Irkutsk, Russia

By | June 22, 2022

According to, Irkutsk is located in Eastern Siberia on the banks of the Angara River, 66 km from Lake Baikal.

In 1661, at the place where the Irkut River flows into the Angara, a Cossack prison was founded. Ostrog was named after the river – Irkutsk. In 1686, the prison received the status of a city, after which it was given a coat of arms and a seal. Irkutskstood on the trade route, along which goods were transported from China and Mongolia to Europe. Trade has become the main source of income for the local population. More and more new residents came to the city, in connection with this, a settlement arose here, and the old fortress was expanded. In 1731 Irkutsk becomes the official center of the vast Irkutsk province, since 1764 – the capital of the Siberian province (Siberian kingdom), and since 1822 – the capital of the East Siberian Governor General. From the beginning of the 18th century, the city became the center of Russian gold mining. A huge amount of capital accumulated in Irkutsk, which was partially spent on its development. Numerous stone buildings appeared in the city, among which the mansions of the city nobility stood out. In the 19th century, plants and factories began to appear here, the raw materials for which came from different regions of Russia by rail. At the same time, the city became a well-known place of exile for political prisoners; the Decembrists Volkonsky and Trubetskoy were exiled here. During the civil war in Irkutsk the residence of Admiral A.V. Kolchak, and here he was shot in February 1920. After the revolution , Irkutsk became the center of the East Siberian Territory, since 1937 – the administrative center of the Irkutsk region. In 1956, the Irkutsk hydroelectric power station was built on the Angara just north of Irkutsk.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Irkutsk was considered the most beautiful city in Siberia, and even today you can see many architectural sights here. The three-story house of the merchant Sibiryakov has been preserved in the city centerearly 19th century, which was built in the style of classicism. This majestic stone building is called the “White House”. On the third floor there is a house church in the name of Nicholas the Wonderworker, and on the first two floors there is a scientific library of the State University. Opposite Sibiryakov’s house on the embankment of the Angara River stands a monument to Emperor Alexander III, who laid the foundation for the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway. The pedestal of the monument is decorated with bronze figures of Ermak, Count Speransky and Count Muravyov-Amursky, as well as a double-headed eagle and the coat of arms of the Irkutsk province.

In the city center, the old residence of the governor-general of the late 18th century, Trapeznikov’s house, where the regional court is now located, Sizykh’s house, is also of interest. the end of the 18th century, the building of the theological seminary (1846) and the building of the city theater (1897). Here is the oldest wooden building in Irkutsk – the Shubins’ house (1781) – and wooden buildings of the 19th century – the house of Prince Trubetskoy and the house of Shastin with intricate carvings. Many religious buildings have been preservedĀ in Irkutsk. Temples of the 18th century were built in the Baroque style. The oldest and most majestic religious building is the Church of the Savior. It was erected in 1710. On the facades of the church you can see a fresco-icon of the Savior Not Made by Hands and a panel with three compositions from the history of Irkutsk. There is a museum in the Church of the Savior, the exposition of which is dedicated to the history of the Irkutsk diocese. The museum has a very interesting exhibition “The Bells of Russia”. Next to the Church of the Savior stands the Cathedral of the Epiphany. It was erected in 1746. The cathedral has two bell towers. Its building is decorated with colorful tiles, and inside there is a baroque iconostasis. The Holy Cross Church of 1760 is considered the best example of the Baroque style. Its architecture combines ancient Russian motifs and oriental ornaments.

Be sure to go to the Znamensky Convent. Its construction was completed in 1689. The Znamenskaya Church (1760), built in the style of the Irkutsk Baroque, abbot’s cells, old cells and the Holy Gates have survived to this day from the monastery complex. The monastery houses the relics of the first Irkutsk archbishop, Innokenty of Irkutsk. Grigory Shelikhov, who annexed the Aleutian Islands to Russia, the famous Decembrists and the wife of one of them, Ekaterina Trubetskaya, were also buried here. Now the monastery houses the residence of the Irkutsk archbishop. Not far from here stands a monument to Alexander Kolchak. Famous Russian admiral and leader of the White movement in Siberia was executed in Irkutsk in 1920. The monument is a six-meter bronze figure of Kolchak standing on a pedestal. The pedestal depicts soldiers of the Red and White armies lowering their rifles. Of the later religious buildings of Irkutsk, it is worth noting the Kharlampievskaya Church (1790) and the Church of the Transfiguration (1811).

