The region is located on the east coast of Baikal, and there are a lot of bays. The mountains Khamar-Daban and Ulan-Urgasy look like as if they stepped back from the edge of the water unlike the west Irkutsk coast, where the rocks and the mountains come up and fall into the water. The northern part of the Kabansk region is separated from the south Selenga river-valley by its delta. There, where the Selenga falls into Baikal, is the narrowest and shallowest place in Baikal. The villages are mostly located along the coast.
The monuments of archeology of different Paleolithic and Neolithic epochs, which are in Fofanovo, Stepnoi Dvorets (the Steppe palace), Baikal-Kudara and Posolsk testify about the fact that the territory along the Baikal coast have been populated since olden times. In the XVII century the Russian Cossacks of Ivan Pokhabov and Ivan Galkin came there. In 1680 on the river Kabanya first winter camp was built and then a jail, later, on the route village Kabansk appeared, the population of which was busy with carriage.
The Kyakhta merchants needed the short way to the Moscow route for transportation of goods and tea from Irkutsk and then to the West.
The history of the Kabansk region is practically the history of developing of Buryatia.
It is well-known that Siberia used to be the place for exile. On the Kabansk land many rebels-pugachyovtsy (named after Pugachyov) found their shelter (that is why the names of many villages end on "o" - Zorino, Tvorogovo, Shergino, Korsakovo...). The political refugees also made memorable contribution to the Kabansk land. In 1839 the Decembrists the Bestuzhev brothers lived for a short time in Posolsk. Decembrist Mikhail Glebov also lived in Kabansk.
Almost each populated area in the region is interesting with its either historical monuments or natural sights. For example, city of Babushkin appeared at the foot of the Khamar-Daban on the south cape in the middle of the XIX century, until 1902 it used to be Mysovsk, then Mysovaya, and since 1941 the city of Babushkin.
Babushkin is one of the five historical cities of Buryatia. Through Mysovaya "The great tea route" went along the Udunginsk route to bordering Kyachta. The jail in Mysovaya was a halting place for the convicts, who were going to Akatui, Nerchinsk and other places. The city population was trading, fishing, nerp (Baikal seal) and cattle trading. The merchants were prospering. L.I. Korfs property took the whole quarter along the street of III Internatsional, today there is a state bank and a printing house. The city market of Mysovsk was famous in the whole Pribaikal territory. The development of the city was due to the building of the Krugobaikalskaya railroad and then Trans-Siberian railroad. During the years of the Civil war not far from Mysovaya station the white guards killed and drowned the pride of the Baikal navy, the legendary ice breaker "Baikal". In 1966 at Mysovskaya school ¹ 36 the Museum of revolution man I.V. Babushkin was founded. Nowadays it is a Museum of History of the city of Babushkin. Its collection has got rare documents of the Zabaikal history, they open the history of the past of the merchant city Mysovsk, its heroic pages and family chronicles to the ing in high water by wading is not safe.
The Sable Lakes are running, and of glacial origin. They are at the altitude î 640 meters above sea level, and have the distance of about 2, 5 km and consist of not big, small and also big and main lakes, connected by a short strait.
If you reach the far side of the Lake, you can see a rare miracle ‑ rainfall Skazka, which is on the river Krasnaya (Red), the left inflow of Selenginka (the distance from the far end of the lake is not more than 3-4 km). The rainfall is quite impressive, and at the pressure regime can give a spread of splashes up to 20 m, and is located in a short and narrow rocky canyon of dark rocks. It is especially beautiful in the sun light ‑ there is a rainbow playing. Following another route from the place where the Snezhnaya River and Selenginka meetone can get to the rainfalls in the river Gramotukha. The Gramotukha, the right inflowof selenginka, ‑ is a mountain strong river, along which there is a path to Baikal pass and then further to the valley of the river Osinovka. The first and the biggest rainfall in the river, the only one is called ‑ Grokhotun. It is located very close to the mouth of the river, about half an hour walking from the stopping place in the Snezhnaya. It is a wide rainfall with a free rundown with the length up to 15 m. The canyon is even more picturesque due to the falling flows that made a small lake with a big stone near the shore.
