Siberian Federal District
Time: Irkutsk Time Zone (IRKT/IRKST).
Local time now:
Federal district: Siberian Federal District.
Main cities: Angarsk, Bratsk, Usolye-Sibirskoe, and Ust-Ilimsk; Cheremkhovo, Ust-Kut, Tulun, and Shelekhov.
Land and Resources: Irkutsk Region is located in the southern part of Eastern Siberia in the upper basins of the Lower (Nizhnyaya) Tunguska, Angara, and Lena rivers. Lake Baikal is located in the southeastern part of the region. It is located in the very center of the continent and borders on the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in the northeast, Chita Region and the Buryat Republic in the east and south, Krasnoyarsk Territory in the northeast, and the Republic of Tuva in the southwest. Most of Irkutsk Region is situated on the southeastern part of the Central Siberian Plateau surrounded by the Eastern Sayan Mountains and the mountain ranges of the area west of Lake Baikal (Pribaikalye). High levels of seismic activity have been recorded in the eastern part of the region. Two-thirds of the region is located at elevations of more than 500 m above sea level.
Lake Baikal is unique. It has a volume of 23 000 km3 or 20% of the world`s freshwater reserves, a surface area of 31 500 km2, and a maximum depth of 1637 m. The region`s river network belongs to the basins of two of Siberia`s largest rivers, the Lena and the Yenisei.
Climate: The region`s great extent and rugged relief are the reasons for the varied climatic conditions. Temperatures consistently remain below 0 °C for 160 to 180 days of the year. Winters are cold (January temperatures range from -17 °C to -33 °C); summers are hot and dry in the first half (July temperatures range from +17 °C to +33 °C) and rainy in the second half.
Transportation: The region has a fairly well developed system of air, water, rail, and motor vehicle transportation. Railways, represented by the Trans-Siberian Railway, are the main form of transportation. Public transport in Irkutsk consist of trams, trolleybuses, buses and marshrutkas.
The main portion of Irkutsk is separated from several important landmarks—the monastery, the fort, and the port, as well as its suburbs by another tributary, the Ida, or Ushakovka River. Irkutsk is situated in a landscape of rolling hills within the thick taiga, typical of eastern Siberia, and in contrast to the flat, open steppe of western Siberia.
The Epiphany Cathedral, the governor`s palace, a school of medicine, a museum, a military hospital, and the crown factories are among the public institutions and buildings. The Alexander Kolchak monument, designed by Vyacheslav Klykov, was unveiled in 2004.
The cultural traditions of Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia, originated in the distant past, as shown by 2923 unique archeological sites discovered in the region. The most important sites are the Glazkovsky necropolis, the Military Hospital, Verkholenskaya Mountain, the Shishkinskie carvings, and Burkhan. In addition to identified sites of ancient settlements, there are 560 historical and cultural monuments, including 97 monuments of federal value. As a result, a number of cities and villages in the region have historical status. These include the cities of Nizhneudinsk, Kirensk, and Usolye-Sibirskoe, and the villages of Aleksandrovskoe (Bokhansky District), Belsk (Cheremkhovsky District), Verkholensk (Kachugsky District, and Urik and Ust-Kuda (Irkutsk District).
Wooden buildings of the 19th and early 20th centuries in Irkutsk have special value. Sites dating from the time of Russian settlement of Siberia in the 17th century, for example, the guard towers of Belsk (1647) and Bratsk (1654), are protected by federal law. Another unique monument of federal importance is the 100-km-long Circumbaikal (Krugobaikalskaya) Railway, built on the shores of Lake Baikal between 1902 and 1905. The buildings of 114 churches constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries have been preserved in Irkutsk Region. Today, as in the past, they attract attention with their originality and diversity of styles. There are also two special architectural and ethnographic museums: Anagarskaya Village near Bratsk and Taltsy at km 47 on the Baikal highway, which have gathered together rare and valuable examples of Angara wooden architecture.
The region`s largest museums are the art museum and local history museum located in Irkutsk. The museum`s collection includes 16 000 masterpieces of foreign and national classics. The local history museum was the third museum in Russia after the Kremlin Palace in Moscow and the Kunstkamera in St. Petersburg.
Irkutsk fully merits its reputation as the cultural capital of Eastern Siberia. The works of Irkutsk writers are known throughout the country (Valentin Zarubin, Aleksandr Vampilov).
A large number of professional and amateur theaters represent the theater arts in Irkutsk. The oldest of these theaters is the Okhlopkov Regional Drama Theater. The Irkutsk Musical Theater, which has toured in more than 100 cities, is also widely known. The Irkutsk City Folk Theater has admirers both in Russia and far beyond its borders. The Irkutsk Regional Philharmonic is more than 60 years old. Its largest group is the symphony orchestra founded by Igor Sokolov.
Irkutsk Region`s unique natural and climatic conditions favor the development of tourism and recreation, while mighty and majestic Lake Baikal has drawn travelers to it for a long time. Some areas on its shoreline have more sunny days per year than the southern coast of the Crimea. Since ancient times, people have called Baikal a "sacred sea" that astonishes with its size and beauty. You can take a pleasant trip around it on the old Krugobaikalskaya Railway. Pribaikalsky National Park is located on Baikal`s western shore, with its numerous cliffs, points, and bays. The national park plays an important role in preserving Lake Baikal`s biodiversity.
The Baikalsk International Youth Music Festival is held annually and includes contemporary music competitions, competitions for composer-performers, theater programs, exhibitions of the works of young artists, sports contests, and many other interesting events.
The house of Decembrists, Irkutsk
the Epiphany Cathedral, Irkutsk
Church in ListvjankaSources:
Encarta World Atlas
http://www.admirk.ru - Site of the Administration of Irkutsk Region