- Local legends 5. Protection of the ecosystem
- Special in many ways 6. Extinct species
- Tourist attraction 7. Scientific expeditions
- Diverse wildlife 8. Harsh climate
A. The world’s deepest lake, the Baikal, is in Siberia. It is also the largest freshwater lake in Eurasia and the oldest lake on the Earth. At least 1,500 unique species live there — they cannot be found anywhere else on the planet! The water in the lake is so clear that if you drop a coin, it can be clearly seen a hundred feet below the water.
B. People who live in the Baikal region believe that it’s a unique and mysterious place. According to them, the water from Lake Baikal can cure different illnesses, gives you strength and clears your mind. They also say that the lake was formed millions of years ago when a huge, hot rock fell to earth. It melted the ice around and that was how Lake Baikal appeared. The story about the meteorite has, however, never been proved by scientists.
C. The lake has also become famous for its unique fish and birds that are not found in other waters. The lake is home to more than 1000 animal species. Among them there are the world’s only freshwater seals. There’s no evidence of how the seals got to the lake, but they obviously enjoy their life there. Huge brown bears often come to the lake out of the forest to hunt and fish.
D. Though Lake Baikal is located in a very remote place, and is difficult to reach in autumn and winter, it attracts thousands of visitors every year. A chance to see this unique place is worth the long journey! On the banks of Lake Baikal you can stay in a modern, comfortable hotel, take part in hiking tours and enjoy the untouched natural beauty. People who have visited Lake Baikal once want to return to the place again and again.
E. However, the growing popularity of the lake and the industrial development of the region have caused ecological problems. The safety of this unique natural ecosystem has been discussed at an international level. Now Lake Baikal is on the list of heritage sites protected by UNESCO. A federal state law about the conservation of the lake was also supported in Russia.
F. The lake attracts not only tourists but also many wildlife researchers, biologists and even archaeologists. The world famous explorer and scientist, Jacques Cousteau, and his team spent lots of time studying the deep waters of Lake Baikal. They also shot a film about their research that was broadcast by major TV channels all over the world.
G. veryone considers the Siberian climate very severe, which is perfectly true for the Baikal region. The winters there are really freezing — the average temperature is as low as -25 degrees Celsius. Due to its location in the middle of the continent, the place is characterised by a sharp contrast between winter and summer temperatures. The summers are generally cool, with a few hot days. The sun shines brightly above the lake till late autumn.