Historical Irkutsk: from Pokhabov to Kolchak (Part II)

Excursions from Irkutsk in winter Sights of Irkutsk Where to take a walk Where to relax in the winter evening Where to go with children Reviews of tourists Where to stay in Irkutsk

If you are traveling to Baikal in winter, Irkutsk will probably be on your way. The large city today surprises with its ancient buildings and interesting history, which the city guide will briefly tell you about. Find out what sights to see and how to spend a winter holiday in Irkutsk in this advice.

Weather in Irkutsk

Excursions from Irkutsk in winter

In winter, tourists come to Irkutsk while traveling around Lake Baikal . The lake attracts with its majestic beauty and amazes with its size and purity. In December-January, ice freezes up on Lake Baikal, and in February-March, guests go out onto the ice to admire its transparency, color, examine the bubbles and taste it.

The most popular areas are the Small Sea and Olkhon Island, the ice of which is characterized by the greatest transparency, and the rocks of Olkhon Shamanki , Cape Khoboy and Ogoy Island are overgrown with icicles so that they resemble ice castles. Peschanaya Bay , where people go by hovercraft (khivus) from Listvyanka, will also be interesting in this regard In the same way, they get acquainted with the landscapes of the ancient section of the Circum-Baikal Railway .

Shamanka Rock on Olkhon Photo: © Egor Vlasov

Excursions and tours to Lake Baikal are the most popular trips from Irkutsk at any time of the year, there is no shortage of them. But don’t forget about the possibility of a guided tour of the city itself. Guides' offers can be found in a special section of the site:

All excursions around Irkutsk and Baikal on Experts Tourist. RU

If you don’t have much time on your trip or are afraid of the long road to Olkhon, visit the village of Listvyanka , it is located only 60 km from Irkutsk. In Listvyanka you can also see the famous ice, skate and ride on husks, see ice sculptures, and take part in ice festivals.

Baikal ice Photo: © Egor Vlasov

In addition, there are several museums in the village. The Baikal Museum is the largest and most famous of them. He will talk about the appearance, structure and life of the lake, which stretches from north to south for more than 600 km. The observation deck of Listvyanka is also in great demand among guests: from the height of the Chersky stone , where the cable car of the Eastland ski resort , there is a wonderful view of the source of the Angara - the only river flowing from Lake Baikal.

By the way, if you are interested in active recreation and local mountains, take a look here:

Ski resorts of the Irkutsk region

Cable car of the Eastland Group of Companies against the backdrop of Lake Baikal Photo: © Klaudia Ziryukina

Not far from Irkutsk, on the way to Listvyanka, there is “Taltsy” - another popular destination, an open-air museum of wooden architecture, lying on the banks of the Angara. His extensive collection is collected throughout the Baikal region. Historical and ethnographic exhibitions are located inside ancient houses, mills, and churches.

The Taltsy territory is a convenient and interesting option for family recreation in nature and more. In winter, ice slides and winter photo zones are built here, dog and horse riding is offered, and there is a picnic area. On Maslenitsa, the museum becomes the most colorful platform for this. In addition to excursions, the complex regularly hosts master classes on crafts.

More about holidays outside the city:

What to see on Baikal in winter

Taltsy. Town hall building Photo: © Klaudia Ziryukina

Around the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross in Irkutsk

Along Podgornaya Street from the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross in Irkutsk you can walk to a wide staircase that leads to the Central Park of Culture and Leisure. The area between the temple and the park is built up mainly with wooden houses, many of them are abandoned; this is not a very prosperous place, despite the proximity of the park. The park itself includes part of the former Jerusalem cemetery, but otherwise it is an ordinary green area without any special infrastructure, but quite suitable for walking in good weather. If you go up the stairs, on the left you will see the large classic Church of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem.

It was once a church adjacent to the cemetery, which gave it its name. However, it looks too impressive for a cemetery church. It was built later than most city churches, in 1830, which determined the unusual appearance of this temple for Irkutsk. The Baroque era had ended by that time (although, note, in Siberia, due to its remoteness, it lasted longer than in central Russia), and by that time the metropolitan fashion for classicism, which reigned supreme in the era of Alexander I and at the beginning, had arrived here by that time. reign of Nicholas I.

The temple is distinguished by a wide, squat dome and three colonnades on three sides. Liturgical life in it is only just being restored; the church, which, however, was handed over to the believers back in 2000, was consecrated quite recently.