Non-Orthodox religious buildings of the city are represented by a Polish church, made in pseudo-Gothic style (1885), a Tatar mosque (1902) and a synagogue (1879). The Polish church has now been converted into an organ hall. It should be noted that Irkutsk became the second city in Siberia, where the organ was installed. The city organ is considered one of the most beautiful organs in Russia.

Some buildings of Irkutsk played an important role in the development of the culture of the city, and the whole country as a whole. They were combined into one memorial zone. This includes the estates of the Decembrists S.P. Trubetskoy and S.G. Volkonsky, mansions of M.M. Speransky and E.A. Kuznetsov and the Church of the Transfiguration. In the mansions of the Decembrists today there is a museum. Its expositions tell about the life of the Decembrists in exile, here are household items and their personal belongings. In addition, the city has a local history museum.. It was opened in 1782. The museum funds include 350 thousand exhibits, 250 thousand of which are rarities. The exposition of the museum acquaints visitors with the life of the city from prehistoric times. Here are collected unique herbariums and stuffed animals and birds of Siberia, ancient manuscripts, reports of geographical and geological expeditions, a collection of clothes from all eras, embroideries, collections from China, Tibet and Mongolia, a collection of jade products, monuments of the Scythian-Siberian animal style, including Ivolginsky stone 7-5 centuries BC The Art Museum is very interesting, where you can see more than 16 thousand works of Russian, Western European, Siberian art and the art of the countries of the East.

In Irkutsk There are opportunities for skiing. There are several ski resorts here. Angara Park offers three runs with a total length of 1500 m with a height difference of up to 200 m. This is a rapidly developing ski resort, where it is planned to build lifts and an artificial snowmaking system. Ershi ski base has three pistes, each 400 m long. The elevation difference within the base is 60 m. There is a double tow rope lift and a ski lift for children, there are several restaurants and bars. 30 km from Irkutsk in the village of Shelekhov there is a ski resort Olkha. Its one and a half kilometer slope with a height difference of about 300 m is the most popular in the vicinity of Irkutsk. There are 2 ski lifts, equipment rental, changing rooms, a cafe, paid parking and an ice rink.

On the outskirts of Irkutsk there is a sanatorium “Angara”. It is located in the forest park area of the Kai grove, where ancient relict pine forests grow with rare species of trees and shrubs. The sanatorium was created on the basis of mineral water sources discovered here. These waters are sodium chloride with hydrogen sulfide content. The nearby freshwater lake Long is also a source of therapeutic sapropelic mud. The sanatorium offers a variety of procedures – coniferous, iodine-bromine, whirlpool and dry carbonic baths, hydromassage, healing showers, intestinal irrigation, inhalations, halotherapy (salt mine), mud applications and tampons. It treats diseases of the nervous system, respiratory organs, musculoskeletal system, female genital organs, hearing aid, connective tissue, subcutaneous tissue, eye and skin diseases.

The main cultural attraction of the outskirts of Irkutsk is the village of Taltsy, which is located 50 km southeast of Irkutsk. The village houses the Irkutsk architectural and ethnographic museum “Taltsy”. Here, in the open air, on an area of 67 hectares, 78 monuments of wooden architecture of the 17th-20th centuries are collected. The museum is based on wooden buildings of small towns and villages of the Irkutsk region, which fell into the flood zone during the construction of the cascade of hydroelectric power stations on the Angara. Among them, a special place is occupied by the Kazan Church of the 17th century and the ancient Spasskaya Tower of the Ilim prison. Taltsy also has a large ethnographic collection that tells about the life of different peoples – Russians, Buryats, Evenks and Tofalars. In addition, in the vicinity Irkutsk is interested in the village of Urik, where the grave of the Decembrist Nikita Muravyov is located, one of the places of exile of the Decembrists – the village of Ust-Kuda – and a recreational area on the shore of Lake Baikal – the village of Listvyanka .

Irkutsk, Russia