River Bolshaya is one of the numerous tributaries of Lake Baikal. It flows across the Barguzinsk Reserve. There is a thermal spring on the river that warms up a part of the bank and there is no snow all the year round there. Not far from the mouth of the river there is the grave of one of the organizers and the first official director of the Reserve K.A. Zabelin, who died in 1934. It is he who together with another devotee of the reserve, a man loving the nature of Pribaikalsk, a Czech Z. Svatosch established this unique natural complex that survived during the hardest period of the Revolution and Civil war.
It is worth mentioning the origin of the word Barguzin. According to the viewpoint of M.N. Melkheev the Mongolian word barga means “coarse, uncultured, and dark”; when added the root zhan it acquires the form Barguzin, or Bargut-zhin that means “inhabitants of outskirts”. The Mongolian called forest peoples so. In the Innermost Saga of the Mongol we come across the name of Barguday-Mergen, the owner of kul-bargulesny tribes’ lineage, the tribes that lived at the lake. The Barguzin region primarily included the Barguzinsky Mountain Range and the valley of River Barguzin. N.M. Melkheev believed that the level locality and a plain along the river (in Buryat – tuhum) predetermined the name of that area.
But there is another opinion. The ancient understanding of the name of the terrain Barguzin-Tukum (Iranian tokum or tuhum means “the seed”) was much wider than just a river, mountains and lowlands of Lake Baikal. The forest peoples’ "seed", i.e. their agnates and cognates were scattered all over the territory of Pribaikalie and Zabaikalie and were composed of various clans and tribes, whose lot was migrations within the forest-steppe zone of the Eastern Siberia southern part. Naturally, the Mongols settled at these places at definite fertile periods of time because the Bargudzhin “seed” was their seed as well.
Davsha is the name that a river, bay and the central estate of the Barguzinsky Reserve – a small village – have. Davshar in Evenki means a wide open area, situated close to the bay, and on whose meadows the Evenki reindeer herds were usually grazed. The administration of the reserve was moved to this place from another Baikal village, Sosnovka, shortly after the Second World War.
On the bank of River Sosnovka the Evenki village had long been situated and now only a small cordon – Kudaldy – remained to protect the Barguzinsky Reserve. The cordon had long been the administrative center of the reserve. Nowadays not far from the forester’s house one can see the memorial plate with the inscription: “Here in June 1, 1914 landed an expedition the members of which were G.G. Dopelmair, K.A. Zabelin, Z.F. Svatosh, A.D. Baturin, D.N. Alexandrov. The result of this expedition was the establishment of the Barguzinsky Reserve in 1916, now the State Barguzinsky Reserve”. Now the reserve performs several important functions: implements the conservation of natural complexes and objects, provides research and environmental education activity. In 2006 the Regional Conference dedicated to the 90th Anniversary of Russian Reserves and their first-born Barguzinsky Reserve was held here.
I still have very pleasant memories about staying at the cordon Kudaldy during our transition on the route Khakusy – Ust-Barguzin in July, 1990. These memories still urge philosophical reflections upon it. In July, 13 my companion in the expedition Vitaly Sergeyev and I visited the cordon’s forester Yevgeni Kornilov who lived there with his wife Nina. On the one hand, we were struck by the amenities of the house: clean farmstead, walks, sprinkled with river sand, the simplest sports facilities, flower beds and other garden and vegetable plantations. On the other hand, it was the interior that at that time I described in one word – a feast to the eye. Two tidy rooms and a kitchen; the walls of them covered with wallpaper with a delicate taste, gas stove, quite a decent furniture and a good special library with books no less than one thousand in number. The hosts were very hospitable, they dined and wined us and turned to be very interesting people to talk to. We spoke about the peculiarities and remarkable features of the Barguzinsky Reserve, its unique vegetation and inhabitants. Yevgeni told us that he knew the habits and character of some local bears: this one can “mischief”, that one is peaceful, etc. The hosts had also planned to arrange a winter garden, install steam heating. If the life of such intellectual people is provided with cellular communication, multi-channel satellite TV, notebooks, it will hardly differ in richness and wealth from the life of any urban snob.
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