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Siberia’s big blue eye

Siberia’s Big Blue Eye..................(LakeBaikal4.jpg)

When I hear the word 'Siberia', the first things to pop into my mind are images of snow, sleds, and lots and lots of fur clothing. It's easy to forget that there are seasons other than winter in this eastern Russian federation, but on a summer day, nothing could be more glorious than a visit to Lake Baikal, the 'Blue Eye of [the] Siberia'n Husky.

Siberia’s Big Blue Eye..................(LakeBaikal1.jpg)

A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996, the lake is included among 878 other properties around the world deemed to have 'outstanding universal value'. So what makes Baikal stand out from our planet's other big lakes?

Siberia’s Big Blue Eye..................(LakeBaikal3.jpg)

To start off, this 'Pearl of Siberia' contains more water than all the Great Lakes combined. That's right, Superior, who's superior now? Though you and Lake Victoria may have a larger surface area, Baikal's incredible depth (5,371 feet) more than makes up in the volume equation. The deepest lake in the world (if only human depth could be measured so concretely), and the largest freshwater lake by volume (about 5,521 cubic MILES of water). So there!

Siberia’s Big Blue Eye..................(LakeBaikal2.jpg)

With such depth and volume, it should be little surprise that Lake Baikal is also a marvel of biodiversity. There's more in these waters than hydrogen and oxygen… Yes, 1,085 species of plants and 1,550 species and varieties of animals call this lake home, and with over 80 percent of them being unique to the area, Baikal really is like no other place on earth.

So if you need to get away, and I mean REALLY get away, a visit to Lake Baikal promises to help you do just that. Imagine hikes along its wooded shores in the daytime, followed by a dip in its clear, frigid waters during the heat of the afternoon. At night, you dine on Omul fish, freshly caught and smoked in one of the many markets around the lake. That night, and for many nights to come, you dream a little dream of Baikal. RS

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