Irkutsk has plenty to offer tourists from lavishly decorated churches and houses with stunning hand-carved ornaments, to several local museums featuring a number of exhibitions on history art and Siberian culture. The city has a vibrant theatre scene and the Okhlopkov Drama Theatre is one of the oldest in Russia. Major points of interest are within close proximity of each other, so that sight-seeing can easily be done on foot. However, it can also be worthwhile to plan trips out of town. About 47 kilometres south there is an open-air museum for traditional Siberian architecture and Lake Baikal is a popular destination for a retreat. Here, we have selected a few of the best things to do in Irtkutsk:
1) Spasskaya Church
The Spasskaya (The Saviour) Church is one of Irkutsk's most well-know sites, located in the heart of the city. The church is an enduring symbol of Siberian culture, withstanding fires, earthquakes and conflict, and is home to a variety of unique religious paintings and iconography from the Russian Orthodox Church.
Spasskaya Church, Irkutsk
2) Irkutsk Museum of Local Lore
The Irkutsk Museum of Local Lore is one of the oldest museums in Russia. Founded in 1782, the museum was considered a center for the study of Siberia and neighbouring territories. The museum is structured into 8 departments including history, nature and local events and regularly hosts new exhibitions for the 300,000+ tourists who visit each year.
3) Okhlopkov Drama Theatre
The oldest theatre in Eastern-Siberia started in 1851, the Okhlopkov Drama theatre is one of the best places to visit in Irkutsk for entertainment. This ornately-decorated theatre was originally constructed from wood and was subsequently destroyed by fire until it was reconstructed in stone in 1897. Okhlopkov theatre is renowned for its drama and brings Shakespeare and traditional Russian fairy-tales to the stage.
View our Irkutsk excursion page for a full list of things to do in Irkutsk.