On the other side of the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross, where the central Lenin Street bifurcates, there is a monument to the symbol of the city - the babr. Babr is the Yakut word for the Amur tiger, the most powerful predator in the Far East. Initially, back in the 17th century, the babr appeared on the coat of arms of Yakutsk, but then migrated to the Irkutsk coat of arms, where it holds a sable in its teeth.

When the Yakut origin of the word had already been thoroughly forgotten, one of the officials of the royal heraldry, not very knowledgeable in the Siberian animal world, decided that there had been a mistake in the description of the coat of arms, and replaced the letter “a” in the word “babr” with the letter “o”. So Irkutsk almost had to change its symbol from a tiger to a beaver. However, a real beaver was never placed on the coat of arms - instead, the tiger was simply given some “beaver” features. In this compromise design of the coat of arms, which arose due to a simple misunderstanding, a unique beast was born, which Irkutsk certainly does not share with any other city.

The monument to Babr was erected in modern times, and at the same time a pedestrian zone was built nearby between Sedov and 3 July streets. Despite some artificiality (here there is an attempt to combine the appearance of a typical wooden Irkutsk with fashionable infrastructure), the place has gained great popularity - especially among newlyweds. Here is the zero kilometer of roads in the Irkutsk region.

Sights of Irkutsk

There are also interesting places in the city itself. Irkutsk in the past was a fort, a merchant city, the center of the province, a large cultural and industrial hub of Siberia. The sights of the city reveal its history piece by piece. Guests see bright cathedrals, monuments to important people and cozy streets where noble and merchant estates are still alive.

Monument to the founders of Irkutsk

It is symbolic to begin the description of the main symbols of the city with the Monument to the Founders of Irkutsk. It was installed on the Lower Angara embankment for the 350th anniversary of the city and appears in the form of a male figure dressed in the manner of the early 17th century - a traveler, explorer, hunter. Later, the monument was specified and given the name of Yakov Pokhabov, the founder of the fort. It stands on a high base and looks possessively at the center of Irkutsk - the place where they built a fortress.

Read more: monument to the Founders of Irkutsk

Monument to the founders of Irkutsk Photo: © Klaudia Ziryukina

Moscow Gate

On the Lower Embankment of Irkutsk stands a triumphal arch - the Moscow Gate. They are decorated in Empire and Renaissance styles, decorated with symbols of strength and abundance. The arch is a gift to the city for its 350th anniversary, a modern reconstruction of the original gate built for the 10th anniversary of the reign of Alexander I. They greeted all those arriving from Moscow. It housed a teahouse, a water rescue society and an archive, until it was dismantled due to disrepair under Soviet rule.

Read more: Moscow Gate

Moscow Gate Photo: © Svetlana Aubekerova

Epiphany Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Epiphany is an Orthodox church and one of the oldest stone structures in Irkutsk and Siberia. It’s difficult to miss it on the Lower Embankment: its festive appearance is akin to a fairy tale. The white walls of the cathedral and the hipped bell tower are decorated with colored cornices and platbands. The wealth of forms and architectural elements makes it a prominent representative of the Siberian Baroque. Opposite the cathedral stands the Church of the Savior, on the eastern facade of which external frescoes have been preserved.

Read more: Epiphany Cathedral

Epiphany Cathedral Photo: © Klaudia Ziryukina

Znamensky Monastery

An important shrine and monument to the history and architecture of Irkutsk is the Znamensky Convent, located at the confluence of the Ushakovka River with the Angara. It was built at the turn of the XVII-XVIII centuries. and, having gone through the vicissitudes of the atheistic years of the 20th century, today it acts again.

At the monastery there is a necropolis, which became the last refuge of eminent people of the past. Among them are the wife of the Decembrist E. Trubetskaya and the founder of the Russian-American company G. I. Shelikhov. In front of the entrance to the monastery there is a monument to A.V. Kolchak , the leader of the White movement, the Supreme Ruler of Russia: here during the Civil War he was shot together with the Chairman of the Council of Ministers V.N. Pepelyaev. The removal of Kolchak marked the complete establishment of Soviet power in Eastern Siberia.

Read more: Znamensky Monastery

Znamensky Monastery and monument to A.V. Kolchak Photo: © Elena Solovyova

Kazan Church

The Church of the Mother of God of Irkutsk in the name of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God is a prominent religious symbol of the city. The temple was erected in the Russian-Byzantine tradition at the end of the 19th century, when the surrounding area could no longer accommodate parishioners. The church turned out to be spacious; against the backdrop of its low-rise surroundings, it impresses with its volume and symmetrical composition. The main red color of the temple complements the blue and decorates the white, making its appearance even more noticeable due to the contrast.

