Is Irkutsk worth a visit?

By December 1, 2016Asia, Russia

Maybe I was worn out, but the day and a half my dad and I spent in Irkutsk was not my favorite time in Russia. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fine town and a great stopping point when traveling on the Trans-Siberian train.

Once you figure it out the transportation is fairly straight forward since there is a trolley loop, street car loop, and plenty of buses. Plus, the airport is right in the middle of town.

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The City Life Museum and visitor information center

There are plenty of sites to see around town, and we choose the City Life Museum. This museum is next to the Tourist Information office, which tried to be super helpful but the guy that spoke English was out when we were there. The museum was housed in an old wooden house and contained artifacts that showed what life was like in the city. With the same ticket you can see the Tea Museum above the Information office. My dad really liked this two room museum.

My favorite thing we saw was the Angara Ice Breaker. Built in ? this steel ship is one of the oldest ice breakers. When you come back tomorrow to see the “photo of the day” you will notice how the bow is out of the water to get on top of the ice to break it up. It is very clear that this historic ship needs some TLC, but I loved seeing it.

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At the Babr Statue with our new friend from the Trans-Siberian train.

This city is one of the larger towns at around 1 million people and therefore is a good place to get anything you might need. My dad’s suitcase broke and we found a new one in no time at all. A local friend we met on the train took us to see the Babr Sculpture and we walked through the shopping and restaurant area nearby.

With all that said, let’s get back to the original question. Was Irkutsk worth a visit? For me the answer is yes and no. No, I would not come here just to see this town. At the same time yes, because you can take a 45-minute bus to Listvyanka on the shore of Lake Baikal and on Sunday I will tell you about the fantastic day we spent there. A little spoiler, we saw native seals….in the middle of Russia….awesome!

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