Khuzhir, Olkhon Island, Irkutsk Region (Russia)

Khuzhir, Olkhon Island, Irkutsk Region (Russia)

According to Foodezine, the village of Khuzhir is located on the northern coast of Olkhon Island. This is the largest settlement of the island, and Olkhon, in turn, is the largest island of Lake Baikal. The length of Olkhon is 72 km, the width is 15 km, the area is 730 sq. m. It is located almost in the center of the lake. Olkhon is translated from Buryat as “a little wooded”, but there are forests only in its central part, and sandy bays and steppes stretch along the coasts. Khuzhir is home to the Museum of Local Lore. The exposition of the museum contains archaeological material, household items of the Buryats, collections on the flora and fauna of Baikal, collections of rocks and minerals, a numismatic collection and objects of religious worship, giving an idea of shamanism. Near the village there is a sacred

Cape Burkhan. It is worth noting that the shamans of the Republic of Buryatia officially recognized Olkhon as “the main sanctuary and cult center of all-Mongolian and Central Asian significance.” Cape Burkhan is one of the shrines of shamanism, a place of rituals and worship. A rock rises here with a through cave, where only a shaman has access, ordinary people are not allowed to come close to the rock. It is believed that one of the most powerful spirits, Khan Khute-baabay, lives in the cave. At the foot of the cliff, a mysterious rock drawing and an inscription in Sanskrit have been preserved. Not far from here on the way to the village of Khuzhir there are places of worship for the spirits of the island – “sarge” and “obo”. “Sarge” is a wooden column, which is tied with multi-colored shreds of matter. The flaps are hung by locals or tourists so that their prayers reach heaven. “Obo” is a mound of stones, which also represents the spirit of the area. It is customary for the “obos” to leave gifts for the spirit, mostly coins or food. “Sarge” and “Obo” are quite common on Olkhon.

From Khuzhir you can go on a trip to Olkhon Island. This is a picturesque island with many rocky capes and bays with beaches.

The northernmost tip of the island is Cape Khoboy. Translated from the Buryat name of the cape means “fang”. The rock located here offers a beautiful view of the lake and the Buryat coast with the Ushkany Islands and the Svyatoy Nos peninsula. Here you can see seal rookeries. If you go south along the coast, you can see Cape Sagan-Khushun. There are interesting pyramidal rocks on it, which the locals called “Three Brothers”. On the opposite coast of the island (north-east) at Cape Izhimey is its highest point – Mount Zhima (1274 m). Its slopes are covered with fir trees. Opposite the mountain, a few hundred meters from the shore, there is the deepest place on Lake Baikal (1741m). In the same part of the coast, you should go to a place called Uzury. Here is the Khaga-Yaman Bay, surrounded by rocky cliffs. In the southern part of the island, an interesting lake is Shara-Nur. This is the only lake on Olkhon. It is located in the mountains at an altitude of 750 m above sea level. The salt lake Shara-Nur was formed due to the release of water from underground sources. Near the lake is the smell of hydrogen sulfide. It is famous for its healing properties – its radon mud has a healing effect, so tourists are willing to smear themselves with it.

In addition, there are more than 100 archeological monuments on Olkhon – burial grounds, ancient settlements and the remains of stone walls. The most popular archaeological site is Cape Khorgoy. The remains of an ancient settlement have been preserved here, where in the 6th-11th centuries A.D. e. the Kurykan people lived. In this place, you can see the remains of a moat and an altar, as well as a 220-meter wall, which was erected without fastening material. There are also ancient sites and burials in the Tyshkina padi.

The most famous holiday destination for tourists in the summer is the coast of the Small Sea. This is a narrow strait separating the northern coast of Olkhon and the mainland. In the Small Sea area there are the best beaches and recreation centers of the island.

Olkhon is a great place for fishing, both in summer and in winter. In winter, fans of ice fishing go here, during which you can catch grayling.

There are several dive sites on Olkhon. Diving is practiced on the northeast coast of the island and in the area of the Small Sea. The dive sites of East Olkhon abound with various canyons, huge boulders and sponge thickets. Here you can see gobies, gammarus and grayling. The dive sites of the Small Sea have a shallow depth (up to 10 m) and not very good visibility (10-20 m). The usual inhabitants of this part of Baikal are perches, gobies and sponges.

Khuzhir, Olkhon Island, Irkutsk Region (Russia)