Nikita's Guesthouse on Olkhon Island – Irkutsk, Russia - Atlas Obscura

Nikita's Guesthouse on Olkhon Island

Intricate wood carvings on an island in Siberia. 


It is hard to imagine a more remote location for such a charming guesthouse. Getting to Nikita’s, one must first travel to Irkutsk in Siberia, then travel on a dirt road for several hours, catch a ferry or hovercraft to Olkhon island, and finally drive another hour to the imaginatively named Main Town, which is not really main and not really even a town.

However, the wooden carvings both in and around the handmade cabins at this guesthouse are simply amazing and definitely worth the struggle. The detail in craftsmanship is clearly a labor of love, and the price to stay there is very reasonable. Given the frozen, sub-zero climate for most of the winter, the owner, Nikita has plenty of time to work on his wooden creations. Aside from his woodwork, make sure you enjoy the banya, a Russian steam bath while staying at the guesthouse as well.

Outside of the guesthouse, Olkhon Island is in itself an oddity. Cows roam the single ‘main road’ which is just dirt, and the lone general store which uses its fridge to house Christmas lights, presumably because it is so cold no one has ever wanted a cold drink.

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December 20, 2011

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