Olkhon ( drill. Oikhon Aral ) - the largest island of Lake Baikal .
|Highest point||1274 m|
|Population||1742 people (2018)|
|Population density||2.39 people / km²|
|The subject of the Russian Federation||Irkutsk region|
The length of the island is 73.5 km, width - up to 15 km, area - 730 km². Permanent population - 1682 people. (for 2017)  , 1742 people (2018)  . The distance from Irkutsk by road is 256 km. It is separated from the mainland by the Maloye Sea and Olkhon Gate passages. To the east of the island is the deepest place of Baikal - 1642 meters. The territory of Olkhon, together with the adjacent islands, is included in the Baikal National Park .
The Russified name Olkhon comes from the Buryat word “oikhon” - “small forest ” or “a little wooded ”, since forests occupy a little more than a third of the surface of the island.
On Olkhon, there is a whole variety of nature landscapes: there is also a steppe with deep bays deep in the land and well warmed up in summer, quite “Baltic” sandy beaches with dunes , hills and coniferous groves of larch species along the coast, and dense forests with areas of rarely growing larch ( and almost completely absent cedars), relict spruce, and harsh marble cliffs, decorated with thick red mosses, and swamps, lushly overgrown with aquatic plants.
The Baikal region has a large total duration of sunshine - on the island of Olkhon only 48 cloudy days a year. The amount of precipitation per year does not exceed 140 mm on average. By this indicator, Olkhon can only be compared with some very arid regions of Central Asia . Local residents use artificial irrigation for garden crops and hayfields. Another feature of Olkhon is the almost everywhere observed soil erosion . A weak, easily destroyed soil-plant layer and frequent winds contribute to the rapid removal of humus and sand transfer, which complicates farming and can lead to the appearance of desert landscapes. Today you can observe in places the "procession of sand." So, near the village of Khuzhir , sand coverage of the once forest zone is already observed.
The water mass of Lake Baikal affects the climate of the coastal territory. Winter is milder and summer is cooler. The onset of spring on Lake Baikal is delayed by 10-15 days compared with the surrounding areas, and autumn is often quite long.
|Climate Olkhon ( Khuzhir )|
|Average maximum, ° C||−16||−12||−3||eight||13||20||22||20||14||five||−6||−11||five|
|Average minimum ° C||−26||−25||−16||−2||one||7||ten||9||2||−6||−16||−15||−6|
|Source: Lake Baikal.info - information site about Baikal|
In total, there are 9 settlements on the island that form the Khuzhir municipality . Most of them are located in the western, steppe part of the island. The permanent population for 2017 is 1742 people, of which more than 1350 live in the largest village - Khuzhir . National composition - Buryats, Russians.
Khuzhir village is the main settlement of Olkhon. In Khuzhir there is an information and excursion center, a museum of local lore named after N.M. Revyakin , a market, several cafes, food and souvenir shops, and an Internet cafe. There is a rental of tourist equipment, bicycles, ATVs and riding horses. Standing offer a lot of private hotels and camp sites. The only gas station on the island is located in the village, the other nearest gas station is located on the mainland, 11 km from the ferry crossing MRS - Olkhon Island on the Elantsy-Sakhyurt highway.
In the past, in Khuzhir, the largest Malomorsky fish factory, now ruined, was located in Baikal.
The shaman-rock (previously called the Stone-temple ) is one of the shrines of Asia, which has become the famous image of Lake Baikal: not a single film or photo album about the lake-sea can do without its image  .
The two-peaked rock is composed of marble and dolomitic limestone  , sometimes abounding with sequins of graphite  . The surface of the rock is covered with bright lichens , mostly red in color  . The height of the cliff closest to the shore is 30 m, the height of the farthest is 42 m.
In the part of the rock closest to the shore, there is a through winding Shaman cave , formed during the weathering and erosion of limestone rocks . The length of the cave is about 12 m, width is from 3 to 4.5 m, height is from 1 to 6.5 m. Entrance to the cave is possible from two sides - from the north-east and west  . The course of the cave passes under a steep slope from top to bottom. The upper entrance is on the west side of the bay. In the middle of the tunnel-type cave there is an extension with a stone "table" and a wooden lintel for performing rituals . The cave has side corridors and a narrow opening. To visit the cave, the entrance from the western side is more convenient, where there is a pre-cave platform  . A narrow ascending passage leads from the cave to the eastern side of the cliff.
The entire Burkhan Peninsula is surrounded by a log parapet to protect against the entry of cars, because here, due to the invasion of vehicles, soil erosion intensified. This is noticeable in several growing deep ravines  .
On the western side on the surface of the far part of the cliff there is a natural exit of brown rock, which looks like an image of a dragon . In general, all the rocks are streaked with deep cracks and from afar, with a long contemplation, everyone can see their own paintings, revelations. Cape Burhan is a sacred place not only for practicing shamanism . Here at this natural Temple you can meet a praying Christian sitting in a Buddhist or yoga meditation. Here everyone can feel their unity with Nature and the Universe.
