Mysterious world of Circumbaikal old railway (7 days, 6 nights)
Ulan-Ude — Ivolginsky Datsan — Sludyanka — Baikal Circut — Hvoinaya — Listvyanka — Irkutsk
There are so many enigmatic places in Siberia, wrapped in mystery that
you haven't explored yet. The land of sacred Baikal conceals one more
its favorite — the Circum-Baikal railroad.
The Circum Baikal Railroad has no analogue! Nowadays it can really be called «the longest museum in the world». It is a magnificent monument
devoted not only to the skill of numerous engineers of the beginning of the 20th century, but also to the unique and breathtaking scenery of this area: geology, mineralogy and zoology. Here you can see how the engineering installations and architectural structures remarkably merge
into severe and vulnerable landscape of the Baikal coastline.
In 1904 the Circum Baikal Railroad connected two parts of the Trans
Siberian railroad that is why it was given a nickname «a buckle» and talking about the epithet «golden» it was really so because the expenditures per one kilometer of the railroad exceeded all the records
of that time.
Feel yourself a real explorer! Maybe only you can unravel a mystery of a steep stone gallery which hangs over the surface of the lake in the Berezovaya Bay or maybe you can find a reason of appearance of an American steam locomotive at the Circum-Baikal Railroad.
Discover the lost world of the Circum Baikal Railroad! Good luck and pleasant, happy traveling!
Mysterious world of Circum Baikal Old Railroad
In pleasurable anticipation of the events
Meeting at airport / RW station
Transfer to hotel / homestay
Breakfast in hotel / homestay *
Tour to Ivolginsky Buddhist monastery (35
km away from Ulan-Ude). You'll be shown the way at the monastery by khuvarak (a student monk) **
City tour ***
Lunch at the Ger-cafe «Bataray Urge»
(from Buryat language — «Stop (dumplings (mutton soup),
green tea with milk, shangy (Buryat bred)
of Geser»****). National Buryat cuisine:
salamat, buuza made on steam), bukhulyor
.Excursion to Oriental Medicine Center *****
b.Museum of Buddhism ******
б.Ethnographical museum *******
Supper — independently (or according to a guide recommendation)
* Breakfast with a family is an opportunity
not-to-be-missed to chat with friendly people while drinking tea with
home cooked baking!
** The Ivolginsky Monastery — the center of Buddhism in Russia. It is a beautiful temple opened for the visitors.
Nowadays it also includes a famous Buddhist University «Dashi
Choikhorling» (the name derives from the Tibetan language and means
«the land of Happy teaching». Here Buddhist monks-scientists,
specialists in Tibetan and Old Mongolian languages and orientalists are taught.
*** The historical center of an old Verkhneudinsk
(nowadays — Ulan-Ude), the merchants' houses of hte XVIII-XIXth
centuries, churches and the biggest Lenin's head in the world!
**** Geser — the hero of a Buryat national legend
(uliger) which is called «The tale of Geser-khan, the sovereign of ten countries of the world». The heroic epos was finally finished in XVI-XVII and it has a Kalmyk, Buryat, Tibetan and Mongolian variants.
In 1995 there was a 1000th anniversary of the epos «Geser» in Buryatia.
***** The doctors of Tibetan medicine will gave
you a precise diagnosis according to your pulse. You will see with your
own eyes the non-traditional treatment, for example: acupuncture;
treatment with leeches; phototherapy and soon. The theoretical basics
of all the methods of treatment is the Atlas of Tibetan Medicine (which
is exhibited). There you can also find a phototherapy drug-store. An excursion is conducted by a specialist from the center.
****** Exhibitions — «Buddhist Art», «The Atlas of Tibetan Medicine», «The Chronograph of Buryatia».
******* An open-air museum in the park area in the suburban part of Ulan-Ude. It includes: The Evenk, the Buryat, the Cossack, the Old Believers complexes. Authentic houses, gers, tepees,
different household utensils, ancient furniture, national clothes.
Breakfast in hotel/homestay
Transfer Ulan-Ude — Sludyanka* by minivan along the coastline of Baikal **
Lunch at restaurant of Armenian cuisine
Train journey along the Circum Baikal Rail Road (CBRR)
Supper, banya, overnight at Pine guesthouse ***
* Sludyanka — is the biggest railway station at the Circum Baikal Railroad. Here, according to an individual design,
the unique railway station in the world was built, made of Baikal pink
marble. Its facades are faced with a world-known Sludyanka white and pink marble, taken out of nearby quarries. «Vodoyomnoe (water-bodied)
building» attracts the visitor's attention by its «medieval shapes» but it's made in a «modern» style. Besides there is a Railroad Orthodox
Church — it is a fine and rare specimen of wooden architecture of Siberia.
** The Circum Baikal Rail Road — consists of 40 tunnels and 16 separate galleries, 470 viaducts, bridges and pipes.
Apart from that there are about 280 separate complexes of supporting
walls for different purposes. In the background one can see breathtaking huge capes and cliffs, picturesque valley of the rivers.
