Lake Baikal is beautiful in any season: in winter, you can enjoy the mild climate and snow-capped mountain peaks while snowmobiling, kite-skiing, or fishing. Baikal’s summer is filled with multicolored landscapes and sunny reflections on the lake’s surface, perfect for horseback riding or paragliding.

Here, everyone can engage in the type of active recreation that suits them best, and increasingly, those fascinated by natural mysteries choose to participate in thrilling expeditions, which are not only educational but also scientific in nature.

Baikal is the oldest (25 million years), clearest, and deepest (with a maximum known depth of 1,641 meters) freshwater lake on our planet, containing 20% of the world’s fresh water reserves. It stretches 636 km in length, varying in width from 25 to 79 km, and hosts 22 islands (the largest being Olkhon), over 300 tributaries, and only one outlet—the Angara River, which flows into the Yenisei. Out of the 2,600 plant and animal species identified to date, two-thirds are endemic, found nowhere else in the world: these include freshwater amphipods, oligochaetes, and the famous Baikal seal. Earthquakes up to a magnitude of 12 on the Richter scale are common, gradually expanding its waters, leading scientists to consider this “glorious sea” a nascent ocean. These natural features have long attracted scientific expeditions to the area. The first written description of Baikal we have comes from Nikolai Spafarii in 1645, followed by descriptions by Russian and foreign travelers. In 1859, Lieutenant Kononov made the first attempt to measure its depth, and in 1886, the scientist Chersky conducted the first thorough study of Baikal’s flora and fauna, compiling a detailed report for the Imperial Russian Geographical Society. Subsequent expeditions have produced descriptions of the lake’s historical, physical-geographical, and climatic features, its fisheries, geology, and specific plant and animal species.

This practice continues today: the famous international “Worlds” expedition has been conducted on Baikal for two years now, and there is no end in sight, as scientists continue to discover new and intriguing underwater features (like a new organism, the blue sponge). The expedition’s goals include diving to the deepest points of the lake, studying hydrocarbon reserves and tectonic processes, searching for archaeological artifacts, and gathering the most comprehensive information about Baikal.

Even if you’re not a researcher, don’t deny yourself the pleasure of an educational journey through this legendary lake.

You can plan your own trip using rental transportation and equipment, or join an expedition led by qualified guides and instructors, who can introduce you to the secrets of this ancient lake. Lengthy educational tours and trekking expeditions are available for both physically fit individuals and school-aged children. The route is chosen according to the group’s abilities and interests: it could be a 2-day trekking tour around Olkhon Island or a 10-day diving expedition in the northern or southern parts of Baikal.

Lake Baikal is always open for serious scientific research or amateur exploratory expeditions—don’t miss this unique opportunity.

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