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Information - Lake Baikal

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Lake Baikal


Eastern Siberia strikes us with its natural beauty. Lake Baikal, or "Sacred Sea," is located in southeastern Siberia, in the Republic of Buryatia and the Irkutsk region, Russia. At 25-30 million years old, it is the oldest and deepest lake in the world. It measures 636 km long and 80 km wide at the maximum. It's basin is made up of three underwater depressions, which together hold a volume of 23,600 cubic km of water, 20% of the world's fresh surface water.


The deepest point in Lake Baikal is 1637 m, and it has an exceptional clarity which allows 40-50 m of visibility. The entire surface of the lake freezes over in the winter. Lake Baikal is home to 1200 different species of animals, and 1000 species of plants. 80% of the species at Baikal are endemic. The most unique animal at Baikal is the freshwater seal Phoca siberica, known as the nerpa, which is also the only mammal which inhabits the lake.


Its 600-kilometer length cuts through Siberia and is an ecosystem of its own. In 1996 UNESCO recognized it as a world heritage site. Lake Baikal has more unique species of fish, plants and animals than any other lake in the world. One of these, the nerpa, is the only fresh water seal in the world.

Lake Baikal provides plenty of opportunities to explore beautiful nature, either as a stop along the Trans-Siberian, or as a destination of its own.


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