Read more: Kazan Church

Kazan Church of Irkutsk Photo: © Tatyana Masloboeva

Monument to Babr

At the beginning of the historical 130th quarter of Irkutsk there is a sculpture of Babr holding a sable in his teeth. The monument to the unprecedented beast was erected for a reason: it is the coat of arms symbol of the city. It appeared in 1878 due to an error when approving the coats of arms of the Russian Empire: when the letter “a” from the word “babr” was corrected to “o,” the stripes disappeared on the coat of arms of the tiger and the tail and flippers of a beaver appeared. Apparently, the old Russian “babr”, which denoted large wild cats, was not familiar to everyone even then.

Read more: monument to Babr

Monument to Babr Photo: © Natalia Tarasova

Church of the Exaltation of the Cross

Hidden behind the trees of the square across the road from Babr is the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross - a real pearl of the temple architecture of Irkutsk. It was built in stone by the middle of the 18th century. This is an important and unique representative of the Siberian Baroque: the decoration of the facades combines Orthodox and Buddhist motifs, and the decoration is replete with their variety. Inside the temple you can see the decoration of the 18th century, including valuable icons and the only one in the city that has been completely preserved.

Read more: Church of the Exaltation of the Cross

Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Photo: © Natalia Tarasova

Monument to Alexander III

The monument to Alexander III is a significant detail of Irkutsk, central on Gagarin Boulevard (Upper Angara embankment). It is dedicated to the emperor, under whom the city stood on the path of the Trans-Siberian Railway, which allowed it to develop and grow. This monument is new, but made similar to the one that was demolished under the Bolsheviks. The figure of the emperor is not the only one: the base of the monument is decorated with bas-reliefs of those who played a big role in the history of Siberia - N. N. Muravyov-Amursky, M. M. Speransky and Ermak.

Read more: monument to Alexander III

Monument to Alexander III Photo: © Elena Solovyova

City history museums

Irkutsk has collected so many events over three and a half hundred years that they could not fit into one museum. Winter in the city is a great time to get to know the history of the city closer.

The Museum of Local Lore and the Museum of the History of Irkutsk will delight you, first of all, with stunning ancient buildings where their collections are located, and then they will tell you about the times when Siberia was just being developed, when the city became a significant cultural center and stood on the path of the Trans-Siberian Railway, and, of course, about those who made it history of people. The city also has the Decembrist Museum , which occupies the elegant estates of the Trubetskoys and Volkonskys. In the park nearby there is a Monument to the Wives of the Decembrists .

About iconic places also in the articles:

Sights of Irkutsk Museums of Irkutsk

Museum of the Decembrists. Volkonsky House Photo: © Natalia Tarasova

Icebreaker Museum "Angara"

The icebreaker "Angara" is a living history that anyone can touch. The ship is moored in the Solnechny microdistrict of Irkutsk, on the right bank of the Angara River not far from the hydroelectric power station. The icebreaker was assembled from parts made in England and launched in 1900. It served for more than 60 years, ferrying passengers and cargo across Lake Baikal, and today has become a museum revealing its role in the history of the city. Its exhibitions are dedicated to navigation on Lake Baikal, crews and commanders. In addition, visitors can get acquainted with the technical content of the vessel.

Read more: Icebreaker Museum "Angara"

Icebreaker-museum "Angara" Photo: © Svetlana Aubekerova

Sukachev Art Museum

The Irkutsk collection of graphics, paintings, decorative and applied arts began with the private collection of philanthropist V.P. Sukachev and today belongs to the Regional Art Museum. It is presented on four sites, in a collection of more than twenty thousand items. This is Siberian, Russian and Western European art from the 17th century, examples from China, Japan, Mongolia from the 14th to 20th centuries. In the Sukachev mansion, a branch of the museum and a monument of wooden architecture, there are exhibitions dedicated to the family of the figure.

Read more: Sukachev Art Museum

Irkutsk Art Museum Photo: © Klaudia Ziryukina

Museum "At the Landfill"

A completely unusual museum awaits visitors upon leaving Irkutsk along the Aleksandrovsky Highway. It is located near a solid waste landfill and its exhibits are made from metal that was found in a landfill. Among them are entire armies of heroes, fantastic warriors and even heroes of the Alien universe. A suitable addition was the design of the territory in the form of a fort. In addition, the museum’s collection contains many rarities from the times of the USSR - watches, samovars, accordions and more. On event days, field porridge, ice slides and pony rides are organized for guests. You can always see a couple of real bears and feed them with brought treats.

