October 22, 2021

Valhalla on Lake Baikal


Valhalla on Lake Baikal
While the Vikings did interact with Kievan Rus, their ships were too large to navigate the rivers into Siberia, and so this really is the first time a "Viking" has ever set sail on Lake Baikal.  Photo via Pxfuel

For the past three and a half years, Irkutsk resident Vladimir Tomilov has been working on the construction and development of his own Viking longship, which he intends to sail across Lake Baikal next year. Ever since he was young, Tomilov has had a passion for Norse mythology. 

Tomilov did the main woodwork for the ship primarily by himself, with no help other than from the benevolent Norse gods and his long-suffering wife, who dealt with wood shavings in the house for many years to support her husband's dream. For the finishing touches, such as the metalwork and the bright red sail, Tomilov was able to hire extra help eager to be a part of an authentic Viking experience. 

At this point, the ship is being tested for a new rudder, as the previous one was broken on some rocks. When running with a full crew, the ship requires twelve rowers to pull twelve heavy iron oars.

The ship is still looking for more crew members to join them on their expedition across Baikal, so if you are looking for Valhalla and are ready for a challenge, this could be the gig for you. For now, you can also just take the easier route and watch videos of Lake Baikal too.

You Might Also Like

The Road to Irkutsk
  • January 01, 2001

The Road to Irkutsk

In the last article in our six-part series, "East Across Siberia," William Brumfield takes us from the formerly closed city of Krasnoyarsk to Irkutsk and the shores of Lake Baikal.
Trekking Baikal
  • January 01, 2011

Trekking Baikal

Winter offers unique travel opportunities to Russia, particularly when it comes to Siberia. For instance, how about a trek across the world’s largest freshwater lake? Or ice skating atop crystal clear waters, then enjoying a searing banya...?
Baikal by Birds Eye
  • May 18, 2021

Baikal by Birds Eye

While manufacturers generally don't recommend you fly your drone at temperatures below freezing, that didn't stop videographer Vadim Sherbakov from shooting this amazing film depicting a frozen Lake Baikal. 
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

Test your knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history and society with these 22 challenging puzzles taken from the pages of Russian Life magazine. Most all the clues are in English, but you must fill in the answers in Russian. If you get stumped, of course all the puzzles have answers printed at the back of the book.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
Survival Russian

Survival Russian

Survival Russian is an intensely practical guide to conversational, colloquial and culture-rich Russian. It uses humor, current events and thematically-driven essays to deepen readers’ understanding of Russian language and culture. This enlarged Second Edition of Survival Russian includes over 90 essays and illuminates over 2000 invaluable Russian phrases and words.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
The Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts


Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

802-223-4955