Trying to find best things to do and see in Irkutsk, Russia is not that hard. Why? Simply because there are a lot of things to see and do here in this city. From nature, architecture, to religious sites, you can make your own choice of places to visit in Irkutsk easily. However, these 9 places are the must-go for you when you’re in Irkutsk, you should even give a try to beautiful places in Russia people rarely visit.
1. Bogoyavlensky Cathedral
Irkutsk is known for its architecture and artsy building. One of the place you should visit to enjoy the architecture is this cathedral located in Sukhe-Batora street, Irkutsk. This Cathedral was built in 1693, right at the heart of the city Irkutsk. In 1716, this Cathedral was burned in a fire and the reconstruction started about 2 years later. All new, all done properly around 11 years after the construction started.
It has a unique and mesmerizing design and details that will amuse you. If you see it from Angara river at night, it will look like Old Russian tower. At the top it’s crowned with a hipped bell tower. The wall is dominated with white color and unique, colorful ornaments. Just the right combination of Baroque and old Russian décor, the Cathedral looks stunning. You can simply take a bus from the airport and walk for few minutes to reach this historical place and get lost.
2. Visit Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal has been established as one of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1996 for its undescribeable beauty and wonder. Located in the southern Siberia, this place has become the pearl of Russia. It’s also known as the oldest, the deepest, and clearest freshwater lake in the world. 20% of the freshwater can be found here in Lake Baikal, home for many unique creatures, as well as lake Baikal as the deepest and weirdest lake. You wouldn’t want to miss out on this famous lake that everyone want to see and visit. Of course, if you got time to visit Irkutsk, you should definitely give this place a go. You can enjoy the ambience and get immersed in the beautiful view of the nature. It’s definitely one of the place you should visit in Russia to see the beautiful scenery.
3. Enjoy the seal show
If you visit Irkutsk and decided to go to Lake Baikal, which is the home for unique creatures, yu should not miss seeing the Baikal ringed seal in Vtoraya Zheleznodorozhnaya street. This seal is also the symbol of Lake Baikal. It’s timid, so if you want to see them you should go to Irkutsk Nerpinarium. There’s where they provide habitat that’s similar to Baikal and train the seal to sing, dance, play, and even count. Bring your children along to let them learn more about animals and have some fun with the show.
4. Visit Icebreaker Angara Museum
Want to pay a visit to a museum but trying to look for a different one? The Icebreaker Angara was the second icebreaker to transport goods on Lake Baikal. Practically, we can say that it’s the oldest and the only icebreaker left in Russia. It’s open from 11am to 7 pm everyday.
After restoration, being cleaned from dirt, this place finally opened as museum of maritime history in 1991. There you can see the Baikal ships, photographs and documents related to Angara. After all, you can put this in your itinerary if you want to visit an unusual museum, although it might not be the most popular museums to visit in Russia.
5. Get immersed in Pribaikalskiy National Park
You don’t really fancy art-thingy or architecture sightseeing? Nature lovers shouldn’t miss out on this national park which is also one of the components of UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lake Baikal. The park is open throughout the year, where you can enjoy the beauty of nature along with the animal and birds that inhabit this place.
There are 150 permanent streams and rivers which all flow to the lake. You can also climb onto the cliff and get the most beautiful shot of the view underneath. You can not only enjoy the view, you can easily found a great variations of creatures here, such as ground squirrel, Mongolian herring gulls, and so much more. You can say that this is one of the most notable places in Russia for fishing a lot variety of fishes.
6. Walk around the city
You can simply have a walk around the city of beautiful buildings here in Irkutsk. This might sound simple and modest, but you’ll later found out that this is one of the best things to do and see in Irkutsk, Russia. The wood-dominated architecture of the buildings here, good food and ambience could be great, especially when you’re with your loved ones. You can take city photographs to take home. A very simply yet super fun activities to do that will not cost that much.
7. Try going to the Church of Our Lady of Kazan
Built on July 1885, this Cathedral construction was finished and officially opened 7 years later. It’s a multi-tiered Siberian Baroque style church that’s dominated the red brick color with accent of blue. This is recognized as one of the most beautiful cathedral in Irkutsk that you should definitely go to. The original icon of this church was brought to Russia from Contantinople.
8. Volkonsky House-Museum
This house-museum opened at 1985. It has gone through restorations before it was opened. It’s a house belonged to Count Sergei Volkonsky. The house was the center of social life in Irkutsk in 1840. We can know this from the story that hhis family tells. Volkonsky was a member of the Decembrist, political exile, prisoners, who denied permission to return to Western Russia.
You can visit and see the dining room staircase, even the exhibition room upstairs where you can find the potraits of the wives. Now, you can even enjoy musical performances in the drawing room to let you imagine the life back then a lot better.
9. Noosphere Museum and Planetarium
If you want to try an experience of stargazing, you can try going to this modern museum. The stargazing sessions are taking place each empty moon period. Enjoying the view of the clear dark sky surrounded by the taiga, you can enjoy your night with a lot of unforgettable memories.
It’s quite different from the other attraction here in Irkutsk, but it’s enjoyable although being a little bit pricey. Make sure you prepare your budget and set the time of visit properly before going there and enjoy the visit with family, friends, lovers, or even alone.
You can choose where to go based on your own preferences, but after you know what are the best things to do and see in Irkutsk, Russia, you will have absolutely no problem planning your holiday to Russia. You can enjoy from nature, art, and even city sightseeing here in Irkutsk. Lake Baikal? That’s only one of the tons of attraction you can find in Irkutsk.