Read more: Museum “At the Landfill”

Entrance to the museum “At the Landfill” Photo: © M Marik72

Pearl of Eastern Siberia

The historical center of Irkutsk is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

It was called “Eastern Paris” and “Siberian Petersburg”. Irkutsk was and remains one of the most beautiful and architecturally interesting cities in Russia. Russian wooden architecture, Siberian baroque, northern classicism - all these styles and trends in architecture can be studied while walking around Irkutsk.

“Here is the best place, suitable for arable land, and livestock release and hay cuttings and fishing are all close by; but there is nowhere else to set up a fort except in that place - ​the place is steppe and undesirable,” wrote the Russian explorer Yakov Pokhabov in the summer of 1661, who went on instructions from the Yenisei governor to where the Angara and Irkut rivers connect. It is from the fortress, or, as it is more often called, the Irkutsk fort, founded by Yakov Pokhabov, that Irkutsk originates. The city, which took its name from the Irkut River, was supposed to become a connecting link between the Yenisei and Lake Baikal.

Traditionally for the 17th century, a settlement arose around the fortress. It grew, and already in 1686 Irkutsk received city status. And the city is streets and squares, temples and mansions, theaters and administrative buildings. Already in 1692, the Dutch traveler Nicolaas Witsen, who visited these parts, wrote: “The city of Irkutsk, located approximately eight miles from the shore of the Baikal Sea, was built several years ago; it is equipped with strong wooden towers and has a large suburb... The land there is very fertile, and many Muscovites settled here... In the city, in the fortification, there is the chief’s house, also the armory and the town hall; the guard is kept in the fortress, but the soldiers live outside it. In the fort there is a settlement or suburb.” Fertile lands, proximity to navigable rivers, trade with neighboring China - these factors contributed to the development of the city. Irkutsk was lucky: a strong local merchant class, the nobles loved their city, and spared no effort and money to improve it. Hence the comparisons with Paris and St. Petersburg. Irkutsk blossomed and became prettier before our eyes. Another reason for the flourishing of the city: ​exiles traditionally ended up here, among whom were the writer Alexander Radishchev, and the Decembrists princes Sergei Trubetskoy and Sergei Volkonsky, and many others. All this contributed to the development of culture, education, and architecture of Irkutsk.

Golden-domed city

Residents of Irkutsk lovingly called their city golden-domed: the domes of its churches were visible from afar. To this day, the temple in the name of the Savior, the Image Not Made by Hands, has survived from the Irkutsk fort - the Savior Church. The first church, built in 1672, was wooden; it burned down during a huge fire that raged in Irkutsk in the dry August of 1716. Many city buildings were destroyed in that flame. Construction of the stone Spassky Church in Irkutsk began in 1706. The temple was ready by 1710, and acquired a bell tower and spire in the late 50s of the 18th century. The author of the design of the Spasskaya Church was the famous Siberian architect of that time, Moisey Dolgikh. According to his idea, the paintings decorated the temple not only inside, but also outside. There are figurative compositions on the facades of the church, and images of saints on the southern wall. The bells of the Spasskaya Church were considered the best in Siberia in terms of purity and strength of sound.

Siberian baroque and classicism combined in another architectural pearl - the Epiphany Cathedral. It is the second oldest stone building in Irkutsk. The first wooden Cathedral of the Epiphany was built back in 1693 and was destroyed in the same fire in 1716. The whole world raised money for the stone temple: the Epiphany Cathedral was built with donations from the residents of Irkutsk. In 1722, work began. By 1729, construction of the bell tower was completed. The opening of the Epiphany Cathedral took place in September 1746. Years passed, the cathedral was changed, completed, acquired new bells and the status of a cathedral. Even today it is considered one of the most beautiful churches in Siberia and the Far East, a unique symbol of Irkutsk.

Russian history and architecture can be studied in another Irkutsk church - ​Preobrazhenskaya. Decembrists Sergei Trubetskoy and Sergei Volkonsky lived with their families in her parish. Prince Volkonsky's daughter Elena got married in the Church of the Transfiguration: Nellie, as she was called in the family, married Irkutsk official Dmitry Molchanov here. The wedding of the daughter of the Decembrist Mikhail Kuchelbecker took place in the same church. The funeral service was held here for the Decembrists Pyotr Mukhanov, a famous writer at that time, and Nikolai Panov.

