Historical center of Irkutsk

This page presents a map of the historical center of the Siberian city Irkutsk. Different colours denote six historical zones of the city with the largest number of historical and cultural monuments. In each zone you can get acquainted with some most valuable and interesting monuments. Within several minutes you will see the changes that in real life took many, many years.


Historical sketch

Irkutsk is one of the oldest cities of Russia. It was founded as a winter house in the mouth of the Irkuts River. In 1661 Yakov Pokhabov and his people built a fortress on the high Angara bank opposite the place where the Irkut River falls into Angara. The destiny of Irkutsk was predetermined by its favorable geographical position. Being on the important colonization and trade routes connecting the European part of Russia with China, Mongolia and the Russian Far East, Irkutsk quickly grew and developed. As early as in 1686 it was awarded the title of the city.



Siberia was the main supplier of fir, the main valuable product for the foreign trade. In the XVIIIth century the first industrial enterprises appear in Irkutsk: mills, breweries, soap factories, tanneries. There were many craftsmen in the city. Population was engaged in trade, transportation, fishing, cereals growing and fire wood production. In 1840s Irkutsk becomes a gold mining center of Siberia. Construction of the Trans-Siberian railway strengthened the economic and cultural ties of the Siberian city with the European part of Russia, its role of the administrative center of a large region increased.

At present Irkutsk is among the largest cities of the Russian Federation and has the status of one of the seven cities having a unique historical and cultural heritage. Its population is more than 700 thousand people. It is an administrative, business, scientific and cultural center that has more than ten thousand mills of different scale, a Branch of the Siberian Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences with a number of scientific institutions, a university and some higher educational institutions that train about 80 thousand students.

Irkutsk is a Siberian city in which old log houses with wooden laces neighbor modern multi-storey buildings. It has a Drama Theatre and a Musical theatre, a Theatre for Young People, a concert hall with a symphony orchestra, an organ hall. The Irkutsk Museum of Regional Studies, one of the oldest in Russia, has rich archeological and ethnographic collections. A Museum of Arts created on the base of a private collection has been here for about 120 years. Works by Irkutsk writers Konstantin Sedykh, Alexander Vampilov, Mark Sergeev, Valentin Rasputin are well known outside Russia.

As Valentin Rasputin said, ‘Here Irkutsk is standing, quietly and wisely, grown wise with the life and history, aware of its value, fairly famous both for its previous and present day glory, fairly timid, cultural since old times and traditionally hospitable... here Irkutsk is standing, endowed with severe memory of its wood and stone, gazing with love and surprise at the deeds of its present-day citizens that make its 700-thousand population, motherly protecting them from heat and cold, giving them life, shelter, job, Motherland and eternity”.

Sergei Medvedev