Khamar-Daban (from Buryat "range" is "nose", "nut mountain pass") ‑ is the name of a mountain side near Baikal, that is divided into Malyi (Small) and Bolshoi (Big) Khamar-Daban. It is a range of mountains with a width of 40-90 km ‑ where Small and Big Khamar-Daban are, divided by a valley of the river Temnik, and with the length of 500 km. The peaks of the mountain range (goltsy) are deprived of flora and have a round form without a distinct spine and reach the height of 2000-2300 m above sea level. The maximum height of the range is 2371 m (Khan ‑ Ula Mountain). In the Khamar-Daban there are a lot of small and quite big rivers, the biggest ones are: Snezhnaya, Khara-Murin, Temnik, Utulik, Zun-Murin, the width of which is up to 45 meters, the depth is 1,5 meters. In the highlands the speed of flow reaches 2 m/s. The river floor consists of sand, gravel, boulders, and in low-water season almost all the rivers are easy to be crossed. In the rivers there are a lot of riffles, rifts and rainfalls, the rocky canyons are also common.
In the history of the region Spaso-Preobrazhenskiy monastery has a special place, which was founded in 1681 by the mission of Father Superior FeodosiyTroitskiy oftheSelenginsk monastery by the decree of Tsar Fyodor Alekseevich on the right coast of Baikal. Next to the monastery village Posolskoe was founded.
First there was a hunter's lodge and a religious retreat for the monks. The place for the monastery was chosen on the Baikal cape, where in 1651 the members of the Russian Embassy to Mongolia were murdered and buried: the tsar ambassador Erofei Zabolotskiy, his son Kirill and others. The mission was on the ship and came up to the shore. Those 8 out of 20 died, who got off the ship. The Embassy members were carrying the treasury; there also was a Mongolian ambassador, a translator and manufacturers. The ambassadors, who were carrying the money, were attacked by the Khan Tarubaitabun's yasak people who robbed them. But the robbers could not get the money. The monastery was built gradually. Its first buildings were wooden. The defensive walls were also wooden to protect from nomadic tribes. In the monastery the cannons were installed, the ammunition and cold steel arms were kept. Later on the altar was attached to the chapel, and in 1700 the first church in Baikal ‑ Posolskaya was sanctified after Saint Bishop and Wonderworker Nikolai. Initially the church in Baikal was called Nikolaevskaya retreat. At that time the reveal image of Saint Bishop Nikolai Mozhaiskiy became popular due to his wonders and the image belonged to the Posolsk monastery. The monastery was in village Stepnaya (now it is called Steppe palace). The Spaso-Preobrazhenskaya church was built by merchant G.A.Oskolkovwho was trading on Tea route and he settled the monastery. The Posolsk monastery was named after the Spaso-Preobrazhenskaya church.
G.A. Oskolkovin 1711 with one of the trade caravans went to Beijing, where he got the China Emperor's permission for sending the permanent religious ministry to Beijing. The first religious ministry of archimandrite Illarion Lezhaiskiy came to Beijing at the end of 1715. Oskolkov on the way back from Beijing with the caravan died in Mongolia in 1714 and he was buried on the territory of the Posolsk monastery. Later on his grave a chapel-crypt was built.
The second church built in the monastery was also wooden and it was sanctified in 1722. In 1769 there was a fire that destroyed the wooden churches. In 1773 a dvuprestolnaya(two-altar)cathedral church was laid. In 1802 building of the Nikolskaya church was started that was sanctified in 1812 and in 1820 building of stone gate church was laid. In 1866 the monastery got 500 tithes of hayfields and arable lands, and 7 fishing areas in the Selenga. During those years the monastery was surrounded by a stone wall length of which was 200 Russian fathoms, and it had 5 small towers and a saint gate in the western wall facing Baikal. The staircase with 4 flights and 6 stairs each was approaching the gate. There was a dock of the Baikal steamship line and the first post route of the Zabaikal region began.
The architecture of the cathedral was unique in its ornament of foresides. The height up to the cross of the temple was 32 m; the walls were whitewashed with lime over the bricks that contributed to the artistic effect of the building with its play of light and shadow. The iconostases were also a decoration of the interior parts of the temples; the icons were made by Nefedyev in 1817.
The crosses at the top of broach spires and the heads of the cathedral were metal, gilded four-ended with curls and chains falling down to the heads : at the top of the cross there is a crown, at the foot there is a moon.
The bell tower had 6 bells. The biggest one weighed 125 puds (1 pud is 16 kg) and it was molded in 1800 right there.
In 1764 the monastery was deprived of its lands. In 1862, a special head of the Zabaikal religious ministry in the bishop's position was appointed, his residency was in the monastery. Since that time a new stage in the development of the monastery started. The ministry school was founded that was to teach the missionary service to the talented Buryat boys. The missionary asylum for the poor for 20 people was built, there were sick people, the elderly, and disabled. In 1880 the ministry head's residency left the Posolsk monastery and was located in the regional city of Chita. Since 1902 the monastery became a women's monastery that had 2 metochions: at Mysovaya station (city of Babushkin) and in Verkhneudinsk. Also 2 candle factories were built; they supplied the whole Zabaikal region.
