If I ever got tired of hustle and bustle of a big city and everyday routine, I would surely escape to a place with untouched genuine beauty of nature, vast landscapes, smoking volcanoes, green succulent forests, pure mountain lakes and ridges covered with snow. One of such hidden virgin treasure troves is Siberia, a land that was explored and conquered by the Kazak warrior Ermak and which still manages to preserve its genuine purity of nature and diversity of cultural heritage of numerous ethnic groups. This is a real off the beaten track destination for those who want to experience harmony with nature. And new hotels and transport links will make your visit most comfortable to one of the world's last great wildernesses. The area of Siberia is about 4 million square miles, it is nearly as big as Canada. It stretches from the Ural Mountains to the Lena River. It is unbearably cold in winter and boiling in summer, so the best time to visit Siberia is in March when the temperature varies from -5 to -25 C. The real gem and Blue Eye of Siberia is Lake Baikal which is one of the most famous Russian destinations. It is the deepest lake in the world which contains 1/5 of all the world's fresh water. It was slashed out of rock millions of years ago by a shift of the Earth's crust. The lake is nearly as clear as the Sargasso Sea, and in spite of some recent environmental concerns, its water is pure enough to drink. The lake's size is unbelievably impressive: its length is 636 kilometers and the coastline stretches on 2000 kilometers. The waters of Baikal have experienced a long isolation from the rest of the world, due to this it has become a habitat to over 2500 species of plants and animals, most of which can be found nowhere else in the world. Another Siberian gem is the Sayan Mountain Ring. The area not only boats a vast variety of ethnic cultures, but also encompasses fabulous genuine beauty of nature: pure lakes and roaring mountain rivers, abundant forests and endless steppes. All this creates a unique atmosphere and a sense that time has gone backwards when getting to know people who have preserved for centuries the legends, beliefs and lifestyles of their ancestors. The famous nature wonder - the Sleeping Sayan is also an amusing sight. It is a unique mountain ridge which looks like a man lying on his back with his hands on his chest. According to the legend he had been guarding the reaches of the Siberian land and after his death the gods turned him into the stone so that he could continue his deed. Among the city highlights are Tyumen, which was the first Russian fort in Siberia; Tobolsk - once the capital of Siberia and that is still one of its most impressive cities; Novosibirsk with all the variety of activities it has to offer and many others. And apart from all that, the chance to get to know the rich Siberian history better and its role in the life and history of the Russian state like Ermak's conquest, the Decembrists (the noble rebels who were sent to Siberia after a failed attempt to cast down the Tsarist regime in 1825 and their loyal wives who followed their husbands to Siberia and endured the hard lot and severe conditions), the building of Trans-Siberian Railway, are worth the adventure.