If you plan on taking the Trans-Siberian or Trans-Mongolian Express and plan to stop in Siberia, Irkutsk is the city most recommended. Irkutsk is full of history and is just an hour away from Lake Baikal. It’s also nicknamed the “Paris of Siberia”.
Irkutsk wasn’t my favorite city, but it has its charms. You can tell the city used to be very lively and exciting, but now it has the feeling of being forgotten – hauntingly beautiful. There are wooden buildings everywhere, slowly collapsing into the ground and many beautiful churches, including the Church of Our Lady of Kazan with its red exterior and turquoise domes.
The Decembrists were exiled to Siberia in 1825 after the revolt and their influence can be found throughout the city. You can still visit the houses of the Volonsky and Trubetskoy families.
After lunch we went for a long walk exploring the wooden architecture specific only to Irkutsk.
After viewing the Siberian wooden architecture, we walked along the river, visiting Kirov Square and seeing all of the famous churches.