These landmarks are the face, the soul and the memory of the city. Some of them have lived through difficult years, got old and rebuilt, and some of them are only beginning their story.

Together, they create the unique look and charm of Irkutsk that is not often felt by the hurrying crowd. To get a better feel of the city, take a stroll in the city center. Take a closer look at the older buildings, churches and museums. Treat yourself to a night of a good music or a theater performance. Start with these landmarks, and, perhaps, your first time in the city will be a beginning or a beautiful friendship.

Krestovozdvizhensky Church

This Siberian baroque architectural monument was built on the Krestovaya Mountain. The church is hard to miss. Elements of Orthodox, Buryat and Buddhist symbols merge into lush wall decorations, form complex patterns and stun the onlookers by their unusual elegance.

Krestovozdvizhensky Church
Krestovozdvizhensky Church

The church lures people like a decorated jewelry box, daring to see what’s inside. And when people walk in, the church amazes them again. This is the only church in Irkutsk that has preserved XVIII century interiors and iconostasis. During the Soviet regime, the church was a cathedral, an important architectural monument and an anti-religious museum. Nowadays, it is a working church that any tourist can visit to enjoy the views and take a break from the world outside.

Where to see it

When to see it

1, Sedov St., at the intersection 9:00 AM until late at night any day of the week

Irkutsk Regional Museum

The oldest museum in Siberia and the first provincial museum in Russia, Irkutsk Regional Museum has lived through difficult times. 97 years after its opening in December 1782, the museum was destroyed by a devastating fire and found a new home in 1883. Today, this Moorish-style building is a department devoted to the history of the museum. The studio museum and the nature department of the museum are a bit further on the same street, in another building that used to be a lithographic bookshop and a bookstore of Siberian publishers. The museum complex also includes a childrens’ center and a “Window to Asia” exposition department in the 130th quarter.

Irkutsk Regional Museum
Irkutsk Regional Museum

Irkutsk Regional Museum is a place where you will discover many curiosities, be they objects, documents, a unique collection of jade sculptures and decorations of the new Stone age or pictures of the cultural life of Siberian, Mongolian, Far-Eastern, Kamchatka, Chinese and Korean people. You can also order tours of Irkutsk and Baikal right in the museum.

Where to see it

When to see it

Department of History
2, Karl Marx St.
“Lenina” or “Philarmonia” bus stop
10:00–18:00 throughout the year and 11:00–19:00 in the summer, any day of the week except Monday
Department of Nature
11, Karl Marx St.
“Lenina” or “Philarmonia” bus stop
10:00–18:00 throughout the year and 11:00–19:00 in the summer, any day of the week except Monday
Studio Museum
13, Karl Marx St.
“Lenina” or “Philarmonia” bus stop
10:00–18:00 throughout the year and 11:00–19:00 in the summer, any day of the week except Monday
Children’s Museum Center
21B, 3-go Iuilya St.
130th Quarter, “Lenina”
or “Muzikalny Teatr” bus stops
10:00–18:00 any day of the week except Monday
“Window to Asia” exposition department
21, 3-go Iuilya St.
130th Quarter, “Lenina”
or “Muzikalny Teatr” bus stops
10:00–18:00 throughout the year and 11:00–19:00 in the summer, any day of the week except Monday
museum.irkutsk.ru

Okhlopkov Irkutsk drama theater

There is a Russian saying, “Every theater begins with a hanger”. However, Irkutsk theater begins with this pearl of urban architecture on Karl Marx street. The building was constructed in 1897 with a tiered scheme in mind. Today, Okhlopkov theater is a historical and cultural monument.

Okhlopkov Irkutsk drama theater
Okhlopkov Irkutsk drama theater

The theater is equally beautiful inside and out, and the halls have perfect acoustics. You’ll hear everything the actors say no matter where you sit. To get a better feel of the atmosphere of this wonderful place, take a stroll through the halls during the intermission, see the theater museum on the third floor and stop by the theater buffet.

Where to see it

When to see it

14, Karl Marx St., “Lenina” bus stop
dramteatr.ru
12:00 to 18:30 any day of the week

The Organ Hall

Made by a German company “Alexander Schuke”, Irkutsk pipe organ is one of the top-ten best organs in Russia. The organ hall building is no less remarkable. The building used to be a Roman Catholic Church, built in a late Gothic style which is not seen often in Siberia.

The Organ Hall
The Organ Hall

The first concert in the Organ Hall happened on November the 3rd in 1978. Since then, Russian and foreign musicians perform every week. If you want to enjoy the divine sounds of Bach’s favorite instrument, schedule a 90-minute appointment in your traveling schedule and go to a concert at 15:00 during the day or at 18:00 in the evening.

Where to see it

When to see it

1, Suche Bator St.,
“Skver Kirova” and “Gostinitsa Angara” bus stops
filarmoniya.irk.ru
12:00 to 19:00 any day of the week

Irkutsk datsan

The only Buddhist temple in Irkutsk is open to people of all faiths and nationalities. Come here to admire the exotic beauty of Buddhist structures, to meet the Lama and to get a wise recommendation.