The Transfiguration Church was founded in 1795. Money for construction was given by two Irkutsk merchants - Stefan Ignatiev and Ivan Sukhikh. The temple was designed by the famous architect, geographer, historian Anton Losev. By the way, it was Anton Ivanovich who is considered the author of the first regular plan for the long-term development of Irkutsk; he also designed the Gostiny Dvor, which has survived to this day. But the main masterpiece of the architect Losev was the Church of the Transfiguration. It was consecrated in August 1811. In the late 40s of the 19th century, honorary citizen of Irkutsk, state councilor Efimy Kuznetsov, allocated funds for the construction of a stone fence with cast-iron gratings around the temple.

White house, lace house

The entire history of Irkutsk architecture is the history of local merchants. It was with the funds of wealthy entrepreneurs that the city was created and built. First of all, it is necessary to say about the Sibiryakov family of merchants. Its founder, Afanasy Sibiryakov, owned fishing and sailing ships on Lake Baikal at the end of the 17th century. His son Mikhail was awarded the title of nobility for his services to the development of industry and entrepreneurship in Siberia and for his charitable activities. Mikhail Afanasyevich Sibiryakov was also the mayor of Irkutsk. The next generation of Sibiryakovs - Alexander, Konstantin and Innokenty ​not only expanded the family business, but also built schools, hospitals, almshouses, churches, etc.

One of the most striking architectural masterpieces preserved in modern Irkutsk is the house of the Sibiryakov merchants, or the so-called White House. Siberian local historians believe that the great Giacomo Quarenghi himself, the Italian architect who created the main masterpieces of St. Petersburg, worked on the project. It is impossible today to confirm Quaregni’s authorship with documents. But the “White House” still adorns Gagarinsky Boulevard in Irkutsk. The luxurious building in the Empire style was built in 1800–1804 by order of Mikhail Sibiryakov. Then the “White House” went to one of his sons, and in the middle of the 19th century it was bought by the city and became the residence of the Irkutsk governors-general. After the revolution, a university was located here.

Another interesting architectural monument that Irkutsk owes to its merchants is the house, which in the city is lovingly called “lace”. In 1907, the honorary citizen of Irkutsk, merchant Apolos Shastin, bought a small wooden mansion and made it into a real work of art: a two-story manor, like lace, covered with the finest wooden carvings. Hence the name - “lace house”.

Rather, not a house, but a real palace that adorns Irkutsk - the Trubetskoy estate, which today houses the regional historical and memorial museum of the Decembrists. According to local historians, it was built according to the design of the famous Siberian architect Alexander Razgildeev in 1847–1854. It is believed that Prince Trubetskoy wanted to have a house in Irkutsk that would resemble the luxurious palaces of St. Petersburg. The Siberian architect managed to realize this idea, but adapt it to local realities.

In general, the historical buildings of museums and theaters in Irkutsk are a topic for full-fledged scientific research. Or a reason to admire the beauty of the buildings that have survived to this day. For example, the building of the Irkutsk Regional Museum of Local Lore. The money for its construction was collected by Lieutenant General Franz Klitschka, the former Governor-General of Irkutsk. The local merchants, as always, were not stingy. And in 1782, Irkutsk became one of the first Russian cities to have a museum of its own history. The building for the museum was also specially built. In 1879, another major fire almost completely destroyed the museum building, and again the merchants did not skimp - they rebuilt it, even better! It is not for nothing that the Irkutsk Museum received a 1st degree diploma at the Nizhny Novgorod All-Russian Exhibition in 1896.

People of Irkutsk

The city was lucky not only with the generous merchants. The people of Irkutsk are a truly unique breed. One of its prominent representatives is city mayor Vladimir Sukachev. Being a versatile educated person, Vladimir Platonovich not only did a lot of charity work, but was also a passionate collector. The huge collection of works of art he collected at the end of the 19th century was donated to the city. Irkutsk raised funds and ordered the famous architect David Mogiday to design a two-story stone mansion as the building of a future museum. Today this mansion with an adjacent park in the city center is part of the regional art museum. The estate of Vladimir Sukachev - a whole complex with a winter garden, stables, etc. - is also a monument to the history, culture and architecture of the city.

Another significant name for Irkutsk is Baron Heinrich Rosen. One of the most famous Russian architects of the second half of the 19th century built a two-story mansion in “Eastern Paris” in the early 80s of the last century, commissioned by gold miner Ivan Bazanov. This example of Russian classicism has survived to this day; today it houses the regional art museum.