By the decision of the administrative officials of the Central Executive Committee of the BMASSR, the monastery was closed in 1930. Since 2000 the monastery life was revived. Now it is a men's monastery. The ensemble of the Posolsk monastery is an architectural monument of Siberia. It is the first stone temple of Zabaikal it is "a wonderful sample of Zabaikal baroque". Until now only the Spaso-Preobrazhenskiy cathedral and Nikolskaya church have been preserved. Since 2002 the monastery is being restored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. There is a monastery hotel for the Christian pilgrims.
"THE SINGING SANDS" AND APPLE GROVES
There are not only historical monuments in the region. Here one can see the natural sights as of the world as of the republican and local importance, that are precious in their function: scientific, educating, recreational etc.
There are unique natural objects, which are not quite typical for the area. For example, one of the geological monuments is "the singing sands". It is located in the River Selenga delta to the north from village Istok on the surface of 30-40 m of sand terrace. In the dunes when walking on the sand at daytime and also in calm weather one can hear the sound "dzy-u", sometimes, a howl. The singing sands are referred to one of the rarest natural phenomena. The musical sound is due to the gas vibration, which happens between the smallest pieces of sand that have the same size ‑ from 0,1 to 0,5 mm. in diameter, that well-cultivated by water and wind, as if sorted out from ‑ fine-grained pelitic particles, containing quartz, feldspar and pure rose glance.
Among the botanical monuments there are apple groves. Siberian apple is referred to the east -Asian areal and can be seen in 4 areas of the region. The groves have been preserved on the territory of the Kabansk reserve, in the pre-delta part of the Selenga River next to the district center ‑ village Kabansk. They are on the adjoining territory of the village and on the islands Borikhin, Esashnyi, Soldatskiy, Kazachiy, Filinskiy, Berezov, Gorbunikha, Mitrokhin, Primorskiy and others. Here one can see the trees of different forms, from big 100 year old ones to frutescent dwarf trees, not higher than 1-1,5 m.
The first description was made by botanist and geographer RS. Pallas in 1772. Having visited those places he was struck by a plenty of wild apple trees and Kabansk was quite bathed in its undergrowth. The apple undergrowth was reduced by cattle-farming, depredators, like apple seed worms, flood, caused by high waters of Baikal, wood-chopping and the apple groves were taken under protection and announced the natural monuments.
The history of Bay Proval creation is quite interesting. In 1861 at the New 1862 Year's Eve, the Baikal tragedy happened. To the northfrom the Selenga delta at the time of the earthquake the landslide happened. A huge Tsaganskaya steppe went 3-4 m down and it became the bottom of Baikal. On the New Year's night Baikal filled up the hollow, people were leaving their homes, taking the cattle and belongings. Four villages went down under water. That is how bay Proval appeared. The Baikal tragedy entered the history of the earthquakes. There is still a high seismic level in the Zabaikal region. The drop of Bay Proval continues and the depth reaches 15 m. Bay Proval is among 132 ecosystems of the world legacy as a geological natural phenomenon.
THE SELENGA DELTA
The delta is stretched out from the Bolshoi Sukhoi (Big dry) river's basin to the Boyarskaya River's basin (inclusive), going down to the flank of the ranges of Morskoy (Sea) and Khamar-Daban. The considerable part of the delta is quite swampy with many small lakes. The lowlands are also swampy in the river-valley and between the rivers Istok, Bolshaya rechka (Big River), Abramikha, Kultushnaya and others.
The delta has got more than 30 big and small channels. The river bed is intensively being washed away and a big number of channels testify about that ‑ "Promoi", "Peremoi", "Novyi peremoi". The delta goes round and falls into Baikal, it is washed by a bay from south-west (local name is Istok's shor), from north-east by Proval. The distance between two channels is 60 km. Many islands, peninsula, channels, small lakes and bays make a complicated maze, in which it is quite difficult to find the way. The Selenginsk shallow water attaches to the delta ‑ a big shallow water space in Baikal water area. Its area is about 1000 sq.m, the bottom reaches 400 m, but near the coast it is quite shallow. The Selenga brings a big amount of silt masses and the remnants of water and coast flora that is why the water is not rough there. In the shallow waters to the south-west from the delta between villages Goloustnoe and Posolsk there are so-called Stolbovoi's islands. The depth of water decreases on those underwater ledges. Perhaps, those ledges are the remnants of the "Stolbovoi's islands" marked on old maps, that used to rise over the Baikal waters.
