Visit Irkutsk in Russia | Top Attractions & Best Things To Do

Irkutsk, Russia

Irkutsk, Russia

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About Irkutsk

About Irkutsk

The city of Irkutsk was originally founded in 1661 as a fort to colonize Siberia. It was the main Russian fort behind the Ural mountains, so all the expeditions to colonize Kamchatka and Alaska have begun there. For centuries Russian emperors and communists exiled political prisoners to Irkutsk. Thus many brainy Russians spent years in the city, influencing the average IQ level of inhabitants.

Reasons to travel to Irkutsk

Irkutsk is often called the "Paris of Siberia" as the culture and refinement at this one-time outpost not far from the frontiers of China and Mongolia came from the Decembrists, a group of Russian revolutionaries who tried to topple the Russian Empire in 1825. Many of the rebellion leaders were executed in St. Petersburg, yet the involved nobility was exiled to Irkutsk. Two of the homes that housed some of the largest salons and social gatherings of this era, the Volkonsky House and the Trubetskoy House, still stand, the former of which remains one of the more popular museum sights of Irkutsk.

Even today, art remains an integral part of the city. It houses the Irkutsk Philharmonic Orchestra and one of the largest art galleries east of the Ural Mountains, the Sukachev Art Museum, and the Sukachev Estate - the former home of one of the more prominent mayors, linking the Decembrists era and the modern days.

The city center is full of wooden houses with typical decorative carvings on the walls and window frames. As such, the most famous one of them is the "Lace House." Most of the buildings of this kind were destroyed in Moscow and other big cities during the 20th century's industrialization, so it's a rare opportunity to see what a Russian city would look like if it stayed the way it was back in the days. The symbol of Irkutsk, the statue of the "babr," a mythological animal reminiscent of a tiger, is another place to put on your Irkutsk itinerary.

The cathedrals of Irkutsk are also among the city's must-sees. As such, the Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God as well as ornate Epiphany Cathedral is surely not to miss during your Irkutsk travel.

Irkutsk sits in a region so cold that some parts of the ground never thaw even on the hottest summer days. It's no surprise that the icebreaker Angara, one of the oldest globally, and a geology museum serve as important sights for tourists. Of course, the real reason to visit Irkutsk is Lake Baikal, located nearby.

The deepest lake in the world, this Russian treasure is often called the "Blue Eye of Siberia." It is said that putting one's feet in the water from its shores will add five years to your life (a particularly memorable experience in the colder months). Traditionally, Irkutsk was the city from which the great Russian explorers set out. Even today, an Irkutsk tour is a great place to start one's own personal exploration of Siberia and the Russian Far East. putting this destination on your Russia travel map.

Best Things to Do in Irkutsk

  • Stop by the ornate Epiphany Cathedral and the Cathedral of the Kazan Icon
  • Enjoy traditional Russian wooden architecture of Irkutsk
  • Take a picture by the symbol of the city, the babr statue
Best Tours to Irkutsk
Top Attractions in Irkutsk

Top Attractions in Irkutsk

Siberia, Russia

Explore Siberia, the largest geographical region of Russia that covers almost all North Asia.

Taltsy Village, Russia

The Taltsy Village is a unique open-air architectural-ethnographic museum of traditional wooden architecture, set in a picturesque place on the right bank of the Angara River.

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All Attractions in Irkutsk

All Attractions in Irkutsk

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