Lake Baikal - is a lake in Eastern Siberia, the maximum depth is more than 1600 metres, the length of Lake Baikal is 636 km, the width is from 25 to 80 km. There is the Olkhon island near the northwest shore of lake Baikal. Olkhon is the heart of ancient stories and historical legendaries.
Irkutsk is the centre of Irkutsk Region and the Irkutsky District of Irkutsk Region. Foundation of Irkutsk: in 1661, city status in 1686. 4 urban districts.
Geographic Coordinates of Irkutsk: 52°18′N 104°17′E; located on the Irkutsk-Cheremkhovo Plain, near the inflow of the Irkut River into the Angara River. Zone Standard Time: MSD (Moscow Daylight Time) +5 hours
Total area of Irkutsk: 301 km2. Population of Irkutsk: 250 000 (1939); 366 000 (1959); 626 100 (1989); 592 400 (1999); 578 100 (2006). Renamings: no.
Average temperatures: January -21, April +1, July +17, October 0.
Culture and Museums of Irkutsk:
Theatres: Irkutsk Academic Drama Theatre, Irkutsk Region Music Theatre, Irkutsk Region Theatre for Young People, Irkutsk Region Puppet Theatre "Aistenok", Irkutsk People's Drama Theatre, Theatre-Studio "Theatre Piligrimov". The Irkutsk Philharmonic Hall and Organ Hall. Circus. Museums: the Irkutsk Local History Museum, The V.P. Sukachev Art Museum stored with Repin, Aivazovsky, Surikov and other famous Russian artists. Memorial compex "Decembrists in Irkutsk". Museum-monument of ice-breaker "Angara". Museum of the city history.
History of Irkutsk:
Irkutsk takes up the territory more 300 sq. km. It was laid by the gropu of Russian explorers headed by boyar son Yakov Pokhabov and first it was small wooden fortress. The ostrog sprang up at high non-callow bank and occupied the cape formed by the bend of Angara r. and the mouth of Ushakovka r. named Ida in that time.
In 1578-1582 a small group of Cossaks under the leadership of Ermak crossed The Ural stone belt. This exploration of Siberia marked the beginning of the expansion of Russians into Siberia lasted for XVI - XVII centuries. When the Cossaks moved to new lands, they built winter quarters on their way which formed the basis of ostrogs (fortresses) (Yeniseisky Ostrog- 1619, Krasnoyarsky Ostrog- 1628 , Bratsky Ostrog- 1631, Ilimsky Ostrog - 1630).
The boyar son Ivan Pokhabov built a zimovie (winter quarters) on the Dyachiy Island at the mouth of the Irkut River, which flows into the Angara River and sent an application to Yenisei vaivode (military governor) about ostrog (fortress) foundation in 1652.
In 1661 buildings from the Dyachiy Island were moved to another side of the Angara River. The fortress was named the Irkutsky Ostrog standed for 10 years. In 1671 the new ostrog-town with four towers was built according to the best rules of fortification in those days.
Irkutsk rather quickly became a big military and trade centre of Eastern Siberia outcompeting older fortresses (the Bratsky, Verkholensky, Ilimsky and other ostrogs). This was caused by the convenient location of Irkutsk at the intersection of Russian and Asian trade routes.
Irkutsk gained official city rights, a coat of arms and a city seal from the government in 1686. The coat of arms of Irkutsk features a the animal was described as a tiger ("babr") with a sable in his mouth.
Irkutsk had been a big administrative centre of the Great Empire spread from Yenisei to Alaska since 1764. The town was growing fast. Population of the town was 1000 inhabitants in 1700, and already 6 500 inhabitants in 1735.
Favourable geographic position of Irkutsk contrubuted to its formation. From joining to Russia in the XVII-XVIII c.c. huge territory up to Pacific Ocean Irkutsk found itself in the centre of numerous trade ways of the all Eastern Siberia. From 1803 to 1822 Irkutsk was the centre of the largest territory of Russia by are for all its history (of cource, excluding its capitals - Moscow and Saint-Petersburg) - Irkutsk general province, in which besides Eastern Siberia, Far East, Chukotka and Alaska were in.