On the southern side of the delta there are big shors. Shors in Baikal are shallow, quite big channels, separated from the main water area by sand and pebble bay-bars in which there are channels (prorvy) of different size. The system of Baikal shors by its nature, and by ecological characteristics, differs from Baikal ‑ the open sea.
Their basins are shallow waters, lagoons with warm water and rich aquatic vegetation. Shor, or common fresh waterfish, such as roach (the local name is Siberian roach ‑ soroga), dace, orfe, crucian, perch, pike, dog-fish, and pigfish inhabit them in abundance. In some shors in season and out of season, or temporarily, there live grayling, whitefish, lenok, taimen, omul, osseter.
There is also a great number of birds in the estuary. All in all they register 251 species of birds belonging to 16 orders. It is the largest place in Eastern Siberia with such an abundance of semi-aquatic birds. About 100-120 thousand ducks nestle here. In autumn during the migration 5-7 million units of dabbing ducks order, including geese and swans, fly over the basins. One of the basins' commons is a shelter place for swans, and it is called Galutay ‑ from the Buryat word galun "goose". The basin is included into the list of wetlands of international importance as a unique habitant of swimming birds. Here the Selenginsk ornithological reserve center of the Irkutsk State University Biological Research Institute is situated. The basin together with the Selenga shallow waters adjacent to it is the richest fishery and hunting area of Buryatia. Here you can hunt and fish.
THE POSOLSK SHOR
The Posolsk Shor is the largest of the shallow water bays of Baikal, which is separated from the body of water by sand bay-bars. The Posolsk sand bay-bars, both a Northern and a Southern one, have got a common name, i.e. Karga Peninsula. The bay-bar is from 30 to 200 meters wide. The bay has an even depth of 3 ‑ 4 meters almost everywhere. Some rivers flow into the bay; they are the Bolshaya Rechka (Big River), which is 70 km long, and which makes up the Branch Staritsa; the Tolbuzikha, 16 km long; the Abramikha ‑ 26 km ‑ and Kultushnaya‑35 km. All the rivers flow down the slopes of the Khamar-Daban ranges. In the South-Eastern part of the bay there is the village Posolskoye and Posolsk Spaso-Preobrazhenskiy monastery. In the Southern part one can find the place Povorot, and the village Boyarskoye following it. In j the middle of the bay there are recreational places: Baikalsky Priboy (serf) and Kultushnaya, with Abramikha River between them. Each place has got its own railway terminal. The places Baikalsky Priboy and Kultushnaya are connected with the federal highway Moscow-Chita ¹ 55, but there is no road connecting them as there is no bridge over Abramikha River. The place Povorot has got the connection with highway ¹ 55 which passes the village Boyarsk; but the road is of very low quality. The Posolsk Shor is a specific natural complex; different landscapes, communities of plants and animals are represented there. It is the only bay of Baikal .which is not connected with the body of water, and where water change takes place only in the time of storms. Thanks to the deep warming through tiny fishes of omul lay down fat very easily.
The bay is also very popular as a place of rest. Mostly people use the 14 km foreshore to build up rest sites, shops, and boat rental stores. In the recreational place Baikalsky Priboy there are 44 sites for tourists; in Kultushnaya they are 23. The majority of them work only in summer. In connection with the high recreational activity in the region, lately adverse movements of environment became evident. In 1999 all the territory of the Posolsk Shor got the status of a natural area of preferential protection of regional importance; the relations of load limitation were settled there.
On the lot between the villages Posolsk and Istok in the South-Eastern Baikal coast there is the local monument of nature "Istokskaya Polyana (meadow)". It is the place where exotic and endangered plant species grow. Among them are iris, pheasant eye, lady's slipper, Sibearian globeflower and others, that are in the Red Book of Endangered Species of the Russian Federation
In the place Baikalsky Priboy there are 44 sites for tourists. There are shops, kiosks, and intercity call stations there. Along the shore of the lake from the railway crossing there is a road has its dead end at the camp "Baikal". You can get there from Ulan-Ude by train, marshrutka (route bus), or your car.
The place Lemasovo is situated on the shore of Chekalov Bay Shor. The bay is shallow, swampy, it is only 1 meter deep. The shore is sandy, bushy, with a lot of birch j trees on it. In summer there are campings there. The body of the bay is perfect for windsurfing. There is a road from the place to the village Kabansk and Posolsk, which is connected with the highway Moscow-Chita ¹ 55. Lemasovo has the status of a natural area of preferential protection of regional importance; the relations of load ; limitation were settled there.
