ones. ”

Before the October Revolution, Irkutsk was a merchant town that flourished for a long time on Russian-Chinese trade, and later on gold mining; a place of political exile. From 1803 it was the center of Siberia, from 1822 to 1884 - of the East-Siberian general governorship. In the fire of 1879 was severely destroyed.

The city is referred to the historical settlements of Russia: the historical center of Irkutsk is included in the preliminary list of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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