Lake Baikal is located in the southeast of Siberia and occupies a surface area of 3.15 million hectares. The lake is said to be the oldest and deepest lake in the world at 25 million years and 1700 meters depth respectively.
The lake hosts about 20% of the world’s unfrozen freshwater reserve. The lake is referred to as the ‘Galapagos of Russia’ in scientific circles due to its isolation. It is home to one of the richest and unusual freshwater animals besides being of exceptional value to the evolutionary science.
The geological features in the Lake Baikal Basin took place during the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic periods. There are various tectonic forces still going on in the region as evidenced by appearance of thermal vents in the depths of the lake.
The most amazing fact about Lake Baikal is the presence of unseen underwater features at its core that have proved important to both science and conservation. The biodiversity in Lake Baikal is one of the most interesting biodiversity on earth. It is home to 1340 species of which 745 are endemic to Lake Baikal. IT is also home to 570 species of plants, of which 150 are endemic to the lake. In the surrounding forests, you will find 10 threatened species. Also in the ecosystem surrounding the lake, you will find a full complement of boreal species.
The exceptionally picturesque landscape is made complete by the Lake Basin, tundra, lakes, boreal forests, mountains, steppes and islands. The region has 1200 historical cultural and archaeological monuments. About 1000 of the monuments are under state protection and a number of these are considered sacred. To fully understand the cultural mix in the region, you have to live it. The area has distinctive cultural mix that is very important for the historical studies in northern Europe.
In 1996, about 8,800,000 ha were inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites to protect the ecosystem from the various threats it faces from human activity. The Russian government has taken various measures to ensure the landscape retains its natural setup. There is no better place to experience a full holiday package in the whole of continental Europe.