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18 сентября 2019
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Across Baikal sea (6 days, 5 nights)

Ulan-Ude - Ivolginsky Buddhist monastery- Old Believers village - Kluevka town- Listvyanka - Irkutsk

                                                          Vladivostok To Ulan Ude.12

Known as the «Pearl of Siberia», the lake is fed by 336 rivers while only one, the Angara river, flows out. The ancient lake holds nearly one-fifth at the world's fresh water and is a living museum of flora and fauna. This tour will give you a chance to cross the famous «Siberian Sea“ and visit the most of interesting places on both shores.

Day 1 

Arrive at Ulan-Ude

Meet the guide at the railway station/airport

Transfer to the hotel

Excursion to Ivolginsky Buddhist temple*

Tour to Buryat village (50 min en route)**

Lunch at Buryat Yurt, meeting with the local citizents***

City tour of Ulan-Ude****

Excursion to the museum of Buddhism*****

Independent dinner

Overnight at the hotel

* Ivolginsky monastery is the center of Buddhism in Russia. Nowadays it's also an institute called «Dashi Choikhorling» (from Tibetan language «Land of the happy Teaching»). It's a special place where Buddhist monks, scientist-buddhologists, specialists in Tibetan and Old Mongolian languages are taught. Now the monastery keeps one of the most important Buddhist relicts — the imperishable body of XII Pandito Khambo lama Dashi Dorzho Itegelov.

**You have an opportunity to visit an authentic Buryat village and have a lunch in a traditional dwelling of nomads — a felted yurt (or Ger). You'll be met by villagers, dressed in national costumes, will be shown the interior of the dwelling and told about the history and traditions of the Buryat people by themselves. In every Buryat village there is a special place, usually at the top of some hill, where the villagers come to pray. This is where you will be taken to make an old ritual for having a good luck and lucky way. You'll see both- traditional summer house of the Buryat people and a winter house. Besides, you'll also try your hand in traditional cooking and Buryat sports. The folk songs will create an atmosphere of joy and leave a pleasant impressions and good memory about the place.

***National Buryat cuisine: salamat, buuza (steamed dumplings), bukhulyor (mutton soup), green tea with milk, shangy (buryat bread).

**** Historical center of Verkhneudinsk (nowadays Ulan-Ude), merchants' houses of the XVII-XIX centuries, churches and the biggest Lenin's monument in the world.

***** The museum was founded 1923. The exhibition includes unique materials on archeology, shamanism, Orthodoxy and Buddhism. There you can see rare books and coins, Buddhist tankas (icons), works of art of India, Nepal, Thailand, China, Japan, Tibet, Mongolia and Buryatia. The exhibitions «Buddhist art», «Atlas of Tibetan medicine».

Day 2

Breakfast at the hotel
Free time for independent exploration

Independent lunch

Tour to Ethnographical open air museum of Transbaikalian people*

Tour to the village of Old Believers**Lunch, folk show

Return to Ulan-Ude

Overnight at the hotel

* An open-air museum in the park area in the suburban part of Ulan-Ude. Includes Evenk, Buryat, Cossack, Old Believers complexes. Authentic houses, gers, tepees, different household utensils, ancient furniture, national clothes.

** The Old Believers of Buryatia are a colorful branch of Orthodox Russians exiled in Siberia in the XVI century after the church reform carried out by Patriarch Nikon. They managed to save their culture, singing art, religion as they were two centuries ago. Lunch at a family, ritual funny games, Old Believers polyphonic songs and a lot of fun!

Day 3

Breakfast at the hotel
Transfer to Kluevka town

Boarding the ship

Sailing to the western shore of Lake Baikal

Lunch en route

Stop at the old section of the Circum Baikal Railway road*

An exclusive walk along the Circum Baikal Railway road towards the nearest tunnel**

Arrive at Listvyanka village***

Accommodation at the guest house

Independent dinner

Overnight at the guest house

The Circum Baikal Railway Road consists of 40 tunnels and 16 separate galleries, 470 viaducts, variety of bridges and pipes. Apart from that there are about 280 separate complexes of supporting walls for different purposes. On the background one can see breathtaking huge capes and cliffs, picturesque valley of the rivers.
**No doubt, the tunnels and the galleries are the most impressive and tremendous, among the engineering installations of the CBRR. One really cannot remain unmoved by the beauty of the railroad tunnels and galleries. If you just come around you will feel the great scale and if you enter the tunnels you will feel the age-long coolness and anxious darkness! It is impossible to find identical tunnels and galleries, because even standard design had to be changed to a specific locality.

