Ice Festival on Khövsgöl Lake, Mongolia
Mongolian Blue Pearl
Lake Khövsgöl, or Little Baikal, celebrates the ephemeral beauty of the ice every year in March during a festival. Created thirteen years ago, this event aims to encourage winter tourism. But visitors are not yet in a hurry, unlike the Mongols. They are joyful by nature, amazed like grown-up children who find an amusement park that they know well. Together, on this big blue mirror, they devote themselves to ancestral disciplines: archery, Mongolian wrestling, ice skating, shuffleboard, etc.
Separated by a human, political and cultural border, these two lakes have a lot in common: ice, mountains, taiga and a very varied fauna. Their only difference? The surface area. Nine times bigger than Khövsgöl, Baikal is also the largest continental freshwater natural reserve in the world (excluding polar glaciers). It is 636 kilometres long and is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. What makes them so close is also the purity of the water, which gives them the particularity of being covered, in winter, by a mirror of ice and then transformed into dry land for the inhabitants of both shores.
Mongolia, March 2015