Irkutsk is an administrative, scientific, cultural and transport center of Irkutsk region. The city is located on the Angara and Irkut rivers at the distance of 70 km away from Baikal. The changeable and dry climate here is defined as extremely continental.
The square of three churches
Epiphany cathedral, the Church of the Savior and Polish cathedral. Epiphany cathedral was founded in 1789, it was the main city church where people gathered on days of celebrations and calamities. This building bears the of such a phenomenon which later was defined the scientists as ”Siberian baroque”
Roman-catholic church which was built in 1881 for the donations of the Roman-catholic congregations of the Russian empire. This is an example of neo-gothic style. Irkutsk catholics were mostly exiled Polish people. An organ music hall was opened in the cathedral in 1978.
Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan
(1875-1894). It was one of the biggest and the most beautiful churches in Russia. In 1932 it was blown up. In 2000 in frond of the Irkutsk region Administration there was a chapel established, an exact replica of one of the cathedrals cupolas.
Founded in 1689. It keeps the reliquary with relics of St. Innocent (Kulchitskii), who founded Irkutsk eparchy in 1727. The convent shelters an old necropolis, highly honored by the citizens.
‘’White house” 3 -floors Russian classical style mansion in design of St. Petersburg architects from G. Quarenghi studio. Later the house was acquired by the government to become the residence of Eastern Siberian Governor-Generals.
Sins 1939 it been housing the scientific University library.
Former Eastern-Siberian department of the imperial Russian society (1851). The architect Rosen projected this Moorish (oriental) style building with fortress-like towers, narrow windows, stone decorations and fancy bars. Under the roof one can see the names of scientists-travellers, explorers of Asia and eastern parts of Siberia.
The museum features unique ethnographical collection with the Siberian peoples clothes, items of Shaman cult, Orthodox and Buddhist religions, collections of weapons and rear documents of the 17th century –the time of Siberian exploration. The entrance to the museum is guarded by the called “deer stone”.
Estate of the Volkonskiis.
The house was built in the traditions of classical gentry mansions. The front façade is decorated with two bay-windows, made after the project of N.A. Bestuzhev. There is a winter garden in the second floor. Literature, musical and theatrical parties were held here.
Estate of the Trubetskoys.
It was built in 1850-s for one of the Trubetskoys daughters. Exposition tells about the 30 year long period of Decembrists living in our region. The house and the estate are currently closed for restoration works.
House of Europe
The house of the merchant Shastin (1907) is the example of the French association for Shastin was included in the list of the world heritage to be preserved and thanks to the support of Irkutsk mayor it was not pulled down. Now it is called the House of Europe. Official meetings, conferences and exhibitions service of Irkutsk.
Drama Theatre named after Okhlopkov
(1895-1897) The constriction of this classic style building, projected by architect Shreter was done thanks to the donations of wealthy citizens. It houses not only theatrical performances, but also festivals, creative parties and forums. There is the museum of the theatres history.
Museum of Wooden Architecture Taltsy
From the vast areas of the Angara region, which turned out to be under water after the construction of the hydroelectric power stations in Bratsk and Ust-Ilimsk the people managed to save and bring together in the museum Taltsy the houses of the first Russian settlers, wooden fortifications(1667), a hurch(1679), old mill-houses, Evenk settlement and Buryat yourts. Everything is alive with the real items of everyday live dating back to the 17th-18th centuries. The highlights of the museum are the Spasskaya tower of Ilimsk fortification(1667) and the Church of Our Lady of Kazan(1679). Museum has become the cultural center of the area. Traditionally Taltsy is the site for such celebrations like Easter, Mardi gras and Apple Spas; this is where you see living craft and arts. The celebration of Whitsunday gives you amazingly lyrical and beautiful feel with girls dancing in a round dance and singing ritual songs, wearing beautiful sarafans and chamomile diadems on their heads.
Circum-Baykal Railways is a historic-architectural monument of the early 20th century. It was constructed on the rocky shores of Baikal between the settlement Kultuk and port-station Baikal at the outflow of the Angara River. It is one of the links of the great Transsiberian railways. This railways is not by chance called the «Golden buckle of the Russia’s steel belt». By the amount of work and difficulties to overcome it is the most difficult construction in the whole world. At the distance of 84 km there are 39 tunnels and 440 bridges and other engineering constructions. The longest tunnel is 778 m long, the biggest bridge is 123m.
Alongside with its historic-architectural value the railways is also doing its primary function, keeping the life of 5 stations (Baikal, Khvoinaya, Maritui, Sharyzhalgai and Kultuk) afloat, servicing the people living along the shore and the numerous tourists.