Irkutsk is rightfully proud of the architectural masterpiece of the work of Victor Schroeter, a professor at the Imperial Academy of Arts, one of the most famous Russian architects of the second half of the 19th century. When the old theater of Irkutsk burned down during another major fire, then-Governor General Alexander Goremykin raised funds and commissioned Schröter to design a new, stone theater building. In 1897, construction was completed. Newspapers of that time wrote about a real architectural masterpiece, “the likes of which cannot be found from the Urals to the Far East.” And today in the center of Irkutsk there is a building built according to the design of Victor Shreter, which houses the Academic Drama Theater named after N. Okhlopkov.

E.E. Sineva

Where to go for a walk

A walk around the city is an obligatory part of the tourist program, even in winter. With or without snow, central city spaces delight with architecture, unusual details and well-groomed conditions. Let's highlight the most beautiful and interesting places for tourists in Irkutsk.

Angara embankments

Irkutsk lies on both banks of the Angara River relatively close to its source. In winter, the river does not freeze completely: the warm bottom waters of Lake Baikal and its rapid current have an effect. On frosty days, steam swirls above it, and the surrounding area is covered with sparkling frost.

The city center lies on the right bank, and walking embankments also run along the right bank. The Upper Embankment stretches for 5 km , but the guest will be interested in its continuation - Gagarin Boulevard . In the park area, in addition to the monument to Alexander III , there is a bust of Yu. A. Gagarin , a monument to fallen employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs , a monument to V. F. Margelov , and near the bridge to Yunost Island there is a sculpture of the Baikal seal .

The lower embankment is not connected to Gagarin Boulevard, but this is in the very near future. It stretches from the confluence of the Angara Ushakovka to the park near the Eternal Flame the Bridge of Love leads to it . The promenade appeared not so long ago, and the trees on it are young. The two tiers of the shore are decorated with openwork parapets and lanterns; there are benches for those who want to sit. The sights of the Lower Embankment are the Monument to the Founders of Irkutsk and the Moscow Gate , which are already noted above, as well as the Monument to the Teacher and the Monument to Surveyors .

Read more: Upper and Lower Angara embankments

Lower embankment Photo: © Klaudia Ziryukina

130th quarter

Irkutskaya Sloboda, or the 130th quarter, is a site stylized as an ancient city in the center of Irkutsk. About a dozen wooden mansions are real: these are architectural monuments that have survived to this day here or were moved from other streets. In the New Year's lighting, the quarter turns into a fairy-tale town. Its length is short, but a tourist is unlikely to be allowed to leave by the funny art objects, cozy cafes, and bright souvenir shops. There are also museums on the territory of the settlement: a planetarium, a branch of the Irkutsk Museum of Local Lore “Window to Asia” and the art gallery “Dias”.

Read more: 130th quarter

House in the 130th block Photo: © Natalia Tarasova

Square named after Kirov

Kirov Square in Irkutsk is located between the city and regional administrations. In summer it is decorated with a fountain and intricate floral patterns in the flower beds. In winter, the square becomes the main New Year's site in Irkutsk. From mid-November to the end of January there is a tall spruce here, playing with lights in the evenings. The residence of Father Frost and an ice town are built around it, each year with a different theme, light installations appear, as well as slides and labyrinths for young residents. An interesting and permanent detail of Kirov Square is a model of old Irkutsk, made of metal.

Read more: Kirov Square

Uritsky Street in Irkutsk

The main pedestrian street is another traditional place for a walk. In Irkutsk it bears the name of the revolutionary M. S. Uritsky. Its length is small: only 400 m. It connects two major highways of the city - Karl Marx and Dzerzhinsky, on which the Central Market is the most popular. Since its appearance in the 17th century. Uritsky was renamed and rebuilt more than once. There were shops, residential buildings, and military warehouses on it. Today it is a walking area and a shopping area: ancient buildings house all kinds of brand stores. If you continue along Uritskogo towards st. Proletarskaya, on Truda Square you can see the sculpture “Leonid Gaidai and his heroes” - Coward, Dunce and Seasoned.

