|Origin & Development|
|History of Lake Baikal|
|Lake Baikal Climate|
|Fauna & Vegetation|
|Water of Lake Baikal|
|People of Lake Baikal|
|Baikal local terms and geographical names|
Explanation of the local terms and geographical names on lake Baikal and Baikal region:
The Academic Range - is an underwater mountain range diagonally crossing
the Baikal hollow from Olkhon Island to Valukan Cape. The range, some top of
which tower above the lake waters as Ushkani Islands, was discovered by G.
Vereshchagin in 1932.
The Angara River - "Angai", "angarkhai", in the Buryat Language mean
"open", "cleft", "ravine"; literally "the open mouth of a beast".
Arch Cape. Sometimes it is also called Dyrovatyi which means "holey".
There is a cliff that has a through orifice in the form of an arch.
Aya inlet is situated to the south of Olkhon Island. This short Evenk word
means "beautiful, comfortable, good, lovely". The Ayaya is an inlet on the northeastern
Bagul is a rhododendron.
Baikal is a lake and a port. "Baigaal-Dalai" in Buryat is "a vast, big
reservoir, like a sea ("dalai")". "Baigal" in the Mongolian language means "natural".
"Bai-Kyel" in Yakut, "Bai-Kuhl" in Turkic is "a rich lake".
Baklany Kamen' Island, Cape, Bay. The habitat of a large cormorant ("baklan").
Bazarnaya Bay. In old times the local population had there a bazaar (market)
where they exchanged fish and fur for food, clothes and ammunition.
Burkhan Cape on Olkhon Island. Ancient people called it so in honour of the
Baikal god Burkhan.
Buruni (breakers) are high wind-waves on the lake.
Davsha inlet. The Evenk "davsher" means "meadows", "a wide open area". Davsha
is the seat of the Barguzin State Nature Reserve.
Gnus is a folk collective name for a class of winged bloodsucking insects
(gad-flies, midge, wood-lice). It is a real nuisance of the Siberian taiga.
Goltsy are peaks, crests and high slopes of mountain ranges rising above the
forest vegetation boundary; they look bare, naked.
Golumen is "a remote place on the lake", "a mirror-like surface", "a mirage"
(Baikal). The name of the Baikal golomyanka fish originates from the name of the place.
Gornyi is a side wind powerfully blowing from the mountains, dangerous for
Izgolovye ("the head of the bed") is the upper cape of the island in the
river-bed with the stream: the beginning is Izgolovye, the end is Ukhvostye (the Russian
"khvost" means "tail"); the outer capes down the island or peninsula valley in Lake
Verkhneye (Superior) Izgolovye and Nizhneye (Inferior) Izgolovye and on Svyatoi Nos
(Holy Nose) Peninsula.
Khakusy inlet, cape. This oval sandy bay covered with dark-coniferous
forest and vast glades of iceland moss against the cupola-like slopes charms you with
its grim beauty. Half a kilometer away from the shore from under the foot of the
terrace-like ledge flows out a hot spring of considerable discharge. Near this one
streams an icy spring and a bit lower there are tasty medicinal waters of the
Khamar - Daban Range (Pribaikalye). The Buryat "Khamar" is "a nose",
"Dabaan" is "a high, difficult ascent, a mountain pass, a mountain". Thus,
"Khamar-Daban" means "nose-mountain". There is another explanation. "Hamapahan" is
cedar, so the name means "a cedar mountain". The last one is more convincing because
the range is covered mainly with cedar woods. But this etymology is actually
far-fetched Initially, the name Khamar-Daban related only to a small pass near
Cape Shamanskyi which has the form of a man's nose profile. Then it was transferred
to define the adjacent mountain chain.
