On your way to Lake Baikal you should definitely visit Irkutsk.
On the banks of the majestic river Angara there is one of the largest cities in Siberia – Irkutsk. The history of the city began with the founding of the prison in 1661.
What should you see and do in Irkutsk?
1. The Symbol of the City – “Lace House”
Admire the example of Russian baroque, the “lace house” which was built in the late XIX century. The structure amazes with the refinement of its carved wooden ornaments and amazing intricate carving.
Here the office of the House of Europe is housed.
2. Visit the Epiphany Cathedral, an Example of Siberian Baroque
This is the first cathedral built in the city. The cathedral damaged in a fire in 1716 was reconstructed as early as 1718. The stone building that has survived to the present day and is an excellent example of Siberian architecture. The decor of the cathedral is a mixture of Buddhist art, the southern Russian ornaments and ancient Russian architecture.
3. See Lake Baikal
The distance from Irkutsk to Listvyanka village on the shores of Lake Baikal is only 65 km.
You can get here by car non-stop in 40 minutes. But make sure not to pass the museum of wooden architecture “Taltsy”:
4. Do not Miss the Show of Ringed Seals!
It doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. Baikal ringed seals are unique and they simply do not survive away from their habitat. New show starts every 45 minutes. Amazing ringed seals have learned to dance, sing and even … draw. It is a very good luck to buy such a drawing.
A touching display of affection:
5. Check out the House of Prince Sergey Volkonsky
In 1985, in the house where the famous Russian Prince Sergey Volkonsky lived during his exile the Museum of the Decembrists was opened. The building is completely covered with carvings. Inside – the decor of the 19th century. Here you will see the world’s only pyramidal piano, made in Germany in the late 18th century. This instrument helped the Volkonsky couple to survive the years of exile.
It took 11 years to renovate the piano. Now it is played during musical and literary evenings.
6. Try the Siberian Cuisine
A cozy cafe “Mamochka” offers dished only from Russian cuisine: delicious borscht, pelmeni, pancakes. And in the restaurant “Dali” the chef will delight you with Buryat dishes.
Take a walk through the streets of Irkutsk and fall in love with it forever.