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Fragments of an iceberg on the surface of Lake Baikal

A journey through the universe, the aurora borealis, and shards of icebergs... the rest depends on your imagination. Wintertime on Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world (70 km from Irkutsk), is a frosty fairytale for true romantics.
By Alexandr Cheban, special to RBTH
A journey through the universe, the aurora borealis, and shards of icebergs... the rest depends on your imagination. Wintertime on Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world (70 km from Irkutsk), is a frosty fairytale for true romantics.
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Alexandr Cheban

A journey through the universe, the aurora borealis, and shards of icebergs... the rest depends on your imagination. Wintertime on Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world (70 km from Irkutsk), is a frosty fairytale for true romantics.
Lake Baikal is at the very heart of Asia, on roughly the same latitude as Moscow and London. It is located 445 metres (1,460 feet) above sea level, while the lake bottom descends to almost 1,200 metres (3,937 feet) below sea level.

Alexandr Cheban

Lake Baikal is at the very heart of Asia, on roughly the same latitude as Moscow and London. It is located 445 metres (1,460 feet) above sea level, while the lake bottom descends to almost 1,200 metres (3,937 feet) below sea level.
Locked within the massif of the Baikal Mountains, from north to south the lake runs for 636 kilometres (395 miles) – the distance between Moscow and St Petersburg.

Alexandr Cheban

Locked within the massif of the Baikal Mountains, from north to south the lake runs for 636 kilometres (395 miles) – the distance between Moscow and St Petersburg.
The lake is so big – its surface area is as large as Belgium – that it would take around four months, at normal walking speed, to walk all the way around it.

Alexandr Cheban

The lake is so big – its surface area is as large as Belgium – that it would take around four months, at normal walking speed, to walk all the way around it.
Everyone should visit the Baikal – it is awfully beautiful, and not just once, but at different times of the year. For example, in winter, you can get a thrill from riding a car on a frozen lake. It's just great.

Alexandr Cheban

Everyone should visit the Baikal – it is awfully beautiful, and not just once, but at different times of the year. For example, in winter, you can get a thrill from riding a car on a frozen lake. It's just great.
Siberians believe that Lake Baikal’s water has curative properties, and habitually call it “the freshwater sea”. It is rich in oxygen, and as pure as distilled water. But in winter, its surface becomes like heavy-duty safety glass.

Alexandr Cheban

Siberians believe that Lake Baikal’s water has curative properties, and habitually call it “the freshwater sea”. It is rich in oxygen, and as pure as distilled water. But in winter, its surface becomes like heavy-duty safety glass.
Fancy pyramid-shaped columns form in the air, congealing in the surface layers of the ice.

Alexandr Cheban

Fancy pyramid-shaped columns form in the air, congealing in the surface layers of the ice.
On the way, you might get to see the Torosy — immense ice hummocks up to 10-20 meters high, formed as a result of compression of the ice cover.

Alexandr Cheban

On the way, you might get to see the Torosy — immense ice hummocks up to 10-20 meters high, formed as a result of compression of the ice cover.
So thick is the ice when the lake freezes that during the Russo-Japanese war of 1904, railway lines were laid over it which successfully supported 65 steam engines and 2,300 loaded wagons. The ice takes on a turquoise hue in spring as it breaks and disperses to reveal the shimmering water once again.

Alexandr Cheban

So thick is the ice when the lake freezes that during the Russo-Japanese war of 1904, railway lines were laid over it which successfully supported 65 steam engines and 2,300 loaded wagons. The ice takes on a turquoise hue in spring as it breaks and disperses to reveal the shimmering water once again.
Baikal is located in a vast crustal fault basin that continues to grow around 2 centimeters (1 inch) every year, like similar lakes on the African or South American continents. If all the rivers on Earth were to flow into Baikal, it would take a year to fill it.

Alexandr Cheban

Baikal is located in a vast crustal fault basin that continues to grow around 2 centimeters (1 inch) every year, like similar lakes on the African or South American continents. If all the rivers on Earth were to flow into Baikal, it would take a year to fill it.
The extraordinary size and unique features of this sea-lake have inspired many Russian writers, artists, filmmakers and poets. Soviet writer Valentin Rasputin wrote in his monograph on Baikal in the 80's: “It seems that Baikal should overwhelm people with its gigantic size and scope. Everything about it is on a gigantic scale, expansive and mysterious."

Alexandr Cheban

The extraordinary size and unique features of this sea-lake have inspired many Russian writers, artists, filmmakers and poets. Soviet writer Valentin Rasputin wrote in his monograph on Baikal in the 80's: “It seems that Baikal should overwhelm people with its gigantic size and scope. Everything about it is on a gigantic scale, expansive and mysterious."
There are two main means of transport to get to Baikal lake: by plane or by train. If you are traveling from a nearby town (such as Irkutsk or Ulan-Ude), you can also get to Baikal lake by bus or by car.

Alexandr Cheban

There are two main means of transport to get to Baikal lake: by plane or by train. If you are traveling from a nearby town (such as Irkutsk or Ulan-Ude), you can also get to Baikal lake by bus or by car.
January 8, 2014
Tags: siberia, baikal

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