Irkutsk and Listvyanka :: Siberia, Russia :: Fshoq! Travel Blog

My Trans Siberian Railway Trip #4: Irkutsk and Listvyanka

Wooden Houses in Irkutsk

We got to Irkutsk, just 72 kilometers from the Baikal lake! In this article, I will show you what to see in this awesome wooden city and how to get to the Listvyanka town, the nearest town where you can see the biggest lake in the world. But beware - this small town is a real money thief. This is the fourth article about my Trans-Siberian railway journey, so if you want, you can also read about interesting places in Moscow, the awesome city of Yekaterinburg and the most boring one - Novosibirsk.

This time we are in the real Siberia! I will write here about the most interesting places and tourist attractions in Irkutsk and then we will get a bus and will go to Listvyanka, the nearest town over the Baikal lake. Let's begin!

Irkutsk

If someone asked me how would I describe the city in one sentence, my answer would be that Irkutsk kept the flair of the 19th century with a few early 90s turbulent. And this is exactly how I felt wandering the streets. The city center is full of wooden houses with interesting decorative carvings on the window frames and walls. It is a rare opportunity to see it even in Russia because most of that kind of houses were destroyed during the industrialization in the 20th century.

Wooden houses in 130 Kvartal, Irkutsk

130 Kvartal

If you don't know how to find all those beautiful old wooden cottages and houses, it's name is 130 Kvartal (not very romantic name, right?).

It can be found south of the Raising of the Cross Church and you can find here a lot of cafes, restaurants, and museums. The interesting fact is that you can find here the only one real 21st-century shopping mall.

Interesting information: Not all these buildings are originally from Irkutsk. Some of this wooden houses in 130 Kvartal were transported here from other locations and some are fake, build nowadays as tourist attractions.

Museum in Volkonsky House

Volkonsky house is a small mansion with stables, a barn, and servant quarters in brown, blue an white colors. It's a Regional Memorial Decembrists Museum which tells the story of the family's exile in Irkutsk.

Znamensky Monastery in Irkutsk, Siberia

Znamensky Monastery

Znamensky Monastery can be found 1.9 kilometers northeast of Skver Kirova, it was built in 1762 and the Kolchak monument shows it's entrance. It's worth to visit not only because the monstery is very beautiful, but also because there are many awesome iconostases and a gold sarcophagus, where St. Inokent (a Siberian missionary) can be found. It's also a tomb of the man who claimed Alaska for Russia - Grigory Shelekhov.

Unfortunately, the Znamensky Monastery is not in the city center, so if you want to visit it, get the trolleybus number 3.

Baikal lake

It's time to get to the Baikal lake. This was the most important stop on our journey and adventure and we spent here about a ten days. We were in a few towns around the lake and also we came to the Olkhon island, but before that, we spent a one day in the Listvyanka town.

Listvyanka

Listvyanka is the closest town to go if you want to get from Irkutsk to the Baikal lake. If you (like us) get here through Trans-Siberian train, the best way is to get there by bus, which takes about 1,5 hour. Well, as I wrote before, this town is a real money thief, mostly because it's the city where a lot of rich Russians come for vacations. We can find here huge contrasts, like a few old wooden houses and a big new hotel.

Port in Listvyanka, Siberia

We didn't spend here too much time and because of the prices, we decided to spend the night in the tent. Unfortunately, that night was the one big rain and I had just one travel tent for 1.5 people (and there was 2 of us), so we all got wet and our backpacks (there was no space in the tent for them) also got all wet. So we spend half of the day getting dry in the nearest cafe.

But, well, this is also a place when I ate one of the best meals in my life and a second-best fish that I ever ate. It was called Omul, which is a fish from Baikal lake. So it's a nice opportunity to try it, but as I remember I spend a lot of money for that meal.

Conclusion

It's hard to say how excited I was getting near the Baikal lake. Irkutsk proved to be an awesome and a bit exotic city, while Listvyanka disappointed me a little. But it was still just a few first days here and we still wanted to see an Ulan-Ude and the Olkhon island with the Khuzhir village.

If you enjoyed this travel article about Russia and Siberia or just have some questions, feel free to write me in the comments section below.

Wojciech Kuźma

Hey there! My name is Wojtek and I am very happy that you came to my travel blog. I've been traveling the world for a few good years now and I still want more.

On my website I describe the adventures that have happened to me, you will also find here a collection of valuable tips for tourists and travelers. If you liked this article, be sure to leave a comment and read some more!


4.91 | 11 votes
Comments: 4
  •   4th November 2017, 07:00

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  •   5th November 2017, 07:38

    Its difficult to find knowledgeable people for this subject, butt you sounnd like you knw what youre talkingg about! Thanks

  •   18th June 2018, 15:04

    Great article and travel blog in general - it's a pity you did not go further north. However, Listwianka, Siberia and even Irkutsk ... A dream of every traveler to go to this area. I wonder what Baikal looks like in the winter ... Probably beautiful ... And cold :-) This text was translated automatically. Original text is below: Świetny artykuł i ogólnie blog podróżniczy - szkoda, że nie wybrałeś się jeszcze dalej na północ. Aczkolwiek Listwianka, Syberia i jeszcze Irkuck... Marzenie każdego podróżnika wybrać się w te rejony. Ciekawe, jak wygląda Bajkał zimą... Pewnie pięknie... I zimno :-)

  •   17th July 2018, 09:48

    Both Irkutsk, Listvyanka and Lake Baikal are my favorite places in Russia. There are a lot of tourist attractions around, some interesting places, and many opportunities to be among nature will be found. This text was translated automatically. Original text is below: Zarówno Irkuck, Listwianka, jak i jezioro Bajkał to moje ulubione miejsca w Rosji. Dookoła jest mnóstwo atrakcji turystycznych, trochę ciekawych miejsc, a i wiele sposobności na przebywanie wśród natury się znajdzie.

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