Read more: Uritsky Street in Irkutsk

Uritsky Street Photo: © Klaudia Ziryukina

Sculpture Square

The sculpture park is quite small, but its central location and conspicuous sculptures do not allow it to remain in the shadows; it will certainly appear on the path of tourists. One of the first in it was the Big Ben tower , which really resembles the London chimes. Afterwards others appeared - “The Thinker”, “Three Monkeys”, “Two Cupids”; Several symbolize the life paths of a person - “The Kiss”, “Mother and Child”, “Children Reading”. The handprint in the “Book of Kindness” is polished to a shine. Nearby, at the intersection of the street. Marat and Gorky, there is another bronze exhibit - the sculpture “Irkutsk Cat” .

Sculpture Square Photo: © Klaudia Ziryukina

Quarters with architectural monuments

In the historical center of Irkutsk, houses have been preserved - witnesses of the old city. The high skill of the architects, the exacting desires of the customers and the presence of a plan for the improvement of the city gave rise to impressive creations.

Walking along the streets, you can see old wooden mansions; one of the notable ones will be the Shastins' house (House of Europe) on the street. F. Engelsa, 23B and the Bichaikhanov Palace on the street. Stepan Razin, 11, and lavishly decorated stone buildings of the late 19th - early 20th centuries, for example, the house of I.M. Fainberg on the street. Khalturina, 1, Russian-Asian Bank on the street. Lenina, 38, house of D. M. Kuznets on Dzerzhinsky, 36, trading house of Karl Marx, 28.

Lace House Photo: © Tatyana Masloboeva

Jerusalem Mount

Jerusalem Mount Memorial Park is located near the 130th block. In the 19th century The hill was occupied by a church cemetery with thousands of burials, among which were those belonging to famous people of the city. In the 1950s it was razed to the ground and the Central Park of Culture and Culture was opened, which subsequently operated until the 2000s. After oblivion in 2017-2018. The park began to be put in order. The Temple of the Entrance to Jerusalem was restored , and dozens of monuments and information stands dedicated to people forgotten for half a century appeared on the paths. The main wide alley now leads to the semi-rotunda - an observation deck overlooking the city and a descending staircase on the northern side of the park.

Read more: Jerusalem Mount Memorial Park

Jerusalem Stairs Photo: © Svetlana Aubekerova

Where to relax in the winter evening

Irkutsk is the regional capital, a large city, and the question of “what to do in the evening in Irkutsk” is solved in the same way as in other Russian cities. Having identified your interests, you can go to a restaurant, a bar, a spa, a movie, and during a walk you can see winter Irkutsk in colorful lights.

A little later than all museums, several other exhibitions close in Irkutsk.

The Victor Bronstein Gallery presents graphics, painting and sculpture by local, Russian and foreign contemporary masters. The skilful and stunning works of the authors are complemented by the original organization of space. There is a shop and restaurants in the gallery building. It is convenient to discuss what you saw at a table in an atmospheric cafe, and choose non-trivial souvenirs in the souvenir shop.

Exhibit from the gallery of V. Bronstein Photo: © Natalia Tarasova

The Irkutsk Planetarium , opened not long ago in the Noosphere complex on the territory of the 130th quarter, will show films about space. Evening excursions to the planetarium observatory will allow you to observe the Moon, planets and stars through a telescope. Every month, during the new moon, the observatory conducts trips outside the city to study the night sky in detail; trips take place even in winter.

In the Botanical Garden of Irkutsk, tropical greenhouses are the most interesting in winter. Check for an evening excursion, there is definitely one during the New Year holidays.

Drama Theater of Irkutsk Photo: © Klaudia Ziryukina

According to tradition, the city's cultural institutions open their doors in the evening. Concerts of musical performers most often take place in the Ice Palace , in the club-restaurant "Wild Horse" , at the Trud stadium , at the art venue , and in the Irkutsk Philharmonic . The latter has two concert halls, one of which is occupied by a Polish church - an architectural monument in the neo-Gothic style. But it’s not just the building that is a pearl: the church houses one of the best organs in Russia.

The theatrical art of Irkutsk lives on the stages of the Irkutsk Academic Drama Theater named after. N. P. Okhlopkov , Musical Theater named after. N. M. Zagursky , City Theater of Folk Drama , Youth Theater . Among the productions are well-known plots and little-known works of classics and contemporaries. Unusual performances may be of interest to the Pilgrim Theatre , which combines the classical traditions of theater, music and Russian culture, and the V. Lopaev Dance Theater “PROdvizhenie” , which is based on plastic performances.

Polish Church - Organ Hall of the Irkutsk Philharmonic Photo: © Natalia Tarasova

Where to go with children

In Irkutsk you will find enough options where to relax in winter with children. The entertainment is different, and there will be something suitable both for the interests and age of young tourists.

