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Archive for siberia

Gateway to Lake Baikal

By Linda Tancs

The hub of Eastern Siberia, Irkutsk is a popular stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway between Moscow and all points east thanks to its vibrantly colored churches and array of theaters and museums. It’s also a popular gateway to Lake Baikal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nicknamed the Pearl of Siberia. Begin your exploration at Irkutsk Regional Museum, the oldest museum in Siberia and the first provincial museum in Russia. The Moorish-style building contains a history of the museum itself, dating to 1782 before a fire forced its relocation in 1883. You can book tours of Irkutsk and Baikal in the museum.

Where Russia’s Winter Begins

By Linda Tancs

In Siberia’s Yakutian permafrost some say Russia’s winter begins.  With winter temperatures easily hitting minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit there, it may even seem neverending.  Yakutian settlements also boast world records as the “pole of cold,” the coldest place in the northern hemisphere. It should come as no surprise that this is where you’ll find the Permafrost Kingdom, an ice cave some 492 feet long located at Chochur Muran mountain.  After donning a warm coat and boots, you’ll see ice crystals and sculptures aglow in rainbows of light through the slippery corridors.  Opened in 2008, the “kingdom” is in its infancy compared with the prehistoric permafrost underscoring the entire Yakutian region, the onetime home of the extinct woolly mammoth.

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