Decembrists exercised great influence on cultural development of the city. All goups of exiles leaving through Baikal stopped in Irkutsk. Here for some monthes remarkable Russian women waited for permission for trip to theirs husbands (Decembrists). Decembrists completed hard labour were settles in villages around Irkutsk. later Trubetskoy and Volkonskiy families lived in the city. In the second half of the XVIII c. the city had significant scientific potential. Here E. G. Laksman, the disciple of M. V. Lomonosov, worked. Siberian branch of Russian geographic society opened in Irkutsk in 1851 had great significant in science development. In the 80-th years participants of revolutionary events in Poland, later prominent scientists of Russia V. I. Dybovsky, A. L. Chekanovsky, I. D. Chersky were its members. They studied Baikal and Lena. Here distinguished scinetist, researcher of Siberia V. A. Obrichev worked. In Irkutsk first in eastern Siberia a large telescope appeared ordered in 1909 from Germany for money gathered by subscription.
Nowadays many tourists from all over the world visit Irkutsk to see its architecture and have a rest on the shore of Lake Baikal. There are a lot of Irkutsk Hotels and Irkutsk Travel Agencies which accommodate tourists and organize a good rest and interesting tours on lake Baikal and Siberia.
Architecture and Tourist Attractions of Irkutsk:
One of the most ancient monuments of Irkutsk is a church in the name of Our Savior Holy Image, which is the exhibition department of the Museum of Regional Studies now. The exhibition devoted to the Irkutsk diocese is opened here. The Church of the Savior was laid in 1706, and a stone bell tower was built in 1710. A belfry was attached in the middle of XVIII century. The common dome of the church reminds a silhouette of the famous Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin on the Nerl. Paintings on the exterior walls tell us about baptism of local Buryat people, their peaceful accession to multinational Russia.
The Epiphany Cathedral is a monument of architecture of the XVIII century, which was built in Siberia Baroque style and has been the focus of public life for many decades. In 1718, it was built stone building, the construction of which was conducted in several stages until 1746. A belfry was built in 1797.
The Roman Catholic Church of the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God was built in Neo-Gothic style by the project of Irkutsk civil architect I.F. Tamulevich in 1885-1886. It was built by Polish exiles who were deported to Irkutsk after rebellion of 1831-1863 in Poland. The Roman Catholic Church was not only a place of religious worship, but also a united centre of cultural and political forces of the city progressive community. A church residential home was opened with the money support of M.K. Yushnevskaya. Decembrist P.F. Duntsov-Vygodovsky lived out his remaining days in a wing of the residential home with street children.
Memorial complex "Irkutsk during World War of 1941-1945" was built with the help of traditional construction method. It was elevated on the Day of Victory in 1975. In spring the fire was brought from Moscow from the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In the Eternal Flame of Fame the post number 1 is established. On the walls and Stele of the regional administrative building the names of the Irkutsk-heroes, who died during the war, are carved. There is an alley of Veterans from the memorial towards the Angara River. It was opened on the 50 anniversary of the end of World War II (1995).
The central square of Irkutsk represented a semi built-up waterlogged wasteland on which broken-backed buildings and small shops were located. The central square was firstly called Kremlyevskaya because it was located near fortress (“kremlin” is a Russian word for ancient town and first fortress), then Spasskaya, Bogorodskaya and Tikhvinskaya in the name of churches located on this square. A stone two-storeyed shopping arcade by architect Jacomo Quarenchi was built on the square in 1777. The square got known as the Gostinodvorskaya Sqaure. The shopping arcade was destroyed by fire in 1879. The square was named after M.M. Speransky, then Platz-Paradnaya and III International after the revolution. The square has the present name of S.M. Kirov since1935. Trapeznikovskoe Industrial and Technical School was formerly placed in the building of the modern Biology & Soil Science Faculty of Irkutsk State University. The building was constructed by the Irkutsk architect V.A. Kudelsky at the end of the XIX century.
