Lake Baikal and its drainage basin belong to the unique geosystems of the world. Baikal is located in the central part of Eastern Siberia, near the conventional geographical center of Asia. The mountain hollow of the lake represents the most important natural boundary of Siberia. In this area borders of various floristic and faunal areas converge, creating biogeocenoses that have no analogues.
Baikal is one of the greatest lakes of the planet, the lake is "to an excellent degree": the deepest (1637 m) and the oldest (about 25 million years old), containing the largest number of endemics (more than 1,000 species) and representatives of flora and fauna (over 2,600 species) living in the fresh water bodies of the Earth. The lake has a unique (23.6 thousand cubic meters) capacity and a fresh water supply (20% of the world's). The basin of Baikal is the central link of the Baikal rift zone, which arose and develops simultaneously with the world rift system. A number of factors suggest that the lake is a nascent ocean. The climate of the Baikal coasts is unusually soft for Siberia, - the number of sunny days here is higher than at many Black Sea resorts. 336 rivers flow into the Baikal (Selenga, Barguzin, Upper Angara, etc.), and one follows - the Angara.
The entire lake basin (the total catchment area is 557 thousand square kilometers, of which 332 is in Russia) is a peculiar and very fragile natural geosystem, the basis of which is the lake system with its natural process of formation of the purest waters of drinking quality.