Museum of Local Lore named after N.M. Revyakin
In the village of Khuzhir, in the old school building on Pervomaiskaya Street, there is a local history museum . There are collections of various objects telling about the life and culture of the islanders. The time range extends from the human sites of the Neolithic to the present day. Here you can see stone arrowheads, breastplates of Mongol warriors, materials telling about the ritual of cremation of the dead Buryats, life on the island of political exiles in Soviet times, the flora and fauna of Olkhon  .
In 2019, the watchman of the local camp site discovered new artifacts - utensils and weapons of the Neolithic era from the Saraiskaya-1 site, opened at the beginning of the 20th century by local historians. Found items will replenish the museum’s collection  .
Initially, the museum was named after the famous geologist, paleontologist, geographer and science fiction writer V. A. Obruchev . However, later it received the name of its founder and geography teacher N. M. Revyakin .
Kurykan Wall at Cape Horgoi
On the shore of the Small Sea in the southern part of Olkhon, the ruins of the protective wall that cut off the isthmus of Cape Khorgo have been preserved. The wall belongs to the Kurykan culture and is one of the most preserved ancient structures of the island. The wall is made of large stones without the use of a binder solution. Its height in places reaches 1.5-2 meters. Remains of the moat and earthen rampart are noticeable. On the territory protected by the wall, flat stone slabs with spherical and cylindrical depressions were discovered, which, presumably, are altars for sacrifices  .
The Kurykan wall at Cape Horgoy was first discovered and described in 1879 by I. D. Chersky .
The Peschanoye tract is located 20 km north of the village of Khuzhir on the coast of the Nyurgan Bay. It is distinguished by its sand dunes , covering an area of about 3 km ², on which a rare endemic plant grows, which is not found anywhere else in the world - the algae Astragalus ( lat. Astragalus olchonensis ), a perennial from the legume family  .
In 1913, there was a project to create a hard-labor prison in this place, and even a commission worked to select a specific place. But due to the First World War that began in 1914 , and subsequent revolutionary events, the plans then remained only on paper  .
Already in Soviet times, until the mid-1950s, the Gulag institution was located in the Peschanoye tract. Convicts lived in four barracks  . They worked in the workshop of the Khuzhir Malomorsky Fish Plant located here, catching and butchering fish. To this day, the remains of the bedrock have remained - flooring from boards on the sand for transport to the workshop.
Also, in Peschanoye and not far from it lived special settlers deported from Lithuania , Western Ukraine , Belarus , Poland, and others. There are 27 nationalities in total. In 1956, they were allowed to return home during the then amnesty .
On April 16, 2012, a wooden bow cross was erected by local residents in memory of those events. Its base is entangled with remnants of barbed wire found nearby. The plate on the cross contains the inscription: "This place remembers the suffering of victims of repression in the middle of the 20th century"  .
Tourism and transport
In summer, the island is visited by many tourists from different regions of Russia and abroad. In the picturesque bays you can get up with a tent, the water in them is best warmed up by August (up to +18 ° C). On the western shore in the middle of the island 10 kilometers from the village of Khuzhir is located, which is popular with tourists, Lake Khankhoy , near which there is a tourist base of the same name. There are almost no dangerous animals and encephalitis ticks on the island. The territory of Olkhon is reserved and for staying here you must obtain permission in the island forestry.
Entrance to the island is carried out by ferry "MRS - Olkhon Island" from the village of Sakhyurt . At present, three ferries operate - the small Dorozhnik (takes 5-6 cars) and the large ones - Olkhonsky Gates and Semyon Batagaev, each receiving about 17 cars. In summer, the ferry operates all daylight hours with an interval of about an hour. At the entrance to the ferry, hours-long lines of motorists accumulate. The average queue transit time is about 3 hours, but in unforeseen situations (breakdown of one of the ferries) it can take up to a day. In winter, an ice road operates instead of a ferry.
During the freeze-up period , people are crossed by the hivus hovercraft. Also in summer, the island can be reached by regular vessels Irkutsk - Severobaykalsk (motor ship " Comet ", a stop on the island - in Zagli Bay) and Irkutsk - Ust-Barguzin (motor ship " Barguzin ", a stop on the island - on the beach south of Cape Burhan )
Olkhon, the abode of the terrible spirits of Lake Baikal, is drilled in myths and legends . According to legend, Khan-Hoto Babai descended from Heaven, sent to Earth by higher gods. Here, in the image of a bald eagle, a golden eagle lives his son Khan-Hubuu Noyon, who was the first to receive a shamanic gift from Tengri .
Olkhon Island is considered to be the sacred center of the northern shamanistic world, and still near the cape Burhan ( rock Shamanka ), over the lake near the village of Khuzhir, ribbons in the trees tremble in the wind: this is a place of worship for spirits. According to ancient legends, the lord of these places and the whole Olkhon, Ezhin, or Burkhan, lived in a cave of the Shamanka rock.
