Tourists who went to the CBR often confess that they never expected to see so much beauty here. They also promise to come back one day, either to take a tourist train ride, to go on a cruise or, even better, to travel the route on feet. The latter option is especially tempting. You, too, can see all of the notable places if you know what to look for. Check out our review of circum-Baikal miracles if you don’t want to miss out.
Museum and a marble train station in SlyudyankaSlyudyanka-1 train station is a spectacular point of CBR. Ever since the early XX century, not only the locals are proud of it. The world has only one train station that is built entirely of Baikal white-pink marble. The building is unique. You’ll definitely see it if you include Slydyanka in your travel route or go on a tour of the Circum-Baikal Express.
Valery Zhigalov manor is another curious place of the town. The manor hosts the first private mineralogical museum in Russia. The museum is called “Gems of Russia”. Here, you’ll find a magnificent collection of minerals or, if you want to stay longer, a cozy place to spend a night or two.
Old AngasolkaThis modest village on the shores of Lake Baikal sees more tourists than local villagers. This is where the most interesting part of CBR starts, having especially many architectural and engineering objects here. Just when you think that this viaduct or tunnel is the most beautiful you’ve ever seen, another one appears, even more spectacular and monumental.
If you can walk a little further, go see Ptichi Bazaar, the only nesting place of herring gulls on Baikal. Some of the more daring tourists climb up the rocks from the tunnel exit to get a more thrilling experience. Fans of calmer travels enjoy the view during any season. The locals say that when the gulls flock back, Lake Baikal begins to thaw.
Kirkireyski complexThis place is notable for the amount of work spent on it. At first, the workers paved a tunnel through the narrow part of the cliff. However, frequent rockfalls and a rapid flow of Kirkirey threatened a disaster. They had to pave a parallel way through the 636 meter long rock. The work was meticulous. Different-sized rocks were chosen and carved to fit like a puzzle. This unique cyclopean masonry impresses even those who have seen many architectural wonders before.
The taming of the stubborn Kirkirey went like this. The workers built a dam at a height of 66 meters. The river poured a powerful stream right over the tunnel, but without any possibility of flooding it. This waterfall and the tunnels can be seen today if you go on the Circum-Baikal Express trip or walk the road to the 123rd kilometer.
The longest and the shortest CBR tunnelsBoth stand near Polovinnaya village, where the Circum-Baikal express makes a 1.5 hour stop and the Barguzin ship stops for 2.5 hours. The longest tunnel is notable not only for its size. This long tunnel is also absolutely straight. So, here, you can literally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
In addition to these landmarks you will also find the biggest CBR bridge and an arch viaduct. Both stand side by side. And at the depth of 1300 meters, not far from Polovinniy Cape, runs the Baikal neutrino telescope. The scientists call it the eyes of the Earth. The telescope captures neutrinos, cosmic elementary particles. Professionals study the captured particles and discover what is going on inside the stars, study black holes and the climate of our planet.
Italian wallThe retaining wall of Shumikha cape got its name because of its similarity to the Italian arches. The resemblance isn’t coincidental. Ferrari, an Italian with a notable name, designed it. The wall was initially built to protect the road from rockfalls. Nowadays, this beautiful construction that resembles an alpine bridge has a purpose of attracting and delighting the tourists.
Along with the Italian Wall, go see the Big Shumikhinkaya Gallery and the bridges over Malaya and Bolshaya Shumikha Rivers at the 101–103 kilometers. If you enjoy the view and want to stay there for a couple of days, stay at the turbaza near the picturesque three-house fishing village.
The White RecessImagine a kilometer and a half space filled with 70 kinds of minerals, from spinel to zircon to blindingly shimmery marble. This is how the White Recess looks like. This is not just a geological section, but an entire museum of geology and mineralogy under an open sky.
The recess stands at the base of Ivanovo Cape, at 103–105 kilometers of CBR. You can walk here from the nearest local train stations at 102nd and 107th kilometers.
CBR museum and the old lighthouse at the Baikal villageThis small village with a working port has two notable landmarks. The first one is the Circum-Baikal Railway museum in the station building. Stop by if you like looking at old photographs and strange machinery gears, immersing in another era and learning many interesting things about new places.
And if you’re not afraid of the height, visit the second landmark, a lighthouse build at the top of Baranchik Mountain in the early XX century. You’ll get a panoramic view of the southern Baikal, Tolstoy Cape, Listvyanka and Angara River. That view is too beautiful for words. You can travel to the Port Baikal station by train or Circum-Baikal Express from Irkutsk. You can also ride the local train from the other parts of CBR.
Learn more about the Circum-Baikal Railway, its routes and traveling peculiarities here.