Availability: All year around
Arrival in Irkutsk. Transfer to the hotel. Accommodation.
City Tour including a visit to the Cathedral of the Holy Sign. Apart from ornate and rich iconostasis, the cathedral is famous for its graveyard where you will see the graves of the Decembrists Mukhanov, Beschasnov, Trubetskaya and the Russian Columbus Shelekhov.
We will then proceed to the Museum of the Decembrists. The museum is housed in a mansion belonging to one of the leaders of Decembrist revolutionaries - these were Russian aristocracy who were banished to Siberia after their ill-fated attempt in December 1825 to overthrow the Russian Tsar in favor of a Constitutional regime. The museum really gives off an aura of 18th century Russia.
After breakfast at the hotel, you will head to Ust-Orda settlement, centre of Buryat culture located 62 km away from Irkutsk. You will visit the Local Lore Museum and learn about the history of different ethnic groups that inhabited the region since the Paleolithic Era. You will learn a lot about the customs, traditions and beliefs of the Western Buryats. The highlight of the trip will be participation in ancient purification ritual with a real shaman.
Lunch in a local cafe (Buryat cuisine).
Departure to Olkhon. The road goes through picturesque green hills of the Pribaikalsky mountain range covered with Siberian taiga and Mongolian-type landscapes of the Tazheranskaya steppe Then the ferry will take you across the famous Olkhon Gate that separates Olkhon from the mainland On the way you will see both the Maloye (Lesser) and the Bolshoye (Larger) Seas - two parts of Baikal split by Olkhon.
In the evening – a walking sightseeing tour of Khuzhir settlement and sacred Burkhan Cape (Shamanka Rock), one of the nine Asian shrines that were equally worshipped by Shamanists, Buddhists and Lamaists. You will also visi the local Lore Museum to learn about everyday life and culture of the islanders.
After breakfast we go to the Khoboy Cape located on the Northern part of the island. The cape is located near the widest part of the lake (79.8 km). On the cape there is a special site (a small platform) that was used for carrying out the tailagan - gatherings of shamans. On the way to the cape, we will drive through the Sand Tract (20 km north of the Khuzhir Settlement) famous for its sand dunes that stretch 3 km.
After visiting the cape, we will return to the hotel.
After breakfast, board the bus at 10:00 and drive to the ferry-station.
Cross the strait by ice (ferry-boat in summer) to the mainland and drive to Irkutsk.
Stop for lunch en route in the buryat village.
Arrival in Irkutsk. End of program