Severo-Baikalsk is the city that appeared with the construction of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM). Here at Cape Kurly in 1974 the first builders of the BAM landed; they started to build the first section of the mainline that ran along the shore of Lake Baikal. Severo-Baikalsk is located near Cape Kurly on a high coastal taiga terrace near the mouth of River Tyi in the north of Lake Baikal. It is the largest city on the Baikal coast, the BAM railway station, industrial and cultural center. There is the BAM History Museum, Folk Art Gallery, Art School, and Public Theatre in the town. Since 1986 there has been passenger railway service between Irkutsk and Moscow (trailer cars) established. In a plain view of the shore there is a monument to pioneers of the BAM in the form of Railway Tent with the inscription: "In July 23, 1974 here landed troops of tunnel builders. They were the first – Afanasiev V.A., Abagaev B.S., Bogachev V.E., Butankov Yu.L., Gladkov V.F.”
Nizhneangarsk is the center of the Severo-Baikalsk region of Buryatia. The settlement merged with the village of Chichevki that had been situated at the mouth of River Kichera. Chichevki Village in the early 20th century was divided by channels into parts and reminded “Venice in miniature" . The foreman Semyon Skorokhod is considered to be the founder of Nizhneangarsk; accompanied by the Evenki Prince Yuloga he reaches this place by the shore of Lake Baikal and sets a cabin there. In 1646 another Cossack Vasily Kolesnik built a stockade town there; it became known as Nizhneangarsk in contrast to the village in the middle part of the Upper Angara – Verkhneangarsk stockade town. In the 30s of the XXth century the village was called Kozlovo in honor of a local active participant of the fight for the Soviet power, but this name was not accepted.
There was one more explanation of the geographical name of Nizhneangarsk. A.M. Stanilovsky called so the entire delta of the Upper Angara with its tributaries and described it as following: “The Angara before falling into Lake Baikal flows through a broad lowland plain of drifts and then breaks down into several branches, local people call them channels. Besides, in the lower part of the stream Rivers Kichera and Arganom join it. Thus a complex delta was formed; it was indented with streams, dotted with islands, deep bays and "sors". To this description I can add that the entire delta is separated by a long and narrow island, which is called Yarky. Verkhneangarsky Sor and the system of channels play a positive role in feeding many fish, including omul. Larvae of the latter, migrating down the Angara and Kichera off spawning grounds in May and June get into shallows with warm water and a huge number of bormash (Crustacean, amphipod). Formerly in the main channel of the Upper Angara there was Dagari Settlement with a church, houses, a warehouse for trade and cemetery. Therefore, the areas nearby are called the Dagarsk Mouth and Dagarsk Bay.
It is impossible not to mention the two settlements located up River Kichera, at the current Baikal-Amur Mainline – Dushkachan and Kholodnaya. At present the major part of the Severo-Baikalsk Evenki live in these settlements. They strive for maintaining their cultural and economic traditions and way of life.
The Bay Frolikha with the eponymous river and lake, as it is assumed, have the name of Frol, one of the numerous Russian settlers of the 17 – 18th centuries who made habitable the Baikal coast. The cape, located southward of the bay, is called the Cape Frolov. Besides, there is such a theory that the name of the bay originates from the unique population of “red fish” – loach, or Frolikh char. Written sources inform that in Lake Frolikha a species of salmon fish – the trout – can be found. This could also affect the name of the lake: trout (Rus. forel) – Forelikha – Frolikha.
In 1940 in the Bay Frolikha a seaplane crashed. Besides the pilot and flight mechanic there were three more people on it. They were a woman with her son and a leading design engineer of the Baikal-Amur Mainline. The latter carried along metal boxes – tape reels with aero photographs of the future BAM. In accord with the memoirs of Professor H. Martinson who got into that tragic place on the launch “B. Dybovskiy”, the only person who escaped was the flight mechanic.
The Bay Khakusy is also well-known. Next to the coast there is a thermal spa; thanks to it a local health resort exists. The area in terms of vegetation is a unique pine forest with cedar elfin wood and lichen-ground cover.
10 – 12 km to the south of Khakus there is also a beautiful place with the interesting name Kaman (Khaman). In the Evenki language it means “a shaman’s place”. In due time the cape and adjacent bays served as territories for shamanistic rituals – prayers and sacrifices by the Tungus shamans. Sometimes all this turned into a kind of dance and therapeutic procedures of wizards and witches with their ancestors. When I had the luck to visit that place traveling on foot along the northern coast of the lake in July 1990, it produced an impression that shamans did know what was good for them. Wonderful landscapes, clean healthy air and amazing sand made these bays look like paradise on Earth in summer. Grains of sand in one of the bays were large – at least 2 – 3 mm in diameter; they were well heated in the sun. It was great pleasure to lie on this beach and burrow in the sand. And the magic being an old custom on this Promised Land seemed to be an absorbing and useful occupation for people.
The Cape Turaly in Evenki means "singing earth", or "singing sands”. Indeed, the sand on the cape shore being in motion creates whistling or rustling sounds slightly reminding the creak of new shoes. Since the reasons of sand singing and whistling are not revealed so far, this fact provokes the emergence of many different myths. Particularly, it is considered that these sounds resemble Sirens’ voices luring those who pass by. Sometimes they say about “demonic”, “satanic” and other forces existing there.
It is remarkable that the Baikal has other “singing sands”. They can be found in two areas of the Peninsula Svyatoy Nos, and in the delta of River Selenga to the north of the village Istock. While walking on the surface of the sand-drift measuring 30 – 40 m in daytime and calm weather one can hear the sound resembling dzi-u and howls at times. They say that the music sounding there is caused by gas vibration enclosed between small sand grains of similar size, consisting of quarts, feldspar and clean pink glance.
At the Cape Maliy Pongonie at the water edge there is a huge block. It became overgrown with lichen from the north; the other side is covered with fine crushed rock and poor soil. Around the block there are stones of smaller size and stunted vegetation: ledum, raspberries, alder, bergenia. High above the modern water level there is a line cut out on the stone; on its other side a well kept data – 1878 – can be seen. This mark was left by I.D. Cherskiy, but today it is somewhat above the actual water level of Lake Baikal. The mark was moved in the 50s of the XXth century, when the level of the lake raised.
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