While exploring the sights in the center, stop by Kirov Square to ride the slides, get lost among the ice sculptures and see the New Year tree. Active recreation is also possible on Yunost Island , where a bridge leads from Gagarin Boulevard. On its territory there is a children's playground, tubing, skating rinks and the Krugozor Ferris wheel . The cabins in it are closed and allow those who wish to ride down to a temperature of -20 °C. along the Children's Railway on the neighboring Konny Island . The nearby cafes invite you to take a lunch break and warm up.

For winter entertainment within the city, the Jacobi picnic park and the one on the left bank of the Angara near the hydroelectric dam are suitable. There are skating rinks, tubing hills, Jacobi has an ice town right on the ice of the Angara, and in Ersha there is a small slope for skiing and snowboarding. On the same side of the city there is the Academichesky ski complex .

Do children like bright trampolines, mazes and hundreds of toys? There are also amusement parks in Irkutsk. Mark on the map “Jungle park” in the “YarkoMALL” shopping center, “Ninja park” in the “Mega Home” shopping center and the “Luna Park” shopping center , as well as the trampoline , “Butterfly” and “Tsarsky” located in the city center.

Seal from the Irkutsk nerpinarium Photo: © Elena Butorina

Be sure to take little travelers who are crazy about animals to the Irkutsk Nerpinarium . The performances there are given by the endemics of Baikal - Baikal seals, who found themselves in a difficult situation as cubs and were raised by humans. The city has a classic zoo - the Irkutsk Zoo , which is next to the Botanical Garden . It has spacious enclosures for residents and recreation areas and a children's playground for guests. The botanical garden does not lag behind him and conducts children's interactive programs, classes with a microscope and master classes for the whole family. Boys will be interested in the museum “At the Landfill” : metal knights and heroes of fantasy films will not leave them indifferent.

While in the 130th quarter, visit the Irkutsk Planetarium in the Noosphere museum complex . Fascinating materials about the origin of life on Earth and films about the incredible world of space have been prepared for viewers. Look for performances based on famous fairy tales and cartoons at the Stork Puppet Theater , Theater for Young Spectators , Musical Theater named after. Zagursky and in the interactive baby theater "Teatrik" , operating for babies from 9 months. Their schedule becomes especially busy in December and January, when magical New Year's performances take place one after another.

More about these and other ideas on where to take your child on the page:

Irkutsk for children

Reviews from tourists

In tourist reviews, Irkutsk often acts as an introduction or ending to a trip to Lake Baikal. Some devote several hours to it, others spend a day or two getting to know the historical and modern heritage of the city. Depending on this, the intensity of the meeting also varies. Mostly, guests walk along the embankments and central streets, look at churches and nice sculptures, look into the 130th district and visit a couple of museums.

  • “The ringing snowy distance. Irkutsk" from Natalia Tarasova;
  • "Dreams Come True! Winter Baikal. Second meeting with Irkutsk” from Klaudia Ziryukina;
  • “The wooden capital of Siberia is beautiful Irkutsk” from Svetlana Aubekerova.

All tourist reviews about Irkutsk on Tourist. RU

Local History Museum Photo: © Klaudia Ziryukina

Other city tips:

  • What to see in Irkutsk in 1 day and 2 days
  • What to see in Irkutsk in summer

Lower embankment

You can watch Angara meet Irkut for hours.
Here you can also bow to the monument to the pioneers and founder of Irkutsk Yakov Pokhabov. Or walk through the arch of the triumphal “Moscow Gate”, restored in 2011, which was built in 1813 in honor of the anniversary of Emperor Alexander’s accession to the throne. At first a small Cossack fort, of which many were founded among the dense forests on the eastern outskirts of the empire, by the beginning of the 18th century Irkutsk had already turned from a militarized settlement into a large trade settlement from Beijing to Moscow. Industrialists and merchants flocked to it from everywhere to mine gold and precious furs. Mikhail Bakunin, a famous thinker, desperate adventurer and preacher of Russian anarchism, who served exile here for two years and then fled through Japan and America to London, recalled about the Irkutsk merchants: “... An iron will, and a chamber of intelligence, and a mighty and wide heart, and precious experience, and enormous knowledge of the matter and the region.”

Along with businessmen, the city attracted everyone who wanted to start a new life. Fate itself brought some to the outskirts of Irkutsk: political exiles largely determined the cultural atmosphere of the city. With the advent of the Decembrists, independence and free-thinking settled in Irkutsk forever.

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