Bolshie Koty is situated 24 km from Listvianka. The village is very small – about 50 residents. Nobody can explain the village name. In Russian it sounds as big cats. Presumably the word “koty” derives from ancient convicts’ shoes “kotka” or a trap to catch fish in a mouth of a river (“katsy”). The locals used “katsy” to catch fish in the Kotinka-river which flows into the Baikal near in the village.
In the nineteenth century Bolshie Koty was a local gold rush center where more than 160 kg were mined. Later a glass factory was founded. Now it is an attractive tourist place.
The village is located near Irkutsk and Listvianka, but it is secluded enough to preserve nature. It is a good idea to spend a day in the village, however if you stay overnight, you have a chance to admire a beautiful sunset and a fabulous sunrise on the shore of Lake Baikal.
How to get:
Not any motor road leads to the village. During the summer one can get there by water:
- By scheduled hydrofoil “Voskhod” (www.vsrp.ru) – one hour and half from Irkutsk or 25 minutes from Listvianka;
- By private boat or ship from Listvianka.
If you a fun of hiking, the Big Baikal Trail is the second possible way to get to Bolshie Koty. The picturesque route is 24,7kmandusuallytakes 5-8 hours. Difficultyis medium. Tourists usually start from Listvianka in the morning and return by a scheduled hydrofoil in the evening. Or do the route vice versa.
In the winter tourists can get to the village by car or by air boat.
Possible activities in Bolshie Koty:
-Walk along the Baikal shore, enjoy the views and panoramas, have a picnic on the shore (please, collect any picnic garbage with you).
-Climb up Skriper Rock. The route: the village pier – a path along the lake shore – Sennaya Valley – a former gold field – Skriper Rock – a cave in the rock. This takes 4-5 hours. When climbing up the rock, one can admire the scenery for hours. Skriper Rock got the natural monument status in 1985. The cave in the rock is located 200 m above the lake surface. Some tools and weapons of ancient people
- Walk to Chernaya (Black) valleytoan abandoned gold mine. The route: the village pier – a picturesque path along the Lake Baikal shore – Chernaya Valley – the tourist camp “Miners’ shelter” - the abandoned gold mine. Theroutetakes 2-3 hours.
- Visit the Baikal museum. The small museum is situated 100 m from the pier. A scientific biology station works in the village.