Irkutsk is one of the biggest megalopolises in the eastern Siberia. In 1661 pathfinder Iakov Pohabov founded a stockaded town on the river Irkut. This place was favorable not only for agriculture, but for economy as well because of its geographical location. The trade route from Russia to China passed through Irkutsk. The fur was taken to China in exchange for tea, sugar and textile.
The city developed at full pelt. At the middle of 19th century Irkutsk became the “capital of Lena’s gold”. Later, it was decided to pave Transsiberian railway through the city. In 1898 the first train arrived on the Transsiberian railway to Irkutsk.
Irkutsk got reach historical and natural heritage. Kaya’s grove (Kayskaya roscha) is “the green lungs” of the city. The grove is considered to be relic because of its centennial pine trees. Glazovsky necropolis was situated in the center of Irkutsk, it is the unique monument to ancient architecture. There were burial places and encampments of people 7 — 8 thousands years ago.
In 1826 the first exile Decembrists arrived to Irkutsk. Today you can visit the museum in estates of Decembrists Volkonsky and Trubetskoy.
is the one of the eldest streets in Irkutsk. Here you can find old stone buildings of 19th century, shops, banks, restaurants, monuments, furthermore here you can visit local history museum, art museum, dramatic theatre named after Ohlopkov.
Being in Irkutsk you must take a walk on the 130th district. In 2010 city administration decide to reconstruct historical area, where the first settlers built their houses. Now you can sightsee beautiful old-fashioned estates here.
Traveller would like walking on city quays of the Irkut and Angara river. Moreover, you can rent an excursion ship.
Only 47 kilometers from Irkutsk in the direction of Baikal Lake and you’ll find yourself in a unique place on the banks of the Angara River, which will plunge you into the old days, in the culture and mode of life of the peoples inhabiting this Baikal region. It is an ethnographic open-air museum «Taltsy» which graphically presents the history, architecture and ethnography of XVII-XX centuries.
The world-wide famous Baikal lake is located in 60 kilometers from Irkutsk. It is the deepest lake on the Earth; maximum depth is 1642 m. The Baikal with its nature is considered the most beautiful sightseeing in Russia. The part of Transsiberian railway (Circum-Baikal Railway) was paved along southern coast of the lake. Perhaps, it is the most picturesque railway road.
There is a legend linked to Irkutsk about gold of White Guard Supreme Commander Admiral Kolchak. After his arrest on the Trans-Siberian railway, near Irkutsk and subsequent execution by the Bolsheviks in 1920, the loss of a large amount of state gold was detected. Some people believe that it is hidden in the mines near the railroad, there is also a version that it rests on the bottom of Lake Baikal.