Most parts of lake Baikal are hard to reach, often you have to temporarily sacrifice comfort to get there. But there are places where you can travel with comfort. One of them is the Curcum-Bailkal Railway or "Krugobaikalka" (CBR). Highway, previously was a part of the Trans-Siberian Railway, now is one of the major man-made attractions on lake Baikal, a unique monument of engineering. On the saturation of railway engineering constructions Circum-Baikal Railway has no similar ones in Russia, and is on the first place in the world.
The Circum-Baikal Railway was built from 1899 to 1905. The length of "Krugobaikalka" is 89 kilometers (55 miles). Tunnels and stone galleries of the Circum Baikal Railway are unique – they were built by a non-typical projects and were not reconstructed. On the road there are 38 tunnels with the total length of 9063 meters (5,6 miles), the longest one is 777,5 meters (0,5 miles), 15 stone galleries, 248 bridges and viaducts, and 268 retaining walls.
The complex terrain of rocky shore has forced builders to lay the biggest part of the road in tunnels or in artificial fields that were cut in the rock. It took a wagon of explosives for every kilometer of the road. A lot of legends and superstitions are connected with many parts of CBR. According to the legend, in 1920 there was a crash of a train with "Kolchak's gold", which sank to the bottom of the lake in a depth of 1.3 kilometers (0,8 miles). "Kolchak's gold" was a part of the gold reserve of the Russian Empire, which was taken from Petrograd during the Revolution in 1918. After that, according to the legend, the locals were finding bars of gold in shallow waters. Those, who died in this tragedy are commemoratedwith a shot of vodka.
In 1982 the Circum-Baikal Railway was declared an architectural and scenic reserve (it is now part of the Baikal National Park). In the last 30 years, there was a reconstruction of the Railway, engineering structures were foritfied, a new path was built, and the only stone building for passengers at the railway was restored (station in the town of Slyudyanka).
You can enjoy the amazing views of lake Baikal, a unique engineering constructions including tunnels on the tourist train: with steam draft or comfortable diesel rail buses. Hiking excursions are very popular as well, there is a number of tourist bases. In addition to the "railway" attractions, tourists are attracted by numerous of natural monuments. In the villages along the Circum-Baikal Railway remained a number of wooden buildings of the early XX century, built in art Nouveau style.