Kolokolny, Bolshoi (Big) and Maly (Small) Kolokolnyi Capes are high bluffs
resembling belfries that jut out into Baikal. The capes are situated on both ends of
Peschanaya Bay alongside which they make up an exceptionally picturesque scenery on the
Koty, Bolshiye (Big) and Maliye (Small) Koty are small rivers and also a
settlement and a bay. This name may be connected with the Evenk word "koto" which means
"a knife, cudgel" used for removing small trees from a trail. The settlements arose due
to the discovery of gold. Irkutsk State University Biological Research Station is
situated here. It is one of the oldest research institutions on Lake Baikal. It was
founded in 1918. In 1923 it was transferred to the possession of Irkutsk University by
the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS).
Kultuk is a bay in the southern end of Baikal and in Barguzin Bay. Kultuk is
also a settlement. The word "kultuk" is of the Turkic origin translated as "a corner,
bay, dead end".
Listvyanka. This settlement is named so due to larch-trees ("listvennitsy")
growing on the nearest Cape Listvenichny. In 1930 Baikal Limnological Station was
established here transferring from Maritui Station, founded in 1928. Since 1961 it has
been called Baikal Limnological Institute (The Siberian Department of the Russian
Academy of Sciences).
Logovo ("lair") is the nerpa (the Baikal seal) habitat on the ice amidst
hummocks. This permanent winter nerpa habitat is connected to the lake through an
opening in the ice ("produvina").
Maloye Morye (The Small Sea) is a strait between the northwestern
shore of Lake Baikal and Olkhon Island. The southern narrow part of it is called the
Olkhon Gate. "Maloye Morye" in the Buryat language is "Narin-dalai", which means "the
narrow sea" in contrast to "Yekha-dalai" ("the big sea").
Maritui is a village. "Morin" means "a horse", "moritaei" is "having a
horse, horseman or horse".
Mar' is a marsh-ridden sparse growth of oppressed larch-trees (Northern
Zabaikalye); uneven tussocky swamps with dense bushes and sparse growth of trees
Mukhur Bay. "Mukhar" translated from Buryat means "dead end" (of
Nicola is a village at the Angara source. Earlier it was called Shigaikha
and served as a transshipping base. With the construction of St. Nicholas' Church
(Nicholas is considered to be the god of sailors, tradesmen and fishermen) the village
got the name Nicholsky and later on it was changed to Nichola.
Olkhon Island is the biggest on Lake Baikal. It is only partly
covered with woods. Due to this very fact it was named Olkhon, which in the Buryat
language means "a bit woody" ("OY" means forest, woods and "khon, khan" is a diminutive
suffix). Some people think that "Olkhon" is a Buryat word for "dry".
Onguhryon settlement has got its name from the Buryat "ungaeraeae" that
means "has come to an end" (end of a road, way). Some people believe it to be of the
Evenk origin - "ungarae" which is "the middle, the centre".
Pahd' is a dryland narrow valley with seasonal flow in the mountains, a dry
valley on lowlands and uplands, but a wider one, with gentle slopes and powerful column
of loose sediments.
Peschanaya Bay (Sandy). The sandy shores of the bay define its
name. The wind blows out sand from under the roots and the trees stand as if on stilts.
The bay is also unique thanks to its exotic cliffs and their sharp jags distinct amid
evergreen cedar trees. Bolshaya Kolokolnya (the Big Belfry) in the north and Malaya
Kolokolnya (the Small Belfry) in the south encircle this picturesque bay where the
tourist campus and the infirmary of the Limnological Institute are situated.
Pribaikalye is the territory adjoining Lake Baikal.
Proparina is an unfrozen patch of open water in the midst of the
ice-bound river over which thick fog hangs (Eastern Siberia).
Proval Bay. This name came into being due to the earthquake in the
north of the Selenga River delta (Jan. 12, 1862) when the coastal part of the Tsagan
steppe 200 km sank into the water to a depth of 2m. This new bay of Baikal got the
name. "Proval" which means "downfall", the cape was called "Oblom" (break-off), the
channels were named "promoy" and the straits "prorvy".
