One of the most popular stops on Trans-Siberian route is Baikal Lake.
Baikal is the lake with the purest water on the planet. It is the deepest lake in the world and the largest repository of fresh water in the world.
Every nation which lived on the shores of the lake or learned about it from neighbors gave it a certain name. So, the Evenki called it "Lama" (the sea), the Buryats - Baygaal Dala (possibly - the "big pond"), the Chinese 110 years BC. e. - Beihai (North Sea). Russian, after reaching the shores of the lake began to call it "Baikal" from the Buryat "Baygaal", which means "rich lake".
One of the most interesting places of Baikal is Olkhon Island. It can be called the Pearl of Lake Baikal, it is full of ancient myths and legends. An incredible variety of landscapes and a large number of natural monuments can be found there.
Cape Khoboy (in Buryat Khoboy - "canine, molar tooth") is the most northern cape of the Olkhon Island. When you look at it from the sea the rock resembles head of a woman. Locals call the rock “Virgo”. According to Buryat legend, this rock is a petrified Buryat woman who was envied her own husband and asked the gods (Tengri) the same kind of palace that the gods presented to her husband. The gods were angry with her and turned her into stone saying that she would stay like this as long as the there will be envy and anger in this world. According another legend, the first Buryat shaman gained his strength here. To this day Khoboy Cape is revered by Buryats and occultists of all kinds. It is a very good place for meditation, especially at dawn.
Cape Burhan is the most famous place of power on Baikal, this place is also called Shaman Rock. This is the place where you can meet the shaman predicting the future.
Kurykanskaya Wall is an amazing structure located at Cape Khorgoy. This long stony wall blocks the entire cape. Its length is 180 meters, height - up to 1.5 meters. The exact purpose of the wall is still unknown. Some believe that it was built for protection from nomad raids. Others are sure that the recesses in the wall were used as an altar, and the Cape was a sacred place.
While on Olkhon, one can also visit Buryat village. This is an open-air museum where you can learn about the traditions and lifestyle of the Buryat people inhabiting this area.
Besides Olkhon, there is a plenty of amazing and picturesque places on the shores of Lake Baikal.
Shaman-stone is a single stone standing right on the border of Lake Baikal and the Angara, the only river flowing out of the Lake. In good weather, only the tip of Shaman-stone is visible above the water, but beneath the water there is a huge rock massif due to which the Angara river does not freeze in winter. The stone served as refuge for cult worship riots of Buryat shamans. There is a legend, according to which an old man Baikal used this stone to block the way to his daughter Angara who tries to escape to a young handsome man Yenisei.
Huuheyn-hada poles is a sacred place of the Shumak Valley. This place is also called Mountain-child or child datsan. These limestone pillars are about 40 m high. According to a legend, the spirit - owner of Shumak – resides here.
Cape Ryty is the most mystical place of Baikal. It is believed that there is a ghost palace at the Cape, which belongs to the eldest son of the sky - Tengri Uher Noyon. Local residents were afraid to embark at this cape so as not to disturb the spirits. On Cape Ryty strange phenomenas were fixed. The rare people who have visited the cape tell that the gravity there literally presses to the ground. A man lies and seems to be sleeping, but in fact he is awake and cannot get up.
Hunting Cave has been recently discovered on the west coast of Lake Baikal. In its beauty and size the cave is unique to Baikal region and is comparable to the famous caves in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. In the halls you can see interesting fossils - ancient algae that existed here a billion years ago. Amazingly beautiful sinters cover almost all the vaults, the cave halls are decorated with numerous stalactites and stalagmites.
Ivolginsky Datsan it is the largest monastery complex in Siberia, it is located 30 kilometers from Ulan-Ude. It consists of more than 10 dugans (temples) protected by lions, many stupas and prayer mills.
Taltsy is a Siberian village where the time turns back – here one can see how Russian, Buryat, Evenki and Tofalars used to live in the past. There is a Russian log hut, national Buryat yurts and Evenki and Tofalar tents. One can enter every hut and learn more about everyday lives of their inhabitants. Different crafts were recreated In Taltsy. One can go to the workshops of a potter, blacksmith, glass blower, weaver and more. Every year in September, Blacksmiths Festival is held here.