Russia’s ancient lake, is the largest, the deepest and one of the clearest and purest bodies of water on the planet, and home to many unique animal and plant species.
Often called ‘The Pearl of Russia’, Lake Baikal is a massive freshwater lake, located in Siberia, north of the Mongolian border. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Baikal contains about 20 percent of the Earth’s freshwater. The water is exceptional clear that it is often possible to see a depth of 40 metres or more.
Lake Baikal was formed by the shifting of tectonic plates, which created a valley that filled with water. It has ‘the most outstanding example of a freshwater ecosystem. It is rich in oxygen from top to bottom,which allow a rich diversity of life to thrive in its furthest depths. It is home to thousands of variety of flora and fauna of which almost 1,600 are endemic to the lake. It is also home to unique species of animals, including the freshwater seal.
In winter, the ice of Lake Baikal develops cracks, and the ice cracks enrich the water with oxygen, allowing the fish to breathe. When Lake Baikal freezes, the waves create amazing icicles in grottoes. An amazing phenomena also takes place: large shards of transparent ice form on the surface of the lake, giving off the appearance of a beautiful turquoise ice.
The Lake is circled by a network of hiking paths called the Great Baikal Trail. The village of Listvyanka, on its western shoreline, is a popular starting point for summertime wildlife-spotting tours, plus wintertime ice-skating and dog sledding.