The building of the Administration of Irkutsk Region is placed on the site of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan built in 1894 and destroyed in 1929-1931. The construction of the new building was started by architect Vinogradov in the thirties and ended by architect Guryev in the fifties. The city was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1967. In honour of that event the obelisk depicting the Order of Lenin and the text of the Decree of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR was erected.
The building of the municipal administration was constructed at the end of the 19th century, there was the City Duma in it. Third and forth storeys were added in the thirties of the 20th century.
The building of JSC “Vostsibugol” was constructed in the middle of the 20th century on the site of the Tikhvinskaya Square. This corporation consolidates all enterprises and mines getting coal on the territory of Irkutsk and Chita Regions.
The IId Haminovskaya upper secondary school was built by architect A.E. Razgildeev in 1876-1878. This building was the Institute of the Red commanders in the twenties where a famous Mongolian revolutionary Sukhe-Bator studied. This building is one of wings of Irkutsk Pedagogical University.
The Palace of Youth, the whimsical brick house of the millionaire merchant A.F. Vtorov was designed in Neorussian style. The Moscow millionaire brothers Vtorov had trading companies in many cities of Russia. There was Vtorov’s passage in Irkutsk. The former Vtorov’s private residence became the Revolutionary Museum after the revolution and, then, the Palace of Pioneers in 1937.
The Regional Court is the former private residence of merchant Trapeznikov. The building was rent by judicial authorities.
The Square of Labor was called Torgovaya, Ivanovskaya, Melochny bazaar before the 20th century dawned. The infamous Fire of 1879 was started from this square. 75 blocks of the city (105 stone houses and more 3000 wooden houses) had been destroyed for 3 days.
JSC “Elektrosvyaz’” is located in the private residence of gold industry entrepreneur Nemchinov. The buildinf was overbuilt in Soviet times. Telegraphic communication with Siberia was firstly set up in 1858. The first telegraphic station was located at the residence of merchant Khakhilev and the first telegraphic line was laid by engineer, lieutenant Briun-de-Sent-Gippolit. Irkutsk Governor-General M.S. Karsakov sent the first season's greeting on the 1st January of 1864. The reply from the czar who expressed gratitude for the kind wishes has arrived after 17 hours.
Khalturina Street, the former Medvednikovskaya Street, paralleled to Zhelyabova Street There is a house of the end of 19th century belonged to the Head of the Jewish Community, merchant I.M. Fainberg.There is the I.I.Molchanov-Sibirsky Regional Public Library now.
The Street of December Events was formerly called Laninskaya. An uprising against Kolchak and Semenov’s forces moving from Transbaikalia to Irkutsk burst out in December of 1919.
Most furious, bloody clashes between the "Whites" and the "Reds" took place in the area of the Ushakovka River near the IId Haminovskaya upper secondary school, so the street was renamed after these events in the Street of December Events. The street begins on the shore of the Angara River where a ferry crossing had been for a long time and where the Moscow Gates were fixed at the beginning of the XIX century. .
The Znamensky Convent was founded in Irkutsk in 1693. At first, all its buildings were wooden, then, stone houses had been built from the middle of the XVIII century. The Znamenskaya Church as a part of the Convent had been built from 1757 to 1760. The church was constructed in the Siberian Baroque style. There were 4 side-alters: Znamensky, Kazansky, St. Nicholas and Preobrazhensky. The Znamensky Convent had its own lands, mowings, fishing sites, gardens, green houses, brew-houses, mills, livestock and a candle plant. The Convent was famous for needlewomen. Their art quilting, gold- stitching, jewel-stitching, satin-stitching and stitch-stitching were worth its weight in gold.
