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Russian Federation
Irkutsk Oblast
Type of Location
About Location

Irkutsk is a city and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia; one of the largest cities in Siberia. Population: 587,200 (2010 Census preliminary results);593,604 (2002 Census);622,301 (1989 Census).In 1652, Ivan Pokhabov built a zimovye (winter quarters) near the site of Irkutsk for gold-trading and for the collection of the fur tax from the Buryats. In 1661, Yakov Pokhabov built an ostrog nearby.The ostrog gained official town rights from the government in 1686. The first road connection between Moscow and Irkutsk, the Siberian Road, was built in 1760. The town benefited economically from this new road. Many new products, often imported from China via Kyakhta, were widely available in Irkutsk for the first time, including gold, diamonds, furs, wood, silk and tea. In 1821, as part of the Speransky reforms, Siberia was administratively divided at the Yenisei River and Irkutsk became the seat of the Governor-General of East Siberia.In the early 19th century, many Russian artists, officers, and nobles were sent into exile to Siberia for their part in the Decembrist revolt against Tsar Nicholas I. Irkutsk became the major centre of intellectual and social life for these exiles, and much of the city's cultural heritage comes from them; many of their wooden houses, adorned with ornate, hand-carved decorations, survive today in stark contrast with the standard Soviet apartment blocks that surround them.

By the end of the 19th century there was one exiled man per two locals. Different people from the members of the Decemberists' uprising to Bolsheviks have been staying in Irkutsk for a long time. These people have greatly influenced the culture and the development of the city and it has finally became a prosperous cultural and educational centre for Eastern Siberia.The most famous large-scale industry in Irkutsk is Irkut (company).Irkut refers to the Irkutsk Aviation Industrial Association, it was set up in 1932 in the Transbaykal region of the Soviet Union. It is best known as being the manufacturer of the Su-30 family of interceptor/ground-attack aircraft. The Russian government is planning to merge Irkut with Ilyushin, Mikoyan, Sukhoi, Tupolev, and Yakovlev as a new company named United Aircraft Building Corporation.Important roads and railways like the Trans-Siberian Highway (Federal M53 and M55 Highways) and Trans-Siberian Railway connect Irkutsk to other regions in Russia and Mongolia. Also, the city is served by the Irkutsk International Airport and the smaller Irkutsk Northwest Airport.The Federal road and railway to Moscow and Vladivostok pass through the other side of the Angara River from downtown Irkutsk.

How to Reach

By Air

Irkutsk Airport (IATA: IKT, ICAO: UIII) is an airport in the centre of Irkutsk, Russia.As of November 2006, plans are afoot to relocate the airport to Klyuchëvka, some 24 km from the city of Angarsk. Construction is slated to begin in 2008.can be reached from either of the two major airports in Moscow, Domodedovo or Sheremetyevo 1.Rossiya Airlines also flies directly to Irkutsk from St. Petersburg and S7 Airlines uses Irkutsk as a regional hub, flying to several cities in Russia, as well as flights to China, South Korea, and elsewhere in Asia.

By Train

Most travelers arrive in Irkutsk by the Trans-Siberian Railway. It's about halfway between Moscow and Vladivostok in the east, which makes it a good place to break the trip, if only to stretch your legs and buy provisions. The Baikal-Amur Mainline also runs nearby.

By Road

Important roads and railways like the Trans-Siberian Highway (Federal M53 and M55 Highways) and Trans-Siberian Railway connect Irkutsk to other regions in Russia and Mongolia.The Federal road and railway to Moscow and Vladivostok pass through the other side of the Angara River from downtown Irkutsk.

Key places to visit
The City History Museum, The Sukachev Estate, Znamensky Monastery, Knyaze-Vladimirsky Monastery, Taltsy Museum


Places to Visit

The City History Museum

Is a museum has an interesting and thorough display of Irkutsk from its inception to the present day. It is currently located across the river (on the same side as the railway station) from the city center; take bus 8, 11, 23, or 25 from the Angara Hotel, although one will probably have to ask which stop to get off at. The museum is scheduled to move to a new building in the city center in Summer 2008. Closed Wednesdays and holidays.

The Sukachev Estate

The estate of a 19th-century mayor of Irkutsk showing life of the upper classes at the time, in a series of log houses that he lived in.Visit local Orthodox churches and Roman-Catholic church in city center.Tucked away in the residential area of Irkutsk is a small Nerpinary. The Nerpinary is home to two Baikal seals. For a small price you can go and see these seals perform a small presentation and paint a picture! which you can even purchase after.

Znamensky Monastery

Three-centuries old monastery where Alaska explorer Grigory Shelekhov is buried.Nearby it is a monument to Alexander Kolchak, White General.

Knyaze-Vladimirsky Monastery

Built in 1888 in honour of Prince Vladimir who baptisized Rus.Irkutsk is now constructing its business-center Irkutsk-City not far away from the historic center.A couple of high-tech builnings is there,but more is left to be built.

Taltsy Museum

The Taltsy Museum of Architecture and Ethnography (the Wooden Architecture Museum) is appraised by decree from the President of the Russian Federation as a highly valuable object of cultural heritage of the peoples of Russia.Founded in 1969, the Taltsy museum is conveniently situated on the road to Lake Baikal, 47 km of the Baikal highway. Its 67-hectare territory is surrounded with a protected area. There are over 40 monuments of architectural heritage and 8,000 exhibits of high historical value. Two architectural-ethnographical areas - Russian and Buryat - show a large variety of housing and life of the Siberians.The most valuable monuments in Taltsy are the Savior's gate tower of the ostrog (fort) of Ilimsk (1667) and an active Kazan Chapel (1679). Both of them, as well as the houses near the Angara floodlands, were transferred to this place from the flooded areas of the Ust-Ilimskaya. Take the opportunity to see and be acquainted with the life of old Siberia.Operating hours: daily, from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Right Time to Visit

January - April
July - October


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