Tourism in Russia > Irkutsk
Irkutsk is an administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast'. It is situated on the
Angara River, 68 km from Baikal. The name of the city originates from its location
near the Irkut River. Irkutsk ap-peared on the map of Siberia in the middle
of the 17th century. They consider the day of its foundation to be July, 6th,
1661 - this is when a report of Jacob Ivanovich Pokhabov about the town's foundation
was made. In 1682 Irkutsk became the center of independent vo-evodstvo, and
4 years later it got the status of a city. This is when Irkutsk got its seal
and its emblem. The image of the seal coincided with the emblem image, authorized
in 1690. It depicted a babr (kind of Siberian extinct tiger) with a sable in
its mouth on a silver field.
The population of Irkutsk is 600 000 people (data of 2002); it occupies the
area of 30 637 hectares; 90% of population are Russians, minor nationalities
are presented by the Buryats, Ukranians, Tartars, Jews, Poles, Latvians, Germans
and others - totally 100 nations.
The city is divided administratively into 4 districts: Sverdlovskii, Oktyabrskii,
Kuybyshevskii and Pravoberezhnyi.
Climate in Irkutsk is extreme continental, changeable and dry. Sharp night and
day temperature fluctuations are a usual phenomenon. Average winter temperature
is 22°C below zero. In February there is a period of lower winds-hiusov, but
on the whole winters are windless. The autumn is long and warm. The spring comes
at the end of March. The summer is hot, as a rule the precipitation is at the
latter half, average temperature in July is +25°C, but in hot days it reaches
In the city there are 4 state theatres, Philharmony, an organ hall, 5 museums,
musical, art and theatrical schools, libraries and humanitarian center, named
after the Polevye.
Irkutsk department of Russian Academy of Sciences is 60 years old. It includes
Baikal museum and 9 Scientific Research Institutes: Institutes of Geography,
Geochemistry, of System Dynamics and Management Theory, of Earth Crust, Chemistry,
Solar-Terrestrial Physics, of Physiology and Biochemistry of Plants and of Laser
Physics. Nowadays Irkutsk is one of the biggest medicine centers of Siberia:
the city boasts a modern diagnostic center, "Eye microsurgery", convalescent
center of Dr. Dikul', cancer detection center, perinatal center and other therapeutic
It is not by chance that Irkutsk is considered to be a student city - there
are 80 thousand students, studying in 9 higher educational establishments.
In Irkutsk there are 7 creative unions: the unions of architects, artists, designers,
writers, journalists, composers and cinematographers.
Irkutsk is a multiconfessional city. Alongside with the Orthodox churches there
is a Muslim mosque, a catholic cathedral, Jewish Synagogue and a Buddhist temple
(datsan). "The House of Europe" in F. Engels Street,
21. It is called "wooden lace" house, which is a part of historic-architectural
complex of the Shastin estate (18th century). It was recreated in 1998 with the
aim of development and support of relations between Irkutsk and European countries.
It was declared the historical monument, and now the "House of Europe"
is the symbol of Irkutsk.
In Irkutsk Regional Art Museum named after Sukachov (Lenin
St., 5), there are vast collections of ancient Russian and Siberian icons and
cult wooden sculpture of the XVIII century. It boasts a portrait gallery of
Russian painters, the masterpieces of the artists from Holland, Flanders, France,
Italy, Germany and England of the XVII-XIX centuries. The collection of works
from Japan and China includes all kinds of art: painting, china, wooden, metal
and stone articles of the 3rd-20th centuries. The exhibition sprang from the
art works collection owned by Vladimir Sukachyov (1849-1920), who was a merchant
and the governor of Irkutsk. Till 1917 this building used to house a men high
school (Naval School), established in 1805.