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Olkhon Island

At the midsection of the western coast of Lake Baikal between the mainland and Olkhon Island stretches a strait known as Maloye Morye (the Small Sea). Its area is about 90 km2. Its southern entrance opens through a narrow channel - The Olkhon Gate. Its northern end depths do not exceed 200 m. Rocky islands tower above its surface. There are a lot of well-hidden bays. Especially famous is Mukhur Bay, a very picturesque one, only 4 - 5 m deep, thoroughly warmed up in summer, rich in fish and famous for its sandy beaches. Almost near the bay there is a wild ravine, from which the stormy wind Sarma blows. Maloye Morye is the habitat of omul (Baikal endemic fish), especially its fry from the age of one to four years.

Maloye Morye is separated from the open Baikal by Olkhon Island stretching for 72 km along the continental shore. "Olkhon" means "windy, sunny" in the Buryat language (the original language of the region). By a process still not understood winds drive away heavy clouds past Olkhon, and thus, there are more sunny day here than on the Black Sea coast. The shape of island resembles Baikal, and like the lake itself, it also unique, beautiful and mysterious.

In summer the southern section of the island is saturated with fragrance of steppe grasses. The north is woody, with ridges about 900 m high which, in the east are abruptly replaced by cliffs sliding directly into the water. The western coast is not high, it is whimsically jagged with tiny bays and capes. Olkhon Island distinguished not only by its scenery but by its different climate: it seldom rains and it is not often foggy here and the weather is rather predictable. Olkhon is the only; island on Lake Baikal where there has been human habitation since pre-historic times.

Baikal lake - Olkhon island  Map of Olkhon Island   - 82 Kb / Scale 1:750000 (1cm = 1.5 km)
Lake Baikal - Olkhon island  Travel to Olkhon Island   - in Summer
Baikal - Olkhon island  Travel to Olkhon Island   - in Winter
Baikal - Olkhon island photos  Photos of Olkhon during winter travel
The sandy bay before Khuzir settlement

View down from the northern tip of the island - Khoboy cape. I was trying to make the photo of the seal, but it was too far - the seal's head is the black dot at the top of the biggest stone underwater.

Uzuri - the only shallow bay on the eastern shore of Olkhon

Burkhan Cape (burkhan rock, shaman stone and even stone temple) - the holy place of Baikal lake - there is a cave by the foot of the rock that was considered to be the home of the spirit of Olkhon island

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