Severobaikalsk….A city in the North? Please, do not try to find it somewhere in the North, its geographical position is the South of Eastern Siberia, the latitude of Moscow. The name of the city originally means that the city is located at the very northern tip of the most beautiful lake on the Earth - Lake Baikal!
The city is closely surrounded by the mountains of Baikalsky mountain ridge from three sides, from the fourth side it is washed by unique and of inimitable beauty Lake Baikal.
The population of the city is around 28,000 inhabitants. Time difference with Moscow is + 5 hours. The phone code of Severobaikalsk is ++ 7 30139. The address of the City Administration is 7, Leningradsky Ave., Severobaikalsk, 671701. The Mayor of the city is Mr. Vladimir Andreevich Bodrov. Phone number ++ 7 301 392 2319
Severobaikalsk was founded in 1974 thanks to the construction of Baikal-Amur Mainline (railroad). At that time it was just a very small settling of the builders of the Buryat part of BAM. That was 510th kilometer of the new railroad and its name was "New Year Settlement". It represented a group of tents, small wooden huts and railroad cars put on the ground. There were a few heating stations and electricity was produced by mobile diesel power stations. In a few years it would grow into a large transportation unit with mighty construction complex and developed social infrastructure.
In November 1980 Severobaikalsk was given a status of the city under Republican supervision by the Act of the Supreme Council of the Buryat Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.
Severobaikalsk is a big transportation center. The railroad connection with Irkutsk, Moscow, Kislovodsk, Krasnoyarsk, Tynda is provided by the Severobaikalsk Branch of the East-Siberian Railroad (BAM was split into two parts and doesn't exist any more). It takes 92 hours to reach Moscow, 31 hours to reach Irkutsk, 30 hours to reach Krasnoyarsk, 153 hours to reach Kislovodsk.
The unique railroad terminal reminds one of a white-snow sail on the unified blue of Baikal water and the sky, which are girdled by the green of the nearby mountains and forests. It was built under the design of Leningrad architects. The monument to Leningrad builders of the city is a remarkable spot on the square around the train station.
Severobaikask sea port connects the sea with Irkutsk. One can travel by hydrofoil three times a week at navigation time (June-September) to Port Baikal not far from Irkutsk. It is 10 hours non-stop voyage.
The nearby airport of Nizhneangarsk (25 km from Severobaikalsk) provides flights to Ulan-Ude (1 hour 20 minutes) and to Irkutsk (1 hour 30 minutes).
The five-floor apartment buildings struck strangers' eyes due to their unusual configurations. It seems they have been collected from separate parts, the way bees build their honeycomb. There is never a straight line, but it is always broken, no balconies as well. That's how the special tremor proof series of buildings look like.
Leningradsky Avenue makes the central part of the city starting from the train station and running through the downtown area, where all the administrative, cultural and shopping places are located.
Big industrial projects are missing in the city while Severobaikalsk Branch of the East-Siberian rairoad is the main place where lots of the residents work. BAM is gone and gone are the big construction and transportation companies. They had been exchanged by small-business companies dealing with trade, restaurant business, construction and mini factories of food industry.
There are more than 400 companies in the city. The popular ones with the residents are "Trade Center", enterprises of such companies as "Tikhonov and Sons", "Vist", "Style", "Baikalsky Spring", "Service", "Sirin", "Dionelli", "Bakery", "City Market", "Merchant" and others. The city people readily buy the beer made in the local brewery "Roos" and soft drinks from "Sacred Baikal Ltd.," Severobaikalsk is the second, after Ulan-Ude, city in Buryatia by the volume of retail commodity turnover.
Bars and restaurants
There is quite a number of masters of decorative and local authentic arts, whose items are very popular both with the locals and guests, who visit North Baikal area.
The center for social and cultural life of the city is the Palace of Culture "Zheleznodorozhnik" which has two auditoriums, conservatory with tropical plants, bars, restaurants and exhibition hall. From the very foundation of the city there works The School of Arts for children. Its students have been prizewinners of different Russia's and international contests. The Folk Ensemble "Zhemchuzhina Baikala" (The Gem of Baikal), rock group "Pulsar", ballroom dance group, children's ensemble of folk dance "Baikal Souvenir" are widely known not only in the region, but far beyond its borders.
The local television channel TV-10 began its work in 1988. On the 8th of March, 1993 the first show of Severobaikalsk television was aired. Since the year 2000 Severobaikalsk television has become a full-range television channel and was included into TNT television net. The net provides time for regional shows.
They air 10 shows, the most popular of which are "Far away from Moscow", "Weekly Chronicles", "MoST" run by the youth staff, "The home near Baikal", programs about the work of judicial organizations of the city, environmental issues and the criminal situation in the city.
There are 5 high schools, 2 gymnasias, interschool job training center, nine kindergartens, the branches of Irkutsk University of Railroad Transport, Russian University of Peoples' Friendship (Moscow), Slavonic University (Moscow), Moscow Academy of Service, Siberian College of Construction and Business (Irkutsk), Bratsk Technological University, Tomsk University of Management, vocational school No. 19 and other institutions. There are more than 6,000 students in Severobaikalsk.
There are optional education institutions in the city as well. Among them are Children's and Juniors' Sports School, The School of Ecology and Tourism, municipal Center of Buryat Culture "Bayar", The House of Children's Creative Works.
Severobaikalsk is a big sports center in the North of Buryatia. There are 7 gyms, four of them provide specialized training in boxing, sambo, martial arts and calisthenics (rythmic gymnastics). Very popular places for taking sports are swimming-pools, yacht-club "White Sail" (for children), boxing club "Nord Ring", clubs "Spartanets", "Triada", "Neva",body-building club "Alliance".
The people of Severobaikalsk know how to spend their free time very well, as the nature lavishly provided this place with wondrous combinations for recreation, such as mountains and lakes, snow and hot springs, not to mention Lake Baikal itself. In summer the city becomes deserted as the population moves out to the shore of Lakes Baikal and Slyudyanskie (Mica). The affluent ones travel by yachts and big sailboats further away, but the majority spends the time on the numerous sand beaches. Fishing occupies a very special place in the life of the most men of the city, they suffer this "illness" almost all year round.
When winter comes and it lasts for about 6 months, the hot springs around the city become the real places of pilgrimage, as they combine hot water and snow. Some people go down-hill skiing and after that they bathe in hot springs.