Irkutsk, Siberia, Russia

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Church of Our Lady of Kazan

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.

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We found the best AirBNB withe the most beautiful bedroom

 

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Kochevnik for a Mongolian lunch

 

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Inside

 

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Mongolian beer, of course

 

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“Gobi Desert Wind”, an assortment of meat and vegetables with a spicy house sauce

 

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Homemade buuzas

 

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Lamb and Mongolian flatbread

After lunch we went for a long walk exploring the wooden architecture specific only to Irkutsk.

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After viewing the Siberian wooden architecture, we walked along the river, visiting Kirov Square and seeing all of the famous churches.

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Kirov Square

 

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Kirov Square

 

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The Spasskaya Church of our Savior, the oldest stone building in Irkutsk

 

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Bogoyavlensky Cathedral which was turned into a pastry factory during the Soviet Union times

 

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Angara River

 

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Sculpture on the river walk

 

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Triumphal Arch of Moscow

 

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More wooden houses along the way

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The Transfiguration Church, closely connected to the Decembrists

 

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Monument to the Decembrists’ Wives

 

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Volonsky Manor House

 

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Trubetskoy Manor House

 

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Irkutsk Coat of Arms, and old symbol of Dauria – a Siberian tiger with a sable in its mouth

 

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Rassolnik for dinner

 

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Georgian wine

 

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Potato pancakes with dill and sour cream

 

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Koen’s pate

 

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Bowl of rassolnik: a soup from pickles, barley and beef

 

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My Siberian apple dessert

 

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Koen’s kasha ice cream

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