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Irkutsk Region

Irkutsk RegionCity Theatre buildingThe ensemble of Epiphany CathedralIrkutsk Region

The Subject of the Russian Federation:
Irkutsk Region

Federal District: The Siberian Federal District

Area: 774 846 km2
Population: 2 502 691 persons.

Emblem of Irkutsk Region
Emblem of Irkutsk Region

Flag of Irkutsk Region
Flag of Irkutsk Region


Irkutsk Krai — the subject of the Russian Federation.

When you hear a magic for every traveler word “Baikal”, you want to take a plane and rush to this majestic, the most powerful and the most unknown place in the world. And if to add to this wonder Baikal its tremendous history of this region, legends and beauty of the hospitable Irkutsk, you will find no reasons not to visit these places that amaze the imagination of every tourist.

In the Irkutsk Krai every traveler will find something new for himself that will warm his mind and arouse a delightful smile and, of course, invite to come again to the great and unknown energy of the Baikal farther and the attractive beauty of the Irkutsk land.    

Administrative center- Irkutsk.

It was founded: September 26,  1937.

The region borders with the Republic of Buryatia, the Trans-Baikal in the south-east, with the Krasnoyarsk Krai in the west and north-west, with the Republic of Tyva in the south-west, with the Republic of Sakha in the north and north-east.

The length of the region’s border is 7240 km. Modern borders of the region were established in 1937.

Constant population size is about 2,5 million people.

 There are 33 municipal regions, 9 urban districts, 67 urban settlements, 365 rural settlements in the krai. 

The largest cities are Irkutsk, Angarsk and Bratsk, urbanization is 79,31%.


Territory of the Irkutsk Krai was settled in the 1st millennium BC. In the 2-3 centuries BC   the Turkic tribes came there. In the 8-9 centuries the Baikal land became part of the Uighur Khanate, from the 10th century – the Empire Khitan. Since then the Mongol tribes settled there. In the 11th century the tribal alliance was formed in the Lake Baikal (since the 17th century the Buryats).

In the 12-13th centuries these lands were conquered by Genghis Khan. In the 17thcenturyby Russian settlers actively began to develop the area. Rapidly grew not only the Russian, but also the Buryat population, because the colonization was peaceful. The Buryats occupied the most convenient for the pastoral places, while the Russian peasants tended to settle mainly in the riverine areas, suitable for agriculture. In 1630 the Kirensky fort (now the city of Kirensk) was based, the Ust-Kutsky and Bratsky (that gave the name to the modern city of Bratsk) forts in 1631. In the end of the 17th century Irkutsk was founded around the fort, laid in 1652. Gradually the city acquired the value of the main transport and commercial center of the Eastern Siberia — the Russia's outpost in the Trans-Baikal and the Amur regions. After the Nerchinskii Peace (1689) Russia finally became firmly established in the region.

During the reign of Peter I several scientific expeditions were outfitted, maps were drawn, the first description of Lake Baikal was made. The Baikal Krai was a place of exile in the Russian Empire’s time.

By 1825 the province was at the second place in Siberia, according to the population, and at the first place, according to the number of registered merchants (the financial and industrial elite of the whole region). Opening of gold-bearing provinces urged to develop the province. Irkutsk was a center of the world gold-mining in the second quarter of the XIX century.

By the end of the 19th century the Transsiberian road passed through the Irkutsk province that urged to developthe entire region of Siberia.

Dramatic events of the Civil War 1917—1922 unfolded on the territory ofthe region. There was the Siberian anti-Bolshevik government, red partisans and troops of Kolchak and an ataman Semenov.

In 1960—1970 several powerful hydroelectric power stations were built in the region: the Bratsk, the Irkutsk, and the Ust-Ilim. This allowed developing industry of the region on the basis of its cheap energy: machineengineering and metallurgical plants, fuel-energetical complexes.

Present borders of the region were approved in 1937.

During years of industrialization the Irkutsk Oblast became one of the largest centers of energy and power-intensive industries. Nonferrous industry, petrochemical and pulp and paper industry, woodworking, mechanical engineering were developed there. Also valuable minerals were mined there.

Geographical location, natural resources, climate

The Irkutsk Oblast is located in the south of the Eastern Siberia in the basins of the upper reaches of the Angara River, Lena River, Nizhnyaya Tunguska River, almost in the center of Asia.

