Irkutsk was founded in 1651 and served as the trading and administrative center of Eastern Siberia in the 18-19th centuries. Irkutsk was the base for expeditions to the far north and east including Alaska. The central Irkutsk is packed with old churches and 19th century architecture.

The 1718 eye-catching Epiphany Cathedral.

To the founders of Irkutsk.

The 1706 Saviour's Church.

The WWII memorial is right behind the Saviour's Church.

This former catholic church now houses a concert hall.

In 1920 the White Army Commander Admiral Kolchak (see also Omsk) was caught and executed in Irkutsk close to the 1689 Znamensky Monastery. The monument to him was erected in 2004 next to the entrance to the monastery.

The Sign of the Cross Church in the monastery was built in 1762.

The tomb of Grigory Shelekhov, the man who claimed Alaska for Russia.

A statue of Tsar Alexander III stands on the riverfront. It is an exact copy of the 1904 original.

The Irkutsk Oblast administration.

Irkutsk streetscapes.

The Angara River splits Irkutsk into two big parts.

The mascot of Irkutsk - a mythical animal named babr.

In the end of the Lenin Street visitors can enjoy a replica of the 19th century Irkutsk.

Truly old homes can still be found in backyards and side streets.

The 1758 Raising of the Cross Church is richly decorated with intricate brickwork.

The 1795 Transfiguration Church.

lystvyanka - листвянка

The village of Lystvyanka conveniently situated on the Lake Baikal shore is just one hour drive from Irkutsk. Crystal-clear and cold Lake Baikal contains one-fifth of the planet's fresh water. Listvyanka offers an inspiring view of Lake Baikal, surrounding mountains and the Angara River source. The Angara is the only river that flows out of Lake Baikal. Conversely, 336 small rivers flow into Baikal.

The Legend of Baikal Hotel is located at the source of the Angara.

Straight ahead - Lake Baikal, to the right - the mouth of the Angara River.

The Mayak Hotel stands right across the moorage where you can hire a comfortable boat for a day long pleasure cruise.

The upper floor of the Mayak Hotel houses a restaurant with a magnificent view of the lake.

Views of the distant snow-capped Kamar Daban Mountains on the opposite shore of Lake Baikal.

Charles Veley the Most Traveled People founder enjoys Lystvyanka and Lake Baikal. May 21, 2010.

taltsy - тальцы

Taltsy is an open air museum of wooden architecture located on the way from Irkutsk to Listvyanka. About 40 km from Irkutsk and 20 km from Listvyanka. It is advisable to make a 1-2 hour stop to take a stroll in pine forest and make photos of wooden buildings.