Hostel «Daly-tur» Lemasovo
The place Enkhaluk-Sukhaya is situated on the right s bank of River Selenga. The major part of the Baikal fore- j shore is a place of rest. There are sands and forests almost everywhere. There are three settlements in the place, where sites for tourists and a chain of guest homes are being developed. They are the villages Enkhaluk, Sukhaya, and the place "Pionerlager (Pioneer Camp)", where there is a summer camp of the Ulan-Ude Educational Department and a Nomads tent tourist complex is being build. There is also a thermal spring, and an outdoor bath here.
In a breathtaking place on the shore of Baikal one more all year round functioning hostel "Enkhaluk" is situated.
House 44, Lesnaya St, village Enkhaluk,
tel. (3012) 22-22-45, 22-22-44, 22-22-43,
The Baikal Biosphere Reserve
You should also visit the Baikal Reserve, founded in 1969, which in 1986 got the status of biospheric. It is a treasurer of wildlife gene bank: here one can find about 787 species of plants and 300 species of vertebrata. Among them the 40 plants, which are the rarities of Siberia, and iris, slipper-root and the endemic of the Khamar-Daban the Baikal Svercia are in the Red Book of Endangered Species of the Russian Federation.
There are also such relics of the Preglacial epoch as poplar and its accompanying plants ‑ double-leaf, hare's-ear, white bedstraw, etc. You can see all this with your own eyes if you walk along the ecological path «In the Jungles of the Khamar-Daban».
The territory of the reserve is a sable refuge and furtive. The local population of the sable remained the same even in the years of All-Siberian abundance of sable at the end of 19th century ‑ 30s of the past century. The number of the sable was so low that time that it was necessary to force the animals settle in the area to build it back to the commercial side. In 1939 ‑ 1959 in ten locations of the Khamar-Daban more than 200 sables were settled. Nowadays the sable in the reserve inhabits all the usable dwelling places ‑ from foothills up to sub alpines. The total number of sables in the reserve fluctuates within the frames of 450 ‑ 550 at the average sable population of 3 ‑ 4 animal units per 1000 ha. The majority of sables live in foothills, lower and higher parts of green-belt. They prefer to settle down in locations where the taiga is in the valleys of rivers, and where there is mostly Siberian pine and cedar forest. Here the sable has got enough food all the year round, and in numerous clatters under the roots of trees and in the brushwood it finds a wonderful shelter.
Among the rare representatives of mustelids family, inhabiting the reserve, we can name the river otter. Also the reserve is inhabited by about 80 brown bears, foxes, and wolves.
Besides, you can meet such hoofed animals as red deer (marals), elks, Siberian Roe deer, musk deer, reindeer, and wild boars. Reindeer inhabit mostly subalpine, Alpine, and high mountain parts of the greenbelt. Their number in the reserve in some years reaches 30 ‑ 50 units. In summer reindeer more often inhabit alpine tundra; pretty often one can see them at the snow pitches and tarns.
As the reserve is situated on the very shore of Lake Baikal, tourists have got a wonderful possibility to get to know the unique lake better. In winter you can sit fishing on the ice, or go skiing. You can take pictures of fantastic ice bars, and picturesque ridges; walk in the winter taiga, follow an old hunter's path, and enjoy life-giving aroma of the Siberian taiga.
Excursion and Tourist Routes:
• «In the Jungles of the Khamar-Daban»‑walking tour
‑ 6 km (1-3 days);
• «The Southern Shore» ‑ by boat or car+walking tour
‑ 22+7 km (3-5 days);
• «Selenga Estuary» ‑ by boat+walking tour‑20 km+ 6 km (2-6 days).
The ecological path goes in the territory of the reserve and is 6 km long. It goes past the valley of River Osinovka; on the way you will see the taiga, rare plants, a waterfall, picturesque mountain scenery, coal outbreaks, and places where long ago miners used to work. On the way you will have a rest in special places, where you can find everything you need.
The walking tour starts in the village Tankhoi and all the way the employee of the reserve accompany you. All in all we accept not more than 10 people at a time on the path. Birdwatchers can visit the state reserve "Kabansky" in the delta of Selenga River. Here a big cordon, view tower, and floating craftare at your disposal. Experienced employees will show you such places where waterfowls gather in great number. You can also watch some rare spesies of birds there.