Irkutsk Russia Travel Guide

Irkutsk Russia Travel Guide
A Vagabond Life

Irkutsk Russia Travel Guide A Vagabond Life

Irkutsk Russia Travel Guide

Irkutsk is an Eastern Siberian town, with a population exceeding 600,000, holds a rich history dating back to the 1825 Decemberist revolts. During that time, numerous affluent Russians were exiled to Irkutsk, shaping the town’s identity as an exile post until the turn of the century.

Irkutsk is renowned for its distinctive wooden houses, reflecting a unique architectural style prevalent in the region. Although many of these historic structures had fallen into disrepair over the years, it is heartening to witness ongoing efforts to restore them to their former grandeur.

Formerly known as the “Paris of the East,” Irkutsk occupies a significant place along the Trans-Siberian Railway, serving as the gateway to the mesmerizing Lake Baikal. Consider extending your stay in Irkutsk for a few days to immerse yourself in its captivating history, remarkable architecture, and vibrant food and bar scene.

Irkutsk Table of Contents

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Irkutsk Russia

Travel Tips Irkutsk Russia

Irkutsk has an excellent bus & tram network which is easy to navigate. Simply go to the bus stop and get on the bus and pay the conductor or driver. There are generally 2 types of buses, min-vans and larger buses. We found Google Maps gave accurate bus routes and timetables.

Buses also run from the Irkutsk Passenger Train Station To Central Irkutsk. The number 64 bus runs every 12 minutes from the Central Bus Station to the Train Station.

The average tram / bus ride in Irkustsk is about 15 rubles pp.

Irkutsk has mild summers and extreme cold winters.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average high °C (°F) −12.8

In Irkutsk tickets can be purchased at  the bus station.

In Listvyanka the bus departs from and terminates at the official tourist office. Tickets can be purchased at the tourist office.

In summer this bus route is busy so it may be a good idea to purchase tickets a day or so before you want to travel.

Cost: Irkutsk – Listvyanka 166* Rubles plus luggage fee of 20 rubles per bag.

*Correct at time of writing.

Things To See & Do In Irkutsk Russia

Church of the Rising of The Holy Cross

Church of the Rising of The Holy Cross

The Church of the Rising of The Holy Cross in Irkutsk, Russia, stands as a testament to the town’s spiritual and historical heritage. Constructed in the mid-18th century, this Orthodox church is a striking example of Siberian Baroque architecture. Its design, characterized by intricate details and vibrant colors, reflects the artistic fusion of European influences with traditional Russian aesthetics.

The history of the Church of the Rising of The Holy Cross is deeply intertwined with the cultural and religious fabric of Irkutsk. Originally built in wood, the church underwent several reconstructions before the present-day stone structure was completed in the late 18th century. It played a crucial role in the religious life of the community, providing a place of worship and reflection. Over the years, the church has weathered the challenges of time and witnessed the unfolding events of Irkutsk’s history, making it a symbol of resilience and continuity in the face of change. Today, visitors to Irkutsk can explore this architectural gem, marvel at its historical significance, and appreciate the spiritual ambiance it has maintained for centuries.

Trubetskoy House Museum

Trubetskoy House Museum

The Trubetskoy House Museum in Irkutsk, Russia, holds a unique connection to the history of the Decemberists, a group of Russian nobles who rebelled against Tsar Nicholas I in December 1825. Prince Sergey Petrovich Trubetskoy, a prominent figure in the Trubetskoy family, was actively involved in the Decemberist Revolt. As a leader of the Northern Society, Prince Trubetskoy played a crucial role in organizing the uprising, which ultimately sought constitutional reforms and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy.

Following the failure of the Decemberist Revolt, many of its leaders, including Prince Trubetskoy, faced severe consequences. Trubetskoy was sentenced to exile in Siberia, and it was during this period that he and other members of the Decemberist movement became associated with Irkutsk. The Trubetskoy House, now a museum, became a place of historical significance as it housed not only the remnants of aristocratic life but also bore witness to the political upheavals of the time.

Visitors to the Trubetskoy House Museum can explore the intersection of aristocratic history and the political turbulence of the Decemberist movement. The museum’s exhibits offer a comprehensive perspective on the family’s involvement in the revolt, providing a nuanced understanding of the complex socio-political dynamics that unfolded in 19th-century Russia. As such, the Trubetskoy House Museum stands as a living testament to both the opulence of Siberian nobility and the resilience of those who sought change during a transformative period in Russian history.


