Olkhon Island (Lake Baikal)

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Olkhon Island is the largest on the lake, and its area is of 730 square kilometers. However, it's not the size that made the island famous, Olkhon is one of the major tourist places of Baikal thanks to its natural beauty and abundance of attractions. The 70 kilometers of the island are hilly, and its highest point is 820 meters above the sea level. The island's population is only 1,500 thousand people, and due to the fact that human intervention in the environment is minimal, the nature is preserved in its original form. Approximately half of its territory is covered by forests, and the other half is steppe. Because of the constant winds, the steppe area keeps increasing every year, and perhaps in the distant future practically nothing will be left of local dense forests. The coastline here is very diverse, in some places high cliffs form an abrupt descent to the water, so the scenery is magnificent, and sometimes there are sandy beaches that are perfect for camps and recreation.

For a long time, Olkhon has been a sacred place for local peoples who practice shamanism. In many places that attract tourists for its natural beauty, since ancient times were performed various rituals, and shamans were kind of mediators between the spirit world and the human world. When shamans were persecuted by Buddhists, the island became a real haven for them, and even the locals say that here is the tomb of Genghis Khan, but there is no documentary evidence of this.

The island is an ideal place to stay for lovers eco-tourism and hiking. In an area of over 700 square kilometers are located only a few settlements, and human presence in these areas is almost imperceptible.The climate in this area is also favorable for vacations, because in average, only 48 days a year are cloudy here, and the rest of the time it is sunny. Not any advertized resort could boast such an abundance of sunny days. Thanks to so much sun, all inland lakes of Olkhon have enough time to warm up and are perfect for swimming.

However, if you visit this place do not forget one important thing: it is a protected area, and there are special rules for being there, for the local nature requires special and careful treatment.

The island has several comfortable tourist camps, but most tourists prefer to stay in tents. The tourist infrastructure is poorly developed on the island, there is only one good road, there are several sites for tents and caravans with minimal amenities. Maybe that's why the coast of Olkhon season is strewn with tourists'camps during high season.

Attraction of Olkhon

  • Shaman Rock - an amazingly beautiful and mystical place.The Shaman Rock is on the list of nine Asian shrines.
  • Saraysk bay - a perfect place to stay.A sandy beach stretches along the shore of the bay 3 kilometers long, and the local landscape looks more like a sea coast.
  • Turtle Rock - an amazingly beautiful stone in the forests of Olkhon.
  • Lake Shara-Nur with mineral water.It is excellent for treatment and prevention of certain diseases.
  • Kurykan wall - remnants of the once powerful fortifications at Cape Khorgoy.A wall separates the cape from the island in the narrowest part of the isthmus. Moreover, next to the wall was discovered an ancient settlement inhabited by the Kurykans in approximately 6-10th centuries AD.
  • Cape Khoboy - another beautiful cape, the northernmost point of the island.For a long time it was a cult and a sacred place for the local people.
  • Khuzhir village - the largest settlement on the island.It has several interesting objects that are worth visiting, such as Huzhirsky Museum.The settlement can also be the starting point for many tourists, for you can always here anything you need for the vacation.

Photo gallery - Olkhon Island (Lake Baikal) Olkhon Island (Lake Baikal)