Recognised as the oldest freshwater lake still in existence, Lake Baikal is also measured as the deepest continental body of water and the largest freshwater lake by volume. Completely surrounded by mountains, it’s no wonder this massive lake has been the scene of many a great tale and Intrepid group leader Denis Sobnakov shares one of the region’s popular legends…
“From ancient times native people of Baikal region believed in the sacred powers of nature. Lake Baikal seemed to be atop of the world and people called it “a grandfather”. Many legends and stories have been told over time, but one of the most renowned is the story of his “daughter”, Angara, the only river that flows out of the lake.
Angara fell in love with another river, Enisey, which is situated to the north. Baikal was against their union and wouldn’t let her go to her lover. She once tried to escape and ran away under cover of night, but when Angara reached Enisey grandfather awoke. She hadn’t quite broken free and her leg was still at the lake. Baikal got very angry, he took a rock and nailed her dress to the ground.
Ever since that time, Angara still lies between Lake Baikal and the River Enisey. You can still see that rock in the middle where Angara starts and the locals call it Shaman rock. They say if you go and sit there on the rock, you’ll be cured from diseases and women will fall pregnant more easily. So needless to say there are many locals who swear by it and always travellers who are eager to test if there’s any truth to the myth!”
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* photo by Scott Walsh – Intrepid Photography Competition