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The Golden Ring Travel Guide

INTRODUCTION:
Orthodox Christians, The Golden Ring'The Golden Ring' is one of the oldest Russian routes. It goes to the north-east of Moscow and forms a circle. There are many interesting ancient Russian cities and towns along the way, full of history and unique Russian architecture of the XII-XVII centuries. The 'classical' route (counter clockwise) starts from Moscow, goes through Vladimir, Suzdal, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Rostov Velikiy, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Sergiev Posad. All cities and towns are located relatively close to each other, the 'Golden Ring' forms a ring, so from one place you can reach to another and make a circle until you get back to the one you started with. Probably, most often you'll use buses to move along the golden ring, sometimes you 'll use trains. You can also 'make' the golden ring trip by car.

It is especially good (and just a "must") to visit Baikal if you're taking a train. This train stops in Irkutsk and rather than sitting in the train for 6 days waiting Moscow, you can hop off the train in Irkutsk and make a trip to Baikal Lake. The experiences you will get there will be incomparable to anything else.

Yaroslavl, The Golden RingIn Russia we spell Lake Baikal like "Ozero Baykal". The word "Baikal" came from Turk language. The word "bai" means "wealthy" and "kul" means "lake". So "Baikal" originally means "wealthy lake". It IS wealthy. The lake contains 20% of the world surface fresh water while the flora and fauna of the lake are mostly endemic.

The lake is so huge and enormous that locals call it sea. This "sea" is rapidly growing with the average speed of 2 cm (0.8 in) per year. Baikal is considered to be a future ocean; in several million years there will be a new great ocean all over Asia and Baikal is a starting point for this ocean. This remarkable lake is a one of Asia's holy places. Peoples through over the centuries prayed to the lake and believed in its power. You can still see at the lake the unique carvings and parts of the ritual buildings of the tribes that gone thousands years ago.

Suzdal, The Golden RingBaikal serves as a boundary for two Russian provinces - Buryatia Republic (south-east shore) and Irkutskaya oblast (north-west shore). The south-western part of Baikal is more touristic, however north-eastern part is almost deserted - few inhabitants and almost no tourists. Baikal was added to the World Heritage list by UNESCO in 1996.


INTERESTING FACTS:
Baikal: freshwater lake located in the southern part of eastern Siberia.
Age: around 30 mln. years old
Maximum depth:
1637 meters or 5370 feet (the deepest lake on the earth)
Area: 31500 sq. km or 12209 sq. m
Lengths: 636 km by 70 km
Islands: 26, the largest one is Olkhon island
Rivers feed:
336
Rivers outlet:
1 (Angara river) ||| Average summer
water temperature:
Open water +12 C (+54 F), Bays +22 C (+72 F)
Warmest bays:
Maloye more (Olkhon Island - western shore), Chivyrkuiskiy zaliv (Svyatoy Nos peninsula - Eastern shore), Posolsky sor.

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