Behind the Znamensk church's fence there is the Grave of G. Shelikhov, a merchant, traveler, seafarer, explorer of Alaska and, who reached Alaska and California, one of the founders of the Russian-American Company called “Russian Kolumus” who died in 1795. The monument was erected in 1800. The headstone was made by Russian craftmen in Yekaterinburg. The bas-relief of G.I. Shelekhov is depicted on the eastern side and the inscription of G. Derzhavin on the northern side.
The history of Karl Marks Street goes back as far as to 1726 when famous Russian diplomat Savva Ragusinsky after his visit to Irkutsk ordered to enclose the city by a ditch. Later the ditch was leveled and a wide straight appeared. It received the name of Bolshaya which means big as it runs for 2 km (1.3 miles) from the bank of Angara to the bank of the Ushakovka river. In the XVIII-XIX-th centuries Irkutsk was mostly wooden, and almost all the buildings burnt to ashes in disastrous fire of 1879. In the end of the XIX-th century large stone mansions of rich merchants, fashionable shops, restaurants, museums, theatres, banks were built here on Karl Marks Street and almost all of them survived to this day. Nowadays Karl Marks Street is the main central street of Irkutsk.
The House of Officers is the former private residenceof K.Y.Kolygina built by architect V.A.Kudelsky in 1878. Before the revolution the building was rent by the association of managers. There were a library and a theatre. The building was handed over to the House of the Red Army in 1930.
Irkutsk cinema center "Pioneer" n.a. R.Bykov was a one-storeyed building before the Revoluion (the former Mutual Fire Insurance Company was located in this building). Then, there was Irkutsk community of political exiles.
Irkutsk Branch of Sberbank of the Russian Federation is the former private residence of N.S. Kotelnikov built by architect A.E. Razgildeev in 1856-1859.
Uritskogo Street, the former Pesterevskaya Street, is traditionally trading street of Irkutsk.
The building where “Rodnik” shop is situated in was built by architect A.I. Kuznetsov in Neo Renaissance style in 1908. There were shops, Grand-hotel, Gortseit school in those times. Nowadays a book shop and various organizations are situated in this building.
Irkutsk College of Music and Irkutsk College of Art are located in the house built by Irkutsk architect V.Kolyanovsky on the project of Peterburg architect Yohansen in Modern style in 1909-1911. the building belonged to “Triangle” Rubber Manufacture.
The eclectic building of the beginning of the 20th century was the house of Siberian educator and publisher P.I.Makushin. One part of the residence was a printing office, another part was a book shop. V.M. Posokhin, the co-owner of Makushin, was the chairman of the Assosiation of emigree aid. There was the publishing office of “Labour Power” newspaper in the 1920s. Nowadays there are the “Flowers”shop, the Museum of Nature and the administration of Irkutsk Regional Museum of Local Lore.
The building of Municipal Polyclinic No.2 was a branch of Russian-Asian Bank built by architect V.Kolyanovsky in Modern style at the beginning of the 20th century.
Okhlopkov Drama Theatre. In place of the existing theater wooden buildings were erected twice, but they are burned. At the end of XIX century, the contest was declared, among five projects the draft of V.A. Shreteva, the chief architect of the St. Petersburg directorate theaters rated the first place among five projects. The theater was opened on August 30, 1897. There was no theater own troupe, that is why capital actors came to the concert tour. For example, in 1903 Komissarzhevskaya acted on stage. In 1920 a talented actor and director Okhlopkov, whose name the theater has, worked in Irkutsk.
The building of famous historic and architectural monument of Irkutsk, the White House, was erected in the first quarter of the XIX century for the Sibiryakovs, the family of Irkutsk merchants, according to the project of the famous architect Giacomo Quarenghi. Later the building was sold to the local authorities and the White House served as the residence of Irkutsk governor-generals from 1837 to 1917. In 1918 the first institution of higher education, the Irkutsk State University, was opened in the White House. At present a research library of the Irkutsk State University that numbers about 2.5 million books including very rare editions and manuscripts of the XV-XVIII centuries is located in this building.
