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5 Breathtaking Places in Siberia

Updated on May 26, 2010

Often connected with harsh, bitterly cold weather and cruel punishments inflicted during communism very few people realize how much natural beauty is in Siberia, much of it practically untouched by man. To dispel the myth of a cold, foreboding Siberia I have created a list of what if eel are 5 breathtaking places in Siberia.

Shaman Rock on Olkhon Island, the largest island in Lake Baikal
Shaman Rock on Olkhon Island, the largest island in Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is the largest lake in Europe and the deepest lake in the world. Lake Baikal is so large and deep that it would actually take all of the rivers in the world combined an entire year to fill it.

During the winter one is able to view the lake and the majesty of the Barguzin Mountains by sleigh tours, and during the spring and summer the lake becomes alive with color as wild flowers bloom.

The Lake Baikal area is home to Nerpas (freshwater seals), Omul Salmon, Bears, Elk, Lynx, and Sables. The entire area was designated a national park in 1992 and is a terrific place for bird watching, hiking, or simply relaxing.

Ukok Plateau

The Ukok Plateau is pristine partially because it is so difficult to reach. It is located on the Sailugem Ridge at a whopping 2500m above sea level, that’s 8202 ft! The Ukok Plateau also borders four nations: Russia, Mongolia, China, and Kazakhstan.

The mummy of a young woman known the the Ukok Princess was discovered there not long ago and tests showed her age to be nearly three thousand years old. However the indigenous people of the area were outraged when the Princess’ body was taken on tour thus a moratorium was put on all archaeological activity in the area. This is a bittersweet happening as it preserves a beautiful culture yet keeps the rest of the world wondering what else may lie within the plateau.

In 1998 the Ukok Plateau was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Altai Mountains with a view of Lake Shavlo
The Altai Mountains with a view of Lake Shavlo

Altai Mountains

The Altai Mountains stretch 2000km (1242 miles) from northwest to southeast. The Altai Mountains cross into Mongolia going across the GobiDesert and into China, and parts of the Altai Mountains even extend into Kazakhstan. The highest point of the Altai Mountains is Peak Belukha, located approximately 4500m above sea level (14,783 ft), nearly three miles into the air.

The Altai Mountains got their name due to their Golden hue, as the word Altai is taken from the Mongolian word Altan meaning Golden.

The Altai Mountains are a pristine place where tradition and agriculture thrive, though the many rivers feeding into the mountains make it a superb place for river rafting, and the snow can make for excellent skiing.

The Altai mountains are home to hundreds of species of birds, 20 species of fish, bears, the Siberian Stag, Lynx, Reindeer, and even Snow Leopards. Even Badan and Kuril tea are unique to this region of Russia.

Lena River with view of the Lone Maiden formation, located outside of Yakutsk
Lena River with view of the Lone Maiden formation, located outside of Yakutsk

Lena River

Located in Yakutia the Lena River is the 10th longest river in the world flowing almost 4400km emptying into the Laptev Sea and the Arctic Ocean. The Lena River’s tributary into the Laptev Sea actually helps regulate the temperature of the area.

The Lena River is also notable for the many species of fish which thrive in it, it is also home to Swans, Duck, Geese, Sand Pipers, Arctic Lamprey, and Whitefish.

While winter lasts 7 months of the year and the ground is covered by the thick tundra once it melts wetlands form near the Lena rivers Delta, and the area becomes a colorful haven for wildflowers.

Since 1995 the Lena River has been the largest protected area in Russia.

Sayan Mountains with a beautiful view of Dukhov Lake.
Sayan Mountains with a beautiful view of Dukhov Lake.

Sayan Mountains

The Sayan Mountains form not far from Lake Baikal and the mountains are home to the world’s largest unbroken stretch of Birch, Fir, and Pine Trees. Two of the world’s 10 largest River’s, the Ob and the Yenisei form from the waters of the Sayan Mountains.

The Sayan Mountains are home to the Tuvan people who keep to their traditional life of agriculture tending to their reindeer, yaks, and goats. The Tuvan people share their mountains with Snow Leopards, Wolves, the worlds largest Wild Sheep, the Siberian Ibex, and the Lynx.

Which Place Do You Find the Most Beautiful?

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    • Kiera G profile image

      Kiera G 5 years ago from Australia

      They all seem like beautiful places. I especially like the Altai mountains and hope to travel there one day.