Bogoyavlensky Cathedral

I arrived in Irkutsk from Krasnoyarsk after almost a whole day of travel by train. I didn’t stop immediately in the city, but I went directly to Lake Baikal for a two-day excursion.

Upon returning from the lake, I had the opportunity to spend a day in Irkutsk, before leaving on the Trans-Siberian Railway, for the last stop in Russia.

Irkutsk and Lake Baikal were my sixth stop along the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian Railway with departure from Moscow and destination Beijing.

We are about 4300 km away as the crow flies from Moscow. Over 5000 km of railway behind us.


Irkutsk in a nutshell


The following is an interactive map. The brown pins mark some of Irkutsk’s main points of interest, the black ones mark the railway station and the Hotel Yakovlev where I stayed.

The orange pins mark two restaurants where we stopped: Khinkalnaya and Mamai. Both are located on Irkutsk food mile, and it was for me a random choice. I recommend them if you don’t know where to go.


Must-sees


Just like Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan, Irkutsk lies at the confluence of two rivers: Irkut and Angara. Along the Trans-Siberian Railway route, Irkutsk is definitely one of the tourist-friendly cities I have visited, thanks to the near Lake Baikal, which makes this city a perfect place to stop.

Visiting Irkutsk on foot is quite easy, thanks to the green line drawn on the sidewalks that leads the tourist to all the main attractions of the city along a guided route. This is common in Russia. In Yekaterinburg, there were two colored lines to follow, one red and the other blue; in Novosibirsk, the line was red.

In Irkutsk, each point of interest along the green line is numbered, and an informative plate is placed near it.

Sightseeing - Green line

Sightseeing – Green line


Moscow Gate


The Moscow Gate is a Triumphal Arch located near the riverside. I recommend visiting the whole area because there are several statues, sculptures, and other small attractions here.

Moscow Gate - Triumphal Arch

Moscow Gate – Triumphal Arch


Bogoyavlensky Cathedral


A mix of colorful towers built in different styles distinguishes this Cathedral, one of the most famous in Irkutsk.

Bogoyavlensky Cathedral

Bogoyavlensky Cathedral


Memorial Park


A large number of the city’s attractions are located in and around this park. Some of them are:

Church of the Savior


Church of Our Lady of the Assumption

Easy to recognize because it is a Roman Catholic Church and, for this reason, has a different architectural style. For example, its towers, unlike the Orthodox ones, are not onion-shaped.


Kazan Chapel


House of Soviets

A big administrative building built in the Soviet-style.

House of Soviets

House of Soviets


Eternal Flame

It is a war memorial placed right in the center of the park in front of the House of Soviets.


Kirov Square


Not far from the previous park, this square is also surrounded by several historic buildings, built in different architectural styles. There is a Tourist-Infopoint quite in the middle of the square.

Mdm Bank Building

Mdm Bank Building


Karl Marx Street


Another touristic highlight, it is worth doing this road entirely on foot because many historical buildings, museums, monuments, and sculptures are located here. Some of them worth the mention:

Irkutsk Regional Museum of Local Lore

It immediately catches the eye because it was set up in a 1700s Palace built with red bricks in Victorian style and recently renovated.


Irkutsk State Science Library


Lenin Monument


Drama Theater

Drama Theater

Drama Theater

Khudozhestvennyy Cinema

Khudozhestvennyy Cinema

Khudozhestvennyy Cinema


Wooden Houses


In Irkutsk, there are small neighborhoods almost entirely made up of old traditional wooden houses. Some of these are crumbling, sometimes they seem abandoned. Others are in excellent condition or have been recently restored.

Wooden Houses District

Wooden Houses District

These buildings are very distinctive, and it is worth taking a walk here.

Wooden Houses District

Wooden Houses District

If I am not wrong, there are several settlements of this type in Irkutsk, but I have marked only one on the map above: it is where I have been, and unfortunately, I do not have additional information.

I was fascinated by this architecture. For this reason, I have put here more photos than in the paragraphs above, where I just listed some attractions.

Wooden Houses District

Wooden Houses District


Church of the Holy Cross


It is a church built in the Siberian Baroque style that dates back to 1700.

Cattedrale della Santa Croce

Cattedrale della Santa Croce


Babr


This sculpture represents the Siberian Tiger (Babr, half-tiger, and half-beaver), one of the Irkutsk landmarks. You find it right at the entrance of the food mile.

Babr, the Siberian Tiger

Babr, the Siberian Tiger


Other buildings or places of interest


Kazan Church

It is a beautiful and colorful church built in the Byzantine style. Unfortunately, it is not centrally located, and I was unable to visit it.


Monument to Yuriy Gagarin

The first human to journey into outer space. A bust on the Irkutsk riverside is dedicated to him.


Circus of Irkutsk

The classic circus building of many Russian cities.


Monument to Leonid Gaidai

It is a sculpture in memory of one of the most famous Soviet directors, screenwriters, and actors. The monument is located near the circus and is surrounded by several administrative and government buildings.

Monument to Leonid Gaidai

Monument to Leonid Gaidai

After the visit of Irkutsk, the last Russian stop awaits me before getting on the Trans-Mongolian Railway towards Beijing. It will be a short journey, about 8 hours by train, from Irkutsk to Ulan-Ude. The arrival is expected at around 5 am.

Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian Railway – All you need to know

Travel arrangementsGeneral Information
Departure stationMoscow
First stopNizhny Novgorod
Second stopKazan
Third stopYekaterinburg
Fourth StopNovosibirsk
Fifth stopKrasnoyarsk and Stolby Nature Sanctuary
Sixth stopLake Baikal
Seventh stopIrkutsk
Eighth stopUlan-Ude
Ninth stopUlaanbaatar
Tenth stopDatong
Arrival stationBeijing

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