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  Main arrow Tour offers and itineraries arrow Special Interest Tours arrow Great Dams of Siberia & Its Breweries  
 
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Great Dams of Siberia & Its Breweries
                                     

  Duration: 6 nights/7 days; availability: May through October
                                      
CODE: GDS B/6-T

             

  During Soviet times, the power of the Angara (the tributary of the Yenisey and only outlet of Lake Baikal), was harnessed utilizing three enormous hydro-electric dams. 63% of Angara’s potential resources were captured to fuel the energy needs of a nation struggling to remain the world’s manufacturing leader.
             The construction of dams on the Angara resulted in appearance of large man-made seas and this has had some impact on the ecology of the area, flooded some of the area’s best farmland. However at the same time the Angara River Grid of Dams have given rise to fast development of industry in Irkutsk Region which was not limited to natural gas extraction, heavy machinery or oil-refineries but during the transient period in switching to a market economy alongside with other economies led to flourishing of new beer distilleries which breweries produce beer out of some of the purest water in the world.
           The itinerary we offer below  besides just touring the world’s famous natural site enables to see  which changes some parts of Siberia – once called as “ a sleeping land” – underwent as the  result  of utilization of the water resources and  power of sacred Lake Baikal  through its daughter Angara – the “open mouth” of Lake Baikal.
        And, of course, throughout the tour you will experience the way how Siberian breweries produce beer and taste it as well…

 


                                          

Suggested Itinerary

 

Day 1

 

MOST WELCOME TO IRKUTSK- “Paris of Siberia”, capital of its great Eastern part, Microcosm of Siberia and the gateway to Its Pearl - Lake Baikal!

Upon arrival we meet you at the airport gates holding “Baikal Discovery” sign and  assist with the luggage. After a short drive-transfer by coach to your hotel enjoy welcome drink during check in at the hotel and some time at leisure before lunch. After lunch to be served at the hotel start out by coach for a sightseeing tour of Irkutsk. Besides visiting the city’s most atmospheric sights like Znamenskaya Orthodox Cathedral, historical part of the city, the embankment etc. we will also visit  today Irkutsk Hydro Electro Power Station – the first in a chain of dams  built in the 1959 to make hydro-electric power for the industrial region of Irkutsk. The Angara- the only river flowing out Lake Baikal was dammed up in Irkutsk in 1959 which resulted in the appearance of man-made sea with the hydro power dam having capacity of over 664 thousand kilowatts. Today we’ll drive along the dam to tour the machine hall of the Irkutsk Power Station and hear the story on the construction of the dam. Then and before dinner we will visit one of the city’s breweries to taste local draft beer like “Admiral Kolchak" ( named after prominent Russian scientist-explorer of Arctic and then  White Army Commander who for his attempt to overthrow the Soviet power in Siberia was shot down in Irkutsk). Dinner will be served at the popular “Bier House” restaurant where along with your meal entries you will also have a chance to try local beer “from the tap”. Overnight  back at the hotel.

Day 2

After breakfast we depart from the hotel for a full-day trip to Lake Baikal located 62 km away from Irkutsk up the Angara stream. We travel today by coach with 2 stops en route to visit the Holy Ovoo of the Shamanists believers and for a guided tour of the Taltsy Open-Air Museum of Wooden Architecture – the highlight museum of Irkutsk region , the place for all people to experience the history and traditions of the peoples of Siberia- Buryats, Evenks and Russians. After a tour of the Museum’s exciting permanent exhibition we proceed by coach another 18 km to approach the only outlet of lake Baikal – the source of the Angara river.  Here near the Shaman rock associated with many popular legends which your informative guide will tell you about we make a short stop to take pictures of gorgeous landscapes of the Southern part of Baikal with huge water space ahead of you and snow-topped mountains of Khamar Daban Mountain Range on the opposite side of Lake Baikal. You will certainly notice how fast here the river current is which is due to very steep gradient of the river bed that makes the Angara one the world’s mightiest rivers. Tasty lunch of typical local cuisine will be served at the sea front restaurant. Then we visit Baikal Ecology Museum which has a large display of unique exhibits of the lake’s flora and fauna, see an interesting video about Lake Baikal and talk to environmentalists discussing not only Lake Baikal ecology but some problems caused by the construction of the dams and ways to eliminate them.
After that we proceed by coach to the boat station to take a hydrofoil ride to the Old Round-Baikal Railroad, built under the last Russian tsar and because of its enormous construction costs calle “The Golden Buckle of Steel Belt of Russian Empire. After construction of Irkutsk Dam and Hydro Power Station the railway along Angara river is under water level and branch of railway from Angara beginning till Slyudyanka (South corner) is cul-de-sac now. During the hydrofoil ride we will see the 1-st tunnel of the Old Round-Baikal Railway. After the ride we return by coach back to Irkutsk for dinner and then transfer to the railway station to board an overnight train to Bratsk.  The train ride running first along the Trans-Siberian and then on the Baikal-Amur Railway will be most interesting and fun. Baikal Discovery tour escort will be there on the train to tell you about the history of the railways and sights of interests we’ll pass through heading southwest of the Irkutsk region. Overnight in the train.