Irkutsk datsan
Irkutsk datsan

As you enter the church, don’t forget to follow these ground rules. Take off your hat, speak calmly and quietly and either turn off your mobile or put it in a silent mode. If you want to take some pictures, get permission from the temple workers first. And if you get hungry, keep in mind that datsan prepares perfect buuzy — delicious steamed dumplings filled with meat.

Where to see it

When to see it

56B, Barrikad St.,
at the intersection of Barrikad and Zimnyaya streets, “Zimnyaya” and “Kinoteatr
irkdacan.ru
9:00 to 20:00 any day of the week

Irkutsk Museum of Decembrists

The Decembrists were Russian upper-class revolutionaries, exiled to Siberia and sentenced to penal servitude after the uprising of 1825. After some time, some of the Decembrists, such as Trubetskoy and Volkonsky princes, came to reside in Irkutsk.

The Museum of Decembrists consists of two manors with memorial houses of Trubetskoy and Volkonsky princes. The houses still keep the personal belongings of the Decembrists, such as books, the only working XVIII century pyramid piano in the world, skillful bead embroidery, and the Volkonsky princess poplar box that later belonged to Leo Tolstoy family.

Trubetskoy House Museum
Trubetskoy House Museum

“Lichtenthal”, the favorite piano of Volkonsky princess, is a star of all concerts and performances in the museum. Some annual events such as “Night in the Museum” and “Decembrist evenings” are held here as well. “Decembrist evenings” is a festival that shows thematic tours of the house and Volkonsky home theater performances.

Where to see it

When to see it

Trubetskoy House Museum
64, Dzerzhinsky St.,
“Muzey Dekabristov” bus stop
10:00 to 18:00, any day of the week except for Tuesday (in summer) and Wednesday (in the winter)
Volkonsky Manor
10, Volkonsky St.,
“Muzey Dekabristov” bus stop
10:00 to 18:00 any day of the week except for Monday

Shastin House

This landmark is also known as “Europa House” and “The Lace House”. The last name suits the building perfectly. Rich carved ornaments create the illusion that the house is decorated by fine lace.

Shastin House
Shastin House

The modern “Europa House” is a copy of a building that was constructed in the XIX century in the Russian baroque style. During the late nineties, Shastin wooden buildings were fully reconstructed from photographs and archive schematics. After the reconstruction, the French association of world heritage monuments conservation pressed for the building to enter the list of the protected world heritage. The estate has a tourist information office, a hotel, a café, a city life museum and a museum of tea.

Where to see it

When to see it

21, Friedrich Engels St.,
“Muzey Dekabristov” bus stop
10:00 to 20:00, any day of the week

Moskovskie Vorota

Restored to the 350th anniversary of Irkutsk, the triumphal arch is 20 meters from the place where the first arch stood. You can find the arch at the intersection of Moskvo-Laninskaya and Nizhnyaya Naberezhnaya streets.

Moskovskie Vorota
Moskovskie Vorota

From 1813 until the end of the XIX century, everyone who came to Irkutsk registered at this arch. Over time, the building decayed and the walls began to crumble. The triumphal arch needed serious renovation work. However, Russian revolution of 1917 put renovation out of the question. In 1925, the arch was demolished. The city regained its triumphal arch only in 2011. Today, the arch is a prominent landmark, always standing surrounded by tourists and newlyweds.

Where to see it

When to see it

Nizhnyaya Naberezhnaya St. 24/7

Alexander the Third monument

A monument to the Russian emperor, whose decree marked the beginning of the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, has difficult fate. After the opening ceremony in 1908, this magnificent architectural sculpture adorned the city for only 12 years. In 1920, the statue was demolished. A monument to the Siberian pioneers was set in its place in 1964.

Alexander the Third monument
Alexander the Third monument

This monument stood proud until 2003. And then, on the centenary of the Trans-Siberian railway, a reincarnation of the old model of the statue finally returned to its place. The area around the monument is full of life. The monument is a meeting place, a place to take pictures, a starting point of marathons, a center of the Blowing Bubbles Day and a perfect spot to launch fireworks.

Where to see it

When to see it

Gagarin Boulevard 24/7

The monument to Kolchak

Kolchak was a polar explorer, an Admiral, the political leader of the White Movement during the Russian Civil War and a Supreme Ruler and Commander-in-Chief of All Russian Land and Sea Forces. This monument to Kolchak is the first one in Russia, built on 4th of November 2004, the 130th anniversary of Kolchak’s birth.

The monument to Kolchak
The monument to Kolchak

The fate of the Admiral is inextricably linked with Irkutsk. Irkutsk was a place where Kolchak married, gave lectures about his polar research and bid his farewells before going on the war with Japan. Irkutsk was also a place where he died. This 4.5 meter high monument stands near the place where the admiral was shot to death on the February morning of 1920. The pedestal of the monument shows the reliefs of two soldiers of the Red and the White Armies. Vyachesvlav Klykov, the author of the monument, explains that the lowered rifles of the soldiers express “the idea of cessation of the fratricidal civil war and the reconciliation of artificially divided society”.

Where to see it

When to see it

Angarskaya St., near Znamensky monastery, “Remeslennoe Uchilishe” bus stop 24/7

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1 COMMENT

  1. Your website is very helpful. My first day in Irkutsk and I have a great impression. I have heard many travellers speak well of their visit here and I would come back if it was easy to get to from Bangkok or Hong Kong.

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