Baikal Irkutsk Trans Siberian

Origins of Lake Baikal name 

It is believed that the word “Baikal” is borrowed from the Turkic languages. It is translated as a “rich lake” (where bai means rich, kul means lake). There are some other geographical names in Russian of the same origin. For instance, Issyk-Kul (warm lake) in Kirgizstan or Kara-Kul (black lake) in Tajikistan.

Some scientists suggest that this word comes from the Mongolian language, “Baigal” (rich fire) or Baigal Dalai (big lake or sea). The peoples inhabiting the Baikal area called the lake in their own way. The Evenks, one of the most ancient nationalities inhabiting Siberia before the Russians came, called Lake Baikal Lamu which means the Sea. The Buryars, another nationality of Mongolian ethnic group, - “Baigal nur” or “Beihai”. According to some scientific sources, the last name comes from Chinese meaning “lake, increasing wealth”.

In the Yakut language there is a word which has several phonetic variations: Baiakhal, Bakhal, Baiagal, Baigal. This word has two main meanings: sea and Lake Baikal. It is also used to express such concepts as “plenty of something”, “ocean” and “a mass of water”. So the question about the sources of the word “Baikal” and its origin keeps on being unrevealed up to date.

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