Lake Baikal is the World’s biggest, deepest and oldest lake, containing more water than all of the Great Lakes combined. Located in Siberia, Lake Baikal possesses 20% of the fresh water supply on the planet. With depths that reach 5,390 feet, and an additional 4.3 miles of sediment on the lake floor, Lake Baikal is the deepest continental rift. You could completely submerge Mount Everest in Lake Baikal and have more room! In addition, there are 27 islands and over 800 endemic species to the area, making it one of the most bio-diverse ecosystems on Earth.
The lake, called "the Pearl of Siberia", drew investors from the tourist industry as energy revenues sparked an economic boom. In 2007, the Russian government declared the Baikal region a special economic zone. In 1996, it was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
According to 19th century traveler T.W. Atkinson, locals in the Lake Baikal Region had the tradition that Christ visited the area. The following quote is found on page 385 of Atkinson's book of his travels published in 1861:
The people have a tradition in connection with this region which they implicitly believe. They say "that Christ visited this part of Asia and ascended this summit, whence he looked down on all the region around. After blessing the country to the northward, he turned towards the south, and looking across the Baikal, he waved his hand, exclaiming, Beyond this there is nothing." Thus they account for the sterility of Daouria, where it is said "no corn will grow."