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Olkhon Island

Amidst the waters of the largest freshwater lake in the world, Olkhon is the largest of Baikal’s islands. It is also considered among its most important, sacred and beautiful. With dramatic terrain varying from craggy mountain peaks lining its eastern shore to lush taiga thickets, sprawling steppe and even desert, it’s easy to forget that Olkhon is a mere island. The local inhabitants (apart from its diverse wildlife population) comprise fishermen, farmers and cattle wranglers. Most of them descending from the island’s aboriginal Buryat people, the locals keep a strong strain of shamanic tradition alive and many sites on the island are believed to have mystic power.

Besides its beautiful flora and fauna and breathtaking scenery, the island is home to friendly and welcoming locals, warm guesthouses, informative museums and tasty authentic food. As such, it’s a great destination for exploration with ease. Visitors can hike to rocks and caves, snap pictures of weird and wonderful rock formations and experience a slice of real Buryat lifestyle.

Amidst the waters of the largest freshwater lake in the world, Olkhon is the largest of Baikal’s islands. It is also considered among its most important, sacred and beautiful. With dramatic terrain varying from craggy mountain peaks lining its eastern shore to lush taiga thickets, sprawling steppe and even desert, it’s easy to forget that Olkhon is a mere island. The local inhabitants (apart from its diverse wildlife population) comprise fishermen, farmers and cattle wranglers. Most of them descending from the island’s aboriginal Buryat people, the locals keep a strong strain of shamanic tradition alive and many sites on the island are believed to have mystic power.

Besides its beautiful flora and fauna and breathtaking scenery, the island is home to friendly and welcoming locals, warm guesthouses, informative museums and tasty authentic food. As such, it’s a great destination for exploration with ease. Visitors can hike to rocks and caves, snap pictures of weird and wonderful rock formations and experience a slice of real Buryat lifestyle.

EXPERIENCES

EXPERIENCES

Shaman demonstration

At certain times, it’s possible to witness and experience a real Shamanic ceremony. The rocks and caves on the island are considered powerful and sacred and traditional rites with dances and music are performed.

Shamanka

On the island’s western coast stands Shaman’s Rock. The local Buryat people say that within its caves dwells Burkhan, a religious figure. Shamanka is enormously important within the Shaman community and ranks among Asia’s nine most sacred places.

The National History Museum of Revyakin

Located in the village of Khuzir, the museum is a one-stop shop for everything you need to know about the island. An excellent way to orientate yourself, it contains exhibits on the inhabitants, from Neolithic times, all the way through to the conditions for Soviet exiles.

Three Brothers Rock

The three rocks soaring over Lake Baikal are said to once have been three brothers, the sons of a demi-god. Legend has it they angered their father and he turned them into the stones that stand there to this day.

Villages

The indigenous villages on Olkhon are welcoming havens of local culture. Open and friendly to tourists, many have comfortable guesthouses and homestays, ideal for experiencing how the islanders live.

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