Raspadock is a small waterless valley or a hollow which is part of the
Sakhurta settlement. In the Buryat Language "sakhur" means "flint" and
"sakhurta" is a place where there is flint which had been till recently used by the
Buryats for getting fire.
Sarma is a river and a settlement. "Sarmar" in Buryat means "crossing a river
by ox". Evidently this name is connected with crossing this powerful river using oxen.
The west stormy wind blowing on Maloye Morye is also called Sarma.
Shamanskyi Kamen' (Shaman Rock) is an overfall,
a cape in the southern extremity of Lake Baikal. There is also Shamanka Rock near
Khuzhir settlement. They are the most attractive sites of nature, where in ancient
times ritual ceremonies of Buryat shamanists were held. For their rites the shamanists
would also choose clean and beautiful pine or birch groves or picturesque high river
banks and shores. All these places were considered sacred.
Shelonnik is a warm spring wind blowing from the south onto Lake
Baikal. This name was brought here by Novgorod people: the similar wind blows down the
Shelon River on Lake Ilmen (Novgorod Region).
Sopka is the top of a mountain or a hill; round and not very high. Sopky are
also separate mountains not joined in a chain or a hilly upland (Zabaikalye).
Sor, sory (PI.) are shallow water bays of Lake Baikal inhabited mainly by
freshwater fish, e. g. pike, crucian, eel-pout which they call "sorovaya ryba" (small
fish). Typical Baikal fish usually avoid these "sory".
Stlanik or slanik is undergrowth of a trailing plant-cedar stlanik
(Pribaikalye and Zabaikalye). The name is derived from the Russian verb "stlatsya"
Svyatoi Nos (Holy Nose) is a peninsula connected with the mainland
by a low marsh-ridden neck of land. The peninsula has a shape of a gigantic nose.
Taiga is a native Siberian name for deep, impassable and partly marsh-ridden
coniferous forest consisting of spruce, larch, cedar, fir and in the south mixed with
pine. The word has originated from the Buryat "taigaa" (deep mountain forest, backwoods).
The term is used in the world geographic literature as a name for the entire belt of
coniferous forests forming a certain geographical zone - the taiga zone.
Tazheran, "urotchishchye", the Tazheran steppe is a vast space on the
mainland of the Olkhon district. The word "tazheran" is interpreted as a place of
summer migration or "letnik" (from the Russian "leto" - summer).
Turahli Cape. In the south of the cape dunes are made up of what they call
"singing sands". The Evenk "turahli" means "musical, singing". At present the major
part of the dunes is underwater.
Turkukit inlet. Evenk people understand this word as a passage or a pack
trail. In an old Evenk dialect it meant "has come ashore from the woods". Despite a
hilly and rocky nature of the shore there is a trail, over which in the old days the
people drove cattle.
Ulus is a Russian-adapted name for a Buryat settlement, relating to a hamlet
or a village.
Ushkani Islands - Bolshoi (The Big one) and three Malykh (Small ones) -
Tonky (Thin), Dolgy (Long) and Krugly (Round). In Siberia they call hares "ushkany"
("having long ears"). On Remizov's map (1701) these islands were marked as Zayatchi.
But in the old days the Baikal seal (nerpa) was called "zayats" ("a hare"). There is a
seal in the White Sea which is also named "zayats". Later the name "Zayatchi" was
changed to "Ushkani". On Bolshoi Ushkani Island there is Peshcherka inlet ("Peshcherka"
in Russian means "a small cave"). The inlet serves as a shelter for fishermen and nerpa
Verkhovik is the east or southeast wind blowing as usual during cyclonic
weather. If Verkhovik blows, it will be nasty. Sometimes winds blowing down the valleys
from the upper reaches of the rivers are also called "verkhoviks".
Zimnik is a winter road laid through frozen rivers, lakes, marshes; usually
shorter than the summer one. To some taiga marsh-ridden places one can get only by