Most tourists will probably want to visit Lake Baikal, the world's oldest, deepest lake and an astonishing reserve of freshwater on planet earth. I went by boat from Raketa port (close to the Angara steamship at the south of Irkutsk) at 9am, returning at 6.30pm.
The nearest stop, one hour away, is the small town of Listvyanka (also reachable by bus from the bus station of Irkutsk city) where lakeside cafes and restaurants flank the beautiful wooden huts of the Siberian countryside. In range of different colours and sizes, one full day is enjoyable here but if you've time and money, an overnight stay or even longer to stay and enjoy the freshest of locations I'd imagine would be time well spent. Trek and hike, or rent bicycles from the tourist information centre. The port also has a good and cheap market with souvenirs.
The museum/aquarium to the west and stair lift to the hilltop lookout is a must as is the walk through the town. Stray from the road and enjoy the log cabins.
Kayaking and other water sports are also available. Connections to other parts of the lake also available.
Karl Marx Street is the central and one of the most beautiful streets in the city. Almost perfectly straight it starts at Angara embankment near the monument to Alexander III, crosses Lenin Street and extends for two kilometers.
Architects from St. Petersburg attended in the design of most buildings. That is why the street has the atmosphere and appearance of the northern capital of Russia. You will find there a plenty of fashion shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and cinemas.
Irkutsk is also home to several theaters, including the Okhlopkov Drama Theater, one of Russia's oldest theatres.
After reconstruction the theater became one of the best technical equipment in Russia. The stage is equipped with a computer-controlled all the mechanisms and the most up to date sound and light equipment.
The mansion was built by Sibiriakov in 1800 - 1804, and even then it was a bright ornament of the city. The palace was built in style of Russian classicism. The authorship usually attributed to Giacomo Quarenghi.
In the first days of Soviet power is housed the Central Executive Committee of Soviets in Siberia, the newspaper "Izvestia Tsentrosibir" Military Revolutionary Committee, the headquarters of the Red Guard.
Since 1939 here is the research library of the Irkutsk State University.
You can watch my 3 min 41 sec Video Irkutsk Angara slide show out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
The House Officers – the former Kalyginsky Palace built by architect Kudelsky in 1878. Christina Kalygina used it as a public library, a theater for amateur performances, for selling books, balls and evening entertainment. In 1930 it was transferred to the Red Army.
The building houses the Museum of Military Glory. It was founded in 1975 to the 30th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War.
You will see a great exposition of weaponry in the yard of the house.
The building, built in 1883, is an architecture monument and one of the oldest museums in Russia. The two-story building that resembles a castle with towers, was designed by a design engineer Baron G. Rosen. The museum is located on the corner of the Karl Marx Street and the Gagarin Boulevard, surrounded by monuments of the first half of XIX century.
This bronze sculpture by N.Tomsky appeared in 1952. It’s a copy of the original sculpture that had been made in 1940 for Voronezh and repeated - for Leningrad, Vilnius, and later for Irkutsk. It's still traditional for Russian cities and towns. I think 40 years (since 1991 when the USSR disappeared) have to pass until Lenin's sculptures leave their pedestals...
Think over the names of the streets where the monument is located – the intersection of the Lenin Street and the Karl Marx Street.
You can watch my 5 min 03 sec Video Irkutsk slide-show part 3 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
The first stone church at the entrance to the Jerusalem cemetery was built by the merchant M. Sibiryakov in 1793 - 1795. By the middle of the XIX century the Church decayed significantly and was partly destroyed by an earthquake. In 1820 the construction of the new stone Jerusalem Church began. It was carried out very slowly and was finished only in 1830.
It's located on the Fighters for the Revolution street.
You will see the Monument to the Fighters for the Revolution close to it.
You can watch my 2 min 51 sec Video The Wooden Irkutsk part 4 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
This monument is the only sculpture art that remained from the pre-revolutionary times in Irkutsk. The Monument to the founder of the Great Trans-Siberian Railway was built in 1908 on people's money.
On 4 sides of the monument were placed bronze sculpture portraits of people who have done a lot for the exploration and development of Siberia. On the east side - the two-headed eagle, holding a scroll in its claws paws - the royal edict, which the emperor ordered to proceed to the construction of the Great Siberian way.
In 1920 the monument was removed and melted down. The Pedestal was empty during 43 years.
Only in 2002, it was decided to restore the historical justice. The bronze sculpture of Alexander III Alexander III in height of about 5m was restored and re-cast in St. Petersburg.
In October 2003, the re-cast figure of Tsar Alexander III was triumphantly returned to the pedestal of the monument. The total height of the monument with the pedestal was 13,5 m.
The church was laid in 1747.
In 1860 the old porch was replaced with two-story porch in the Empire style. Successful placement of the church on the hill, at the intersection of the main streets of the city, provides an exciting perception of the historic quarter.
The temple is decorated with complex geometric patterns.
You can watch my 2 min 14 sec Video The Wooden Irkutsk part 3 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
At night of 6 to 7 February 1920 in the vicinity of the Znamensky Monastery the Supreme Ruler of Russia Alexander Kolchak was shot.
In November of 2004 there was established the Russia's first monument to the Admiral at the site of the execution of Alexander Kolchak near Monastery.
The sculpture is of more than 5 meters.
Alaska explorer Grigory Ivanovich Shelekhov(1747-1795) is buried in the Znamensky Monastery.
He was a Russian seafarer and merchant born in Rylsk. In 1783–1786 he led an expedition to the shores of Russian America, during which they founded the first permanent Russian settlements in North America.
You can watch my 2 min 48 sec Video The Wooden Irkutsk part 2 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
The Znamensky Women Monastery (Our Lady of the Sign Monastery) is one of the oldest monasteries in Siberia (three-centuries old), located at the Right shore district of Irkutsk city at the confluence of the Angara River and the Ushakovka River.
Since 1991 relics of St. Innocent Kulchitsky were buried at the church. Since 1994 the ceremony of vows nuns was revived. The monastery has a necropolis, the burials of Princess Trubetskaya and children Trubetsky.
You can watch my 1 min 46 sec Video Irkutsk slide-show part 2 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
This very unusual for Russia and Irkutsk Gothic stone church was built in 1884 on the site of the burned in a large fire wooden church. In the 1980's the church gained the specially designed concert organ of the German company. The Organ Hall was opened inside the church for Philharmonic concerts. Irkutsk among the three Russian cities revived the Roman Catholic Parish of the Assumption of the Virgin.
Since then the church is used for religious and cultural purposes simultaneously.
On the ground floor of the two-story church building you will see the chapel for daily liturgy.
This Orthodox Church was built in 1718–1746. It was situated at the foot of the Irkutsk prison. Today it is located in the historical center of Irkutsk. It’s the second oldest stone building in the city. The Bell Tower was built in 1797.
You may climb the Tower but only in Easter week.
There is the miracle-working icon of the Kazan Virgin in the church.