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Reasons to travel to 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.

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 leaders of this rebellion 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, as well as 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 center of the city 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 industrialization of the 20th century, 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 are surely not to miss during your Irkutsk travel.

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

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
 

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.

Two Capitals

5
4.88
399 Reviews
Private tour
13 days4 cities
Russia1 country
MoscowIrkutskListvyanka VillageSaint Petersburg

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Explore the most incredible places in Russia and discover the best of Moscow, Irkutsk, St. Petersburg and the gorgeous Pearl of Siberia - Lake Baikal.

From
$4,498

Trans-Siberian

5
4.95
367 Reviews
Small group rail tour
Nearest Date: May 24, 2019
14 days5 cities
RussiaMongolia2 countries
MoscowEkaterinburgListvyanka VillageIrkutskUlan Bator

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Ideal program for travelers who want to explore authentic Trans-Siberian. Travel in comfort on board your private train car, with professional dedicated tour director and expert service.

From
$6,298
5
4.97
367 Reviews
Small group rail tour
Nearest Date: May 22, 2019
16 days7 cities
Russia1 country
MoscowEkaterinburgListvyanka VillageIrkutskUlan-UdeKhabarovskVladivostok

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Set off on a 16-day journey to remember on a private train car and cross the vast expanses of Russia from Moscow to Vladivostok. Explore Trans-Siberian gems and take in the beauty of authentic Russia.

From
$5,929
5
4.96
367 Reviews
Private rail tour
17 days6 cities
RussiaMongolia2 countries
MoscowKazanEkaterinburgListvyanka VillageIrkutskUlan Bator

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS Start your adventure in Moscow, visit the city of Kazan and Ekaterinburg, set right on the border of Europe and Asia while passing through the mighty Ural Mountains. Then absorb the beauty of Lake Baikal and The Great Steppe, before reaching Ulan Bator.

From
$5,096
4
4.00
401 Reviews
Private rail tour
23 days8 cities
RussiaMongoliaChina3 countries
Saint PetersburgMoscowKazanEkaterinburgListvyanka VillageIrkutskUlan BatorBeijing

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS An extended journey from Russia to China starting in one of the most beautiful places on Earth - the Venice of the North, St. Petersburg.

From
$7,368
5
4.90
366 Reviews
Tourist trains
Nearest Date: Jun 01, 2019
16 days6 cities
RussiaMongoliaChina3 countries
MoscowKazanIrkutskUlan-UdeUlan BatorBeijing

COMPLIMENTARY VISAS First private train to operate on Trans-Siberian route. Tsar's Gold provides all inclusive itinerary and top-notch quality.

From
$9,330
5
4.87
367 Reviews
Private rail tour
14 days5 cities
RussiaMongolia2 countries
MoscowEkaterinburgListvyanka VillageIrkutskUlan Bator

Set off on a saturated two-week ride along the world's longest railway. Start your journey in the heart of Russia, unsurpassed Moscow, travel via Ekaterinburg, pass dense Siberian forests and gorgeous Lake Baikal, ending your trip in East Asia with a spicy Mongolian exploration.

From
$4,196
5
4.83
365 Reviews
Private rail tour
10 days3 cities
Russia1 country
MoscowListvyanka VillageIrkutsk

Dream of going on a private Trans-Siberian adventure but are short on time? Enjoy the highlights of the famous railway on authentic Russian trains, see top sights of Moscow and Siberia with best guides. Russian visas and central hotels included.

From
$2,441
5
4.85
365 Reviews
Private rail tour
15 days4 cities
RussiaMongolia2 countries
MoscowListvyanka VillageIrkutskUlan Bator

A classic three-country Trans-Siberian with combination of trains and downtown hotels, carefully planned sightseeing and flexible program.

From
$4,231

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