The building of VSRGO with elements of Moresque and Old Russian styles where the Office of History of Irkutsk Regional Museum of Local Lore is located and a library were constructed by Irkutsk architect G.Rosen in 1881-1891. The Museum was founded by academician Erik Laksman in 1782. The Museum was located in the one-storeyed building on the Tikhvinskaya Square in the 1830s. When the Siberian Branch of Imperial Russian Geographic Society (SOIRGO) was founded in 1851, the Museum passed under the control of this society. Collections of the Museum suffered heavily in the Fire of 1879. After the Fire money for the new building of the Museum were raised by subscription. 19 names of famous scientists-researchers of Siberia and Asia are carved on the fronton of the building.
The monument to Alexander III was put up in honour of termination of the Trans-Siberian Railway building. This monument was first unveiled in Irkutsk on the 30th of August 1908. The sides of the monument were decorated with bronze sculptural portraits of historic figures that had left their mark in the history of Siberia such as conqueror of the region Ermak and governor-generals of Eastern Siberia Mikhail Speransky and Nikolay Muravyov-Amursky, as well as with the tsar’s edict of the Trans-Siberian Railway building, the arms of Siberia and of Irkutsk. In 1920, the statue was removed from the pedestal. In 1964 a cement obelisk Monument to earliest explorers of Siberia” with a metal framework after the design worked out by architect V.P.Shmatkov was installed on the pedestal of the old monument. The monument to Alexander III was re-established in 2003 in for centenary of the Trans-Siberian Railway on the initiative of the East Siberian Railway.
The Great Siberian Way was laid in 1891 from two sides: from Chelyabinsk and from Vladivostok. T first train arrived to Irkutsk at the end of August of 1898. The construction of the Railway from Irkutsk to Baikal was finished in 1900. The Circum-Baikal Railway from the Baikal Station to the Mysovaya Station had been constructed from 1901 to 1905. The monument was erected in honour of the 10th Anniversary of the first train arrival.
The Angara Bridge was built on the site of a pontoon ferry in 1931 by means of Irkutsk people. The project was designed by engineer I.A. Frantsuz. The bridge was opened on the 7th of November of 1936 and represented as a solid concrete bridge of 1245 metres length.
Gagarin Boulevard was called Naberezhnaya Street before the revolution, then Vuzovskaya Street. The first body of the university was built by Irkutsk architect A.E. Razgildyaev in 1850s.
The Maiden Institute of Eastern Siberia n.a. imperator Nicholas the First founded in 1845 was located there. It was the first woman’s secondary educational institution in Eastern Siberia.
The ornate Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross was built in Siberian Baroque style in 1758.
Lenin Street was appeared in the XVIII century. Old name of the street was Zamorskaya Street, it was renamed Amurskaya in thre middle of the XIXth century. Among buildings of the XIX century the former Voskresenskoe man’s one-class parish school where adults and children taught was only preserved.
The former building of the Public Meeting was constructed by architect V.A.Rassushin in 1890-1891.
Irkutsk Region Theatre for Young People n.a. A. Vampilov was founded in 1937, previously it was the Theatre of Young Workers founded in 1929.
The building the Departmental Eye Disease Clinic of Irkutsk State Medical University was constructed by architect G.Rosen in 1873. There was an orphanage supported by gold industry entrepreneur I.I. Bazanov.
Irkutsk is included into the list of historical places whose layouts and buildings must be preserved in 1970 and became the first city of Russia included on UNESCO World Heritage List in spring of 2000 because of Irkutsk unique wooden architecture.
Map of Irkutsk and Neighborhood, scale 1:200000 (2 km to 1 cm). Link
Map of Irkutsk Region For more details in English, please, add comments and we'll try to answer as soon as possible.