Arrival in Irkutsk. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. After a short break and rest, take a guided city tour to discover this appealing Siberian settlement. Irkutsk was founded in the middle of the seventeenth century and is now famous for its great number of wooden architecture buildings and monuments preserved in the town. Also, it is a gate to Lake Baikal—the largest fresh water lake in the world, containing twenty percent of our planet’s fresh waters. In fact, the Irkutsk historic centre is one huge open air museum! Irkutsk is located on the banks of the mighty Angara river and was once used as a place of exile for revolutionary noble men from St. Petersburg and Moscow, for their participation in riots or civil disobedience. The biggest in Irkutks’ history new arrival happened after the famous Decemberists riot against the tsar in December 1825 where some of high-profile rebels ended up travelling to Siberia with wives and families. Decembriest aimed to eliminate the monarchy in Russia.
The high concentration of noble, well-educated inhabitants in this remote corner of Siberia gradually changed Irkutsk and its appearance. As a result, we can now spend a day walking the streets and not come across two homes that are alike! Every house is completely unique and represents quite an original Siberian style. Classic stone architecture is of the “Siberian Paris” style—Russian nobles spoke French and preferred France to any other country. Our schedule today is flexible; your guide will recommend authentic local restaurants to try Siberian dishes: Siberian “manty” (dumplings) and pancakes, Baikal fish and traditional Russian soups.