The same sacred place among the Buryats is the highest mountain of the island - Izhimey (1274 m). Somewhere at the foot of this mountain, an immortal bear is allegedly chained.
- Olkhon is the pseudonym of the famous Russian Soviet poet Anatoly Sergeyevich Pestyukhin .
- In the bays on the northwestern slope of the island in 1921-1924. parking sites of people of the Stone Age were discovered  .
- On the island of Olkhon near Cape "Head of the Mare" (the local Buryat name Khorin Irgi ), a vent of an ancient extinct volcano was discovered. Melted volcanic stones are still found everywhere. One of them, weighing about 15 kg, was found in 2013 by Leonid Malinovsky on the shore of Lake Baikal near the village of Kharantsy.
- In the middle of the cleanest fresh lake Baikal there is Lake Shara-Nur with salty mineral water and healing mud , it is located in the Olkhon Mountains, 6 kilometers southeast of the village of Yalga .
- The Association of Buryat shamans declared Olkhon “the main sanctuary, a cult center of common Mongolian and Central Asian significance, personifying the sacred ancestral home of the Buryats”, and in 1990, the first pan -Olkhon taylan was held at Olkhon - a special prayer in which all the shamans of the island, Olkhon district and the city took part Ulan-Ude . Since then, the tilgan has been held annually in a large open area before entering the village of Khuzhir.
- In 2006, a power line was drawn to Olkhon. The laying of such an underwater cable itself was a unique operation for Russia. In order not to affect the ecology of Lake Baikal, the cable on land was enclosed in a polyethylene pipe with a diameter of more than 320 mm with a wall thickness of 20 mm, the pipe was sealed , and this whip was transported by ships to the design site. Then water was supplied into the pipe, and the whole whip fell to the bottom, where it was fixed with anchors and protected from possible damage by bags of cement . The total cost of the submarine cable is about 1.2 million euros , and the design cost of the entire construction of power transmission lines was estimated at 470 million rubles. To recoup all the costs for the implementation of the project, according to experts, it would take 10 years. At the same time, the price of energy should be 10 rubles per kWh . However, fortunately, this project turned out to be social and did not entail such consequences.
The village of Khuzhir. August 2012
Cape Rock Shaman
Serge ritual pillars at Cape Burhan
Natural Arch at Cape Khoboy
Crocodile Island. The coast of Olkhon. August 2012
Malomorsk coast of Olkhon
The west coast of the island of Olkhon, mid-August.
- Olkhon Island is part of the Khuzhir Municipality, the population of which is 1682 people as of January 1, 2017
- Olkhon Island is part of the Khuzhir Municipality, the population of which is 1742 people as of January 1, 2018
- Cape Burhan (Shamanka rock) near the village of Khuzhir (Inaccessible link) . discoverybaikal.com. Date of treatment July 10, 2010. Archived February 22, 2012.
- Galaziy G.I. Baikal in questions and answers . - 1989.
- Good P.P. Through the caves of Baikal. - Irkutsk: Irkutsk Book Publishing House, 1955. - P. 30—32. - 77 p. - 5,000 copies. Caves of Pribaikalye - article on the materials of the book.
- Cape Burhan . The Magic of Baikal. Date of treatment July 10, 2010. Archived February 22, 2012.
- Volkov S. Guide to Baikal. - 10th ed., Revised. and more .. - Irkutsk: Print Line Publishing House, 2009. - 480 p. - 4000 copies. - ISBN 978-5-9901612-1-4 .
- On Olkhon found dishes and weapons of the Neolithic era . TC "Russia Culture" (05/29/2019).
- Vladimir Kinschak The Last Prisoner of Olkhon // Newspaper East Siberian Truth, September 3, 2005
- installation of the Cross in Peschanka on the Baikal island of Olkhon // Website Youtube.com., 04.16.12
- Good P. P. “Archaeological finds in the caves of Olkhon Island”
- Olkhon // Oceanarium - Oyashio. - M .: Great Russian Encyclopedia, 2014. - P. 153. - ( Great Russian Encyclopedia : [in 35 vols.] / Ch. Ed. Yu. S. Osipov ; 2004—2017, vol. 24). - ISBN 978-5-85270-361-3 .
- Olkhon Island and its attractions
- Mysterious Olkhon - information portal of the island of Olkhon
- Olkhon Island on the Baikal Nature website
- Olkhon on the Yandex.Panorama service
- Olkhon Island Guide (interesting places, hotels, camp sites)
- 3D panoramas of the island of Olkhon on the website of the Foundation for the Conservation of Lake Baikal
- The former village of Peschanoe. Photoreport
- Olkhon. A trip to the northern part of the island. Photoreport
- Ryabtsev V.V. How to behave, resting on Olkhon. Irkutsk: Publishing House of the Institute of Geography. V. B. Sochava SB RAS, 2010.