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 drama theatre.

The Angara Hotel.

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.

The 1777 Archangel Michael Church.

The 1830 Entry to Jerusalem Church.

IRKUTSK oblast -  ИРКУТСКая область

listvyanka -  листвянка

The village of Listvyanka conveniently situated on the Lake Baikal shore is just one hour drive from Irkutsk. 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 source 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 Listvyanka and Lake Baikal. May 21, 2010.

taltsy -  тальцы

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

lake baikal cruise

A well equipped motor boat with onboard sauna, chef, good food, good service can be arranged in Listvyanka for a 24-hour cruise to spend a night in a nearby deserted bay or a week cruise to sail all over the lake. The cost is $1,000 - $1,500 a day all inclusive.

Paul Clites of Houston, TX, USA is enjoying his Baikal cruise in June 2018.

Don Moes of Waco, TX, USA is enjoying his Baikal cruise in July 2016.

A dingy is available for landings in shallow places.

Charles Veley of San Francisco, CA, USA is enjoying his Baikal cruise in May 2010.

On the way to a remote bay to overnight we call at the village of Bolshoe Goloustnoe to catch a glimpse of local life.

Then we drop anchor in a scenic bay where there is no one to interfere with your sunbathing.

The very southern tip of Lake Baikal.

ust-orda -  усть-ордынский

The small town of Ust-Ordynsky is a Buryat enclave within Irkutsk Oblast. In 1993-2007 it was a separate administrative entity. On January 1, 2008 Ust-Orda Buryat Autonomy was incorporated to Irkutsk Oblast. The town is 62 km north of Irkutsk. A half a day trip if you have nothing better to do.

A Buddhist datsan in the vicinity of Ust-Ordynsky.

Positions of the Communist party of Russia seem to be strong here. Placards mark the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian revolution.