Baikal lake is always accompanied by superlatives: the largest, deepest, oldest, clearest lake in world – what not. However, the lake, which is a popular destination point for Trans siberian travellers, has a lot of stories. So here we go – five things you should know about Baikal lake!
1. Crunch the numbers
Let’s start with basics that hide behind all the grand adjectives describing Baikal.
2. The name
There are a few versions of how the name Baikal came to be. The most popular one traces the name back to Mongolian “Baigal Dalai”, which means “Big lake”. Less popular versions send us to a Turkic phrase “Bai-Kul” (“Rich lake”) or even to Chinese “Bei Hai” – “Northern Sea”.
3. Legends and mysteries
The oldest lake in the world is shrouded in many mysteries and beautiful legends. Most of them, of course, hark back to centuries ago, and are carefully passed down from generation to generation: how Baikal appeared, who inhabited it, how “places of power” came to be. Talking about «places of power», a lot of these legends have something to do with shamanism that is up to now followed by Buryats in Baikalia.
Intrigued? Make sure to read more about one of the Baikal legends – Shamanka cliff (link) to send some chills down your spine!
4. Flora and fauna
As mentioned in first paragraph, Baikal Lake boasts a rich variety of flora and fauna. Let’s mention a few unique inhabitants that can’t be found in any other ecosystem in the world.
One of then is nerpa, one of three species of freshwater seals, also known as the Baikal seal. Nerpa is on the peak of the food chain of the Baikal ecosystem; this means that the only source of danger is humans.
Another unique inhabitant is Golomyanka fish. It has no scales and is 30% fat. The fish is so transparent that you can actually read the text of a newspaper through it. Being a traditional local dish, Golomyanka has a rather specific taste.
Despite the calm and peaceful image of Baikal lake, it is quite naughty: the seismic activity can reach up to hundreds of earthquakes per year. They are not too powerful though, only reaching magitude of 1-2 out of 10 on average. This means they can’t be felt on the shore and can only be detected by special equipment. However, this ensures years growth of the late by 2 cm.
So there you have it – 5 things you probably didn’t know about the world’s largest lake. Have you been there or are you planning to visit? What do you find the most exciting about Baikal? If an unforgettable trip to Baikal is in your bucket list, read more about all the Baikal region and the near city of Irkutsk. Let us know in the comments or interact with us through our Facebook page.
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