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Vladivostok & Primorye- City sightseeing- Adventure- Ecotours- Optional toursTranssiberian toursKhabarovskIrkutskKamchatkaSakhalinYakutiya
 

Irkutsk


Irkutsk lies at the Angara River. The Irkut River, from which the town takes its name, is a small river which joins the Angara directly opposite the town. The main portion of the city is separated from several important landmarks—the monastery, the fort, and the port, as well as its suburbs by the Ida, or Ushakovka River.
     As a Siberian city, Irkutsk has a subarctic climate, characterized by high variation of temperatures between seasons. Temperatures can be very warm in the summer, and brutally cold in the winter. Irkutsk is situated in a landscape of picturesque hills within the rich taiga, typical of eastern Siberia, and in contrast to the flat, open steppe of western Siberia.
     Irkutsk grew out of the winter quarters established in 1652 by Yakov Pokhabov for gold-trading and for the collection of the fur tax from the Buryats. The town gained official city rights from the government in 1686. The first road connection between Moscow and Irkutsk, the Siberian Road was built in 1760. The city benefited economically from this railway road a lot. In that time, many new products, often imported from China, became widely available in Irkutsk (including gold, diamonds, furs, wood, silk, and tea).
        During the past centuries Siberia, with its severe climate,  had a reputation as the place for exile. In the early 19th century, many Russian artists, officers, and nobles were sent into exile to Siberia for taking part in the Decembrist actions against Tsar Nicholas I. Irkutsk became the major center of intellectual and social life for these exiles, and much of the city's cultural heritage comes from them, many of their wooden houses remained today in contrast with the modern apartment blocks that surround them. These people have greatly influenced on the culture and the development of the city, that became a cultural and educational center of Eastern Siberia.
     Nowadays Irkutsk is an attractive city for not only foreigners but also for Russian as well for magnificent scenes of its beautiful Baikal lake which has as much water as all of North America's Great Lakes combined — 23,600 km³, about one fifth of the total fresh water on the earth. 636 kilometres long and 80 km wide Lake Baikal has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in Asia (31,494 km²) and is the deepest lake in the world (1637 metres, previously measured at 1620 metres). Irkutsk is connected to other regions in Russia and Mongolia by important roads and railways like the Trans-Siberian Railway and we are sure that the memories of several days spent in city of romantic atmosphere will stay with you for long.

Some information about main sightseeing spots in Irkutsk

- Irkutsk Znamensky Convent, founded in 1683. There are graves of the Decembrists behind the Znamensk church’s fence -: P. Mukhanov, N. Panov, V. Bechasnov.

- Yuri Gagarin Boulevard. Monument to the Russian Tsar Alexander III erected in 1908 to commemorate the completion of the Great Siberian Way (Trans-Siberian Railway). Also the Boulevard is charming with its Wooden Houses with carvings.

- Irkutsk Museum of Regional Studies. Appeared in 1782, it was the second museum in Russia after the Museum, founded by Peter the Great in St. Petersburg. Housed in a building in the Mauritanian style with turrets, round windows with Oriental ornament, it is crowned with the dome of Siberia’s first observatory. It has over 350,000 exhibits, 250,000 of them – rarities, including handicrafts and unique exhibits of priceless value from China, Tibet and Mongolia.

- Sukachev’s Fine Arts Museum- founded in the 1870s as the Sukachev Picture Gallery. Before the revolution, Irkutsk was the only city in czarist Russia having such a large collection except for St. Petersburg with its Emperor’s Hermitage and Moscow with its Tretyakov Art Gallery. Here are over 14,000 exhibits: pictures, sculptures, ceramics; old church wooden sculptures; icons of Novgorod, Siberian, and other schools (16th-17th centuries); canvases by the best Russian painters from the 18th-20th centuries: I. Repin, V. Polenov, K. Korovin, B. Kustodiev, P. Konchalovsky, F. Malyavin, K. Petrov-Vodkin, A. Plastov; western European masters from the 16th-19th centuries; collection of paintings from China, India, and Japan; applied Art and works by modern artists and sculptors.

- Decembrists’ Memorial Complex. Irkutsk is known as the Decembrists center of Russia. These museums were opened (in 1970 and 1985, respectively) in houses where the families of Sergei Trubetskoy and Sergey Volkonsky lived. There are genuine things that belonged to the Decembrists and replicas of those things that were lost, such as pieces of furniture, tableware, stoves, musical instruments, ancient chandeliers, embroidery, books, sheet music, pictures and photographs.

- Ust Orda settlement - the administrative and cultural center of Ust Orda Buryat National Region, situated 70 km from Irkutsk. Ust Orda is a land of immense variety and diversity where Shamanism is still practiced. In Ust Orda after dressing in Buryat national clothes the tourists are invited to participate in one of the oldest ritual procedure where the major Shaman accomplishes the ritual of cleaning the guests from possible evil spirits and gives them further protection. Beautiful singing and dancing, oriental dishes typical for this region follow all this.

- Excursions to Lake Baikal. Irkutsk and Lake Baikal are inseparable and cannot exist without each other: through the Angara river, Baikal feeds and cherishes Irkutsk with its freshness and health.The area surrounding Lake Baikal (Prebaikalie) is full of an abundant and diverse wildlife. The brown bear, raspberries and mushrooms fancier, is scrounging the taiga forest. 76 species of plants that inhabit Prebaikalie, are qualified as rare and protected ones. Among them there are the endemics and relics of Prebaikalie, the area surrounding Baikal: Boletus luteus, saw-wort, Hedysarum austrosibiricum, Feldtsch prebaicalensus, and others.



Irkutsk-Circum Baikal Railways -Listvyanka village
4 days. Sample of the tour.
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Irkutsk- Vladivostok.
Sample of the tour. 5 days
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Trip to Baikal
Irkutsk, Baikal lake. 2 days. Sample of the tour.
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