*** Khvoynaya (the Pine) train station — after the transit traffic along the CBRR had been closed, it was removed.
Nowadays there are not so many evidences of the glorious years of the CBRR or «Krugobaikalka» as it's called here. Water tower with a chimney, old and historical steam locomotives (even an American one!),
the foundations of lost buildings and sparse forest of age — old poplars (fragrant and balsamic kind). It's interesting to note, that
all the guesthouses at the CBRR are rebuilt on the old foundations
according to the designs of the last century which are still available.
An exclusive walking tour along the permanent way of the CBRR. You'll have a great opportunity to visit the world-known
tunnels, you'll really be struck by huge drainage chutes* and you will
be impressed by a magnificent Italian** Supporting wall (located by Berezovaya Bay, the river Shumikha, Polovinnaya)
Lunch. Dinner, overnight at Pine guest house
* No doubt, the tunnels and the galleries are the most impressive and tremendous, amongst the engineering installations
of the CBRR. One really can not 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! Can you imagine, it is impossible to find identical tunnels and galleries, because even standard design had to be changed after the beginning of construction in 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).
** An exquisite Italian supporting wall is the symbol of the CBRR. It is made in a rock half-cutting, which is situated at the 102nd kilometer. It is very close to the western portal
of the 8th stone gallery.
Breakfast at Pine guest house
Transfer to Listvianka* by boat along the coast line of lake Baikal, across the mouth of the Angara river
Excursion to the Limnological museum** and to the St. Nicolas Church*** in the Cross valley
* Listvyanka is the place where the Angara river
flows out of lake Baikal. More than 300 permanent rivers flow into the lake and only the Angara flows out of it. Lovely legends personify the old father-Baikal and his beautiful daughter Angara. She liberated
herself from the strong ice chains of father-Baikal and ran away to her beloved Enisey. Today we can see the famous Shaman-rock right in the middle of the beautiful Angara river, which symbolizes the anger of Old Father Baikal, who according to one of the legends threw it after her daughter.
** Baikal Limnological museum is a splendid
museum where different material evidences, exhibits, in short all the information about lake Baikal is kept, studied and exhibited: origin of the lake; representatives of the endemic flora and fauna from the surface of the lake to the maximum depth; excellent model of the bed of Baikal.
*** According to a legend (which is historically
reliable) a Russian merchant Ksenofont Serebriakov traveled by a boat
across lake Baikal in the beginning of the 19th century. While he was sailing, all of a sudden, a great storm started 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, because
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
Breakfast in hotel / homestay
Transfer Listvyanka — Irkutsk by car (60 km, 50 min of driving)
Excursion to the Wooden architecture museum «Taltsi»
Lunch at «Zaimka» restaurant in forest
Overnight in hotel / homestay
* On the 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
status in 1686. In the beginning of the XVII century the town began
rapidly developing. 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. Irkutsk has a huge quantity of monuments of wooden
architecture. There are about 500 architectural monuments in the city,
among which historically constructed ensembles are depicted. The greatest interest has the ancient part of the city including Spasskaya
church and Bogoyavlensky Cathedral.
** At the museum territory there are 13 architectural complexes with 36 wooden buildings. Some of them have
exhibits which can help you understand the agricultural and cultural
peculiarities of Transbaikalian people of XIX-XX centures
Breakfast in hotel / homestay
City tour: cathedrals, monastery, churches,
monuments of wooden and stone architecture of XVIII-XX centuries,
monument to Alexander III *.
Excursion to Decembrist museum. The house of dukes Volkonsky **
Excursion to ice-breaker «Angara» ***
Overnight in hotel / homestay
* To commemorate the finish of the Great
TransSiberian Rail Way construction two monuments to Russian Tsar
Alexander III were erected in St. Petersburg and Irkutsk. The Emperor
was depicted as a Cossack's ataman (leader) looking to the East. The monument in Irkutsk was destroyed by Bolsheviks in 1920 and reconstructed by the Russian Railway in 2003.
** This house is connected with the family of Sergey Volkonsky, one of the Decembrists leaders. They lived for 30 years in Siberia, 17 of them they had been living in Irkutsk in this
house. Original things of the Volkonsky family and other Decembrists
are kept in the museum. The museum held various musical and literature
*** The ice-breaker «Angara» is one of two ferry-ice-breakers made at Newcastle's shipyard in 1898. It was constructed for ferry transportations across Baikal before finishing
the Circum Baikal rail road
Breakfast in hotel / homestay
Transfer to airport / RW station
1. Excursion to the Oriental Medicine Center (the
unique pulse diagnostics, untraditional ways of curing, phytopharmacy,
history of renaissance of Oriental medicine in Buryatia);
2. Excursion to the Museum of Buddhism.
Exhibitions «Buddhist Art», «Atlas of Tibetan Medicine», «Christianity»
(original of Atlas of Tibetan Medicine, cult and ritual objects,
Buddha's of different counties, ritual clothes of Buddhist lamas,
shamans, Old Believers national costume).
Profsoysnaya Street, 31
8 (3012) 216-177
Rossiyskaya Street, 6. Office 2
8 (3952) 342-043