Address: ul Dzerzhinskogo 64

Museum of City Life

Museum of City Life

The Museum of City Life in Irkutsk serves as a captivating repository of the town’s rich history and cultural evolution. Housed within a building that itself carries a significant historical legacy, the museum provides a comprehensive glimpse into the everyday lives of Irkutsk’s residents throughout different epochs. Originally constructed in the 19th century, the building that now hosts the Museum of City Life has witnessed the changing landscapes of Irkutsk, surviving fires and urban development to become an integral part of the town’s architectural heritage.

The structure’s history is deeply intertwined with the growth of Irkutsk as a vital center in Siberia. Originally built as a merchant’s mansion, the building exemplifies Siberian architectural styles of the time, with its intricate wooden carvings and ornate detailing. Over the years, the edifice has been repurposed for various functions, including serving as a school and a Soviet-era communal apartment. Today, as the Museum of City Life, it houses an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that vividly narrate the story of Irkutsk’s development, making it a compelling destination for those eager to explore the cultural tapestry of this Siberian town.

Set right behind the Tourist Office at ul Dekabrskikh Sobyty 77.

Irkutsk Russia City History Museum

City History Museum

The City History Museum in Irkutsk, Russia, stands as a custodian of the town’s vibrant past, offering visitors a captivating journey through its historical evolution. Housed within an architecturally significant building, the museum provides a comprehensive narrative of Irkutsk’s development from its humble beginnings to its present-day status as a cultural hub in Siberia. The exhibits within the museum showcase a diverse range of artifacts, documents, and multimedia presentations, enabling visitors to delve into the various aspects of Irkutsk’s social, economic, and cultural history.

Originally established in the early 20th century, the City History Museum has undergone expansions and renovations, adapting to the changing needs of both the town and its residents. The building itself is often a reflection of the architectural styles prevalent in Irkutsk during different periods, contributing to the immersive experience of exploring the town’s history. From the indigenous Buryat people to the impact of trade and industry, the museum meticulously traces Irkutsk’s development, offering a nuanced understanding of the forces that have shaped this Siberian community over the years. Whether one is interested in the town’s architectural heritage, cultural traditions, or pivotal historical events, the City History Museum stands as a treasure trove of knowledge, inviting locals and tourists alike to connect with Irkutsk’s rich and multifaceted past.

On Frank-Kamenetskogo 16a

130 Kvartal (Precinct)

130 Kvartal (Precinct)

The 130 Kvartal, or Precinct, in Irkutsk, Russia, is a unique and vibrant quarter that serves as a testament to the town’s architectural and cultural diversity. Nestled in the historic part of Irkutsk, this precinct is a lively district comprised of streets filled with colorful Siberian-style wooden houses, charming courtyards, and an array of shops, cafes, and galleries. Each building in the 130 Kvartal has its own distinct character, reflecting a blend of architectural influences from different periods in Irkutsk’s history.

The 130 Kvartal is not just a collection of buildings; it’s a dynamic space that hosts various cultural events, festivals, and markets throughout the year. The precinct is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, offering a vibrant atmosphere where one can explore the local crafts, taste Siberian cuisine, and appreciate the arts. Whether strolling through the cobblestone streets, enjoying the outdoor performances, or discovering unique handmade crafts, visitors to the 130 Kvartal are immersed in the rich tapestry of Irkutsk’s cultural heritage, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic and lively experience in this Siberian town.

Eating & Drinking in Irkutsk Russa

Eating & Drinking

Irkutsk boasts several excellent bakeries where you can indulge in a delightful breakfast of coffee and croissants before embarking on your exploration of the city.

Throughout Russia, you’ll encounter stolovayas, or canteens, which once served as places where workers had simple meals during Soviet times. Today, these canteens have experienced a revival and are wonderful spots to savor dishes like plov (pilaf), Russian pancakes, or Pelmeni while mingling with locals during their lunch breaks.

In the evenings, consider visiting one of the local bars for pre-dinner drinks and savor a local beer, a cocktail, or a fine glass of wine. One standout spot we enjoyed was The Library Bar at 9 Ul. Kalandarishvili. Many of these bars also offer enticing bar food, so you can choose to dine in or venture to one of the city’s eateries for a taste of Shashlik.

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