Day 3

Breakfast on the train. Arrival in the afternoon in the city of Bratsk – a huge industrial center in the southwest Irkutsk region of  Eastern Siberia with population about 350 000. Located along  the Bratsk Reservoir that was created by the Hydro Power Electric Dam in 1964, the city figures prominently in Soviet lore of frontier development.
Upon arrival in Bratsk transfer to Taiga Hotel for check in and lunch. Then sightseeing tour of Bratsk today will include visit to the so-called “The  Angara-river village”  Open-Air Museum of Wooden Houses to see the Evenks sector of exhibition. Dinner and overnight back at the hotel.

Day 4

Today we start in the morning touring the electrical power plant in Bratsk. The dam is 106 m high and creates a gigantic lake of 500 km length, covering 5470 sq. km of land with more than 48 cubic km of water. Maximum electrical power of 4,500 MW more than exceeds Lenin's parols upon electrification of  the whole country.  Construction brigades to build the dam here composed of volunteer members of the Communist Youth League (Komsomol) worked in the harsh sub-arctic environment to complete the project. Cuban leader Fidel Castro while on his tour of the Soviet Union specially visited Bratsk to commemorate the work of the dam’s builders whom he addressed in his speech at Bratsk Stadium on May,13,1963.
After the dam tour we will have lunch of Siberian cuisine in  “PADOON’ restaurant. Then we proceed on a tour of the Bratsk “Gelios” Brewery with draft beer sampling to be followed by dinner of sea-cuisine in “Callipso”.   Overnight back at Taiga Hotel.

Day 5

After breakfast we check out from Taiga hotel and depart by coach to our next East-Siberian destination – the city of Ust-Ilimsk located 250 km northwards of Bratsk within the territory of Irkutsk region. The highway we will drive passes through the taiga-woods with some villages en route, the whole trip with stops on the way to take pictures and have a cup of hot tea or coffee will take us about 5-6 hours.
Upon arrival in Ust Ilimsk we check in at the tourist class hotel. Then we tour the city of Ust Ilimsk founded in 1973 and very famous in  Russia as the city of 3 big industrial projects implemented here under the Soviets including the construction of 3-rd Hydro Power Station in the Angara Grid. We’ll tour the dam of the station and see its Machine Hall. Lunch and dinner shall be served in stylish downtown restaurants.  Overnight back at your hotel.

Day 6

After breakfast visit famous local brewery and taste local beers that were awarded with special Russian and international medals. Dinner in the downtown. Then check out from the hotel for a transfer by coach back to Bratsk. Upon arrival in Bratsk check in the Taiga Hotel and “Farewell Dinner” of Siberian specialties. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 7

Breakfast. Check out from the Taiga Hotel. Transfer to the airport for flight # ____to _____

Have a pleasant flight! We shall hope to see you again on another tour of Baikal Discovery to great destination of Baikal and Mongolia Asia! Please, be our guests!

 

The cost of the above tour:


Based on minimum 15 pax in a group:  from USD 755 p/p on full board and twin room sharing basis with all events included as per above described itinerary.       

 
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