That is the root reason why the tunnels and other architectural structures are so different and we must pay tribute to the scenery, which helped the engineers to create such a wonder of the engineering thought!

Practically all the tunnels are built according to Belgian system and for the most part, they have a circular outline in transverse section, and 10 of them are built according to a parabolic type of construction.

The galleries were built in order to protect the permanent way of the railroad from probable landslides. Today it is difficult to imagine that a great number of foreign businessmen also took part in building the tunnels for instance: Italians, French, Swiss, Greek and Austrians. These businessmen were allowed to hire their countrymen as bricklayers or as supervisors. The longest tunnel is Polovinniy (which means «the half of the track»). The most dangerous part at the railroad during the building is the Beryozovaya bay, the 99th kilometer (Birch bay).

*** Listvyanka village is located at the place where the Angara River flows out of lake Baikal. More than 300 rivers flow into the lake and the only one - the Angara - flows out. A beautiful legend tells about arrogant daughter of Baikal, who felt in love with the Yenisei River and escaped from her Father. One can see the famous Shaman-rock right in the middle of the beautiful Angara River, which symbolizes, as an old story says, the anger of old Father Baikal, who threw it after his daughter Angara. Listvyanka is the place to visit the famous Baikal Limnological museum to know all the information on the Lake.

Day 4

Breakfast at the guest house
Excursion to Baikal museum

City tour of Listvyanka including the visit to St. Nikolas chirch and the local souvenir market**

Lunch at the restaurant

Excursion to the Chersky peak***

Free time for independent exploration

Independent dinner

Overnight at the guest house

* Baikal Limnological museum is a splendid place that keeps and studies different material evidences, exhibits and the information about the lake Baikal. The exhibitions of the museum are devoted to the origin of the lake, representatives of the endemic flora and fauna from the surface of the lake to the maximum depth. The museum also keeps an excellent model of Baikal bed. 

** According to a legend (which is historically reliable) Russian merchant Ksenofont Serebriakov traveled by a boat across the lake Baikal in the beginning of the 19th century. While he was sailing started a great storm and his boat was nearly wrecked. He was really on the brink of death, but he did not give way to despair and he started praying to Saint Nicolas for saving,since St. Nicolas is the protector of navigators. Then, a miracle happened, Ksenofont saw Nicolas himself, hastening to the help of the merchant. So, Ksenofont survived and as a mark of gratitude to St. Nicolas for wonderful rescuing, he promised to build a church devoted to St. Nicolas in the place where he went ashore at last. Thus, the church, made out of chopped logs, appeared at the mouth of the Angara river. Later in the middle of the 20th century it was removed to a safe place, because at that time there was a building of the Irkutsk hydro-electric power.

***From the top of the Chersky peak one can observe a striking panorama of the Angara river rise and the end limit of the Circum Baikal Railway road-port Baikal.

Day 5 Breakfast at the guest house
Transfer to Irkutsk

Excursion to the open air museum Taltsi*

Lunch at the restaurant en route

Accommodation at the centrally located hotel

City tour of Irkutsk** including the excursions to the famous Znamensky Cathedral*** and Decembrist museum. Visit to the bell tower to listen to chimes.

Independent dinner

Overnight at the hotel

* There are 13 architectural complexes with 36 wooden buildings on the museum «Taltsi» territory. Some of them have exhibits which can help you to understand the agricultural and cultural peculiarities of Transbaikalian people lived in XIX-XX centuries.

**On Siberian map Irkutsk appeared in the middle of the XVII century. It began with the ostrog (wooden fortress) built in 1661, then it grew into a settlement which got its state insignia in 1686. In the beginning of the XVII century the town began to develop rapidly. The first ambassadors went to China through Irkutsk, Japan and America. In 1970 Irkutsk was included into the list of protected Russian cities with preserving its ancient planning and houses.

*** Znamensky Cathedral is famous of its lavishly decorated and individual icon-stand. On the territory of the cathedral there are the graves of famous Decembrists: Mukhanov, Beschanov and Shelekhov.

Day 6

Breakfast at the hotel
Transfer to the airport/railway station