Territory of the Irkutsk Oblast falls on natural forest complex, which is divided into steppes and forest-steppes. A significant part of the region’s territory is covered by mountain taiga and mountain tundra natural systems.

From the economic-geographical point of view the region has a favorable geographical position. The East-Siberian Railway passes through its territory — a part of the Trans-Siberian Railway, connecting the western regions of Russia with the eastern, Atlantic with seas of the Pacific Ocean, Russia with China and Mongolia.

A number of mineral deposits, timber and other resources of undeveloped regions are concentrated near railway main lines. During summer time there is regular communication with the northern areas of the oblast and the Republic of Sakha up and down the Nizhnayay Tunguska River, the Lena River and the Angara River and reservoirs.


Mineral and raw resources of the oblast are presented by oil, gas, coal, iron ore, gold, mica, talc, magnesite, graphite, kaolin, gypsum, salt, quartzites and quartz sands. There are huge reserves of wood that gives a good basis for development of the timber processing complex.

The oblast is provided with water and hydropower resources: the Lake Baikal has 20% of the world’s reserve of fresh water. Water resources are also presented by rivers of basins of Angara, upstream of Lena and Nizhnayay Tunguska.


A leading place is occupied by production of grain, potato, vegetables, milk, meat and eggs. Wheat is also a main sowing crop.

The cattle has a dairy and meat-and-dairy directions. Sheep breeding is concentrated in the southern steppe regions, reindeer breeding – in the northern.


The East-Siberian Railway – a part of the Trans-Siberian Railway – passes through the territory of the Irkutsk Oblast, the branch line of the Baikal-Amur Mainline goes from the Tayshet station to the north-east. Length of throughfares is about 2,5 thousand km.   

Length of automobile roads with hard surface is more than 12 thousand km.

River transport takes 10% of the general freight-turnover. The largest ports are situated on the Lena River: Kirensk and Ostrovo (Ust-Kut).

Air traffics are carried out by two airports in Irkutsk and Bratsk.

Types of tourism

  • Cultural and educational tourism
  • Business tourism
  • Event tourism
  • Health-improving tourism
  • Ecotourism
  • Hunting and fishing
  • Active holidays
  • Religious tourism


  • Circum-Baikal Railway (CBR)
  • Olkhon Island
  • N.M. Revyakin Historical Museum
  • Peschanaya Bay
  • Architectural-ethnographic museum Taltzy
  • Small Sea Strait
  • I.D. Chersky Pinnacle
  • Khamar-Daban
  • Shishkinskiye Pisanitsy
  • Sagan-Zaba Rock
  • Museum of Clocks
  • The Angarskaya Village – an architectural-ethnographical museum

Famous natives

  • Beloborodov Afanasiy Pavlantyevich – a General of the Army, the Hero of the Soviet Union twice
  • Vampilov Alexander Valentinovich – a famous playwright
  • Gaidai Leonid Iovich – an outstanding director, a script writer, an actor
  • Galaziy Grigoriy Ivanovich – a biologist, a limnologist
  • Gurkin Vladimir Pavlovich – an actor, a playwright, a script writer, a director
  • Evtushenko Evgeniy Alexandrovich – an outstanding poet, a prose writer, a director, a script writer, a writer of political essays, an actor
  • Kamov Nikolay Ilich – an outstanding Soviet aircraft designer, developer of Ka helicopters
  •  Markov Georgiy Mokeevich – a writer
  • Molchanov-Sibirskiy Ivan Ivanovich – a poet, a writer
  • Matsuev Denis Leonidovich – a famous Russian pianist
  • Mil Mikhail Leontyevich – a Soviet constructor of helicopters
  • Nureev Rudolf Khametovich – an outstanding artist of ballet, a ballet master
  • Obruchev Vladimir Afanasyevich – a traveler, an academician, a farther of the Siberian geology and geography, a researcher of Siberia, the Central and Medium Asia
  • Obruchev Sergey Vladimirovich – a scientist, a geologist, a geographer, a traveler
  • Okladnikov Alexey Pavlovich – a historian, an ethnographer and an archaeologist
  • Okhlopkov Nikolay Pavlovich – an actor, a director of the Irkutsk Drama Theater
  • Rasputin Valentin Grigoryevich – a famous writer, a playwright
  • Romm Mikhail Ilich – an outstanding Soviet film director, a People’s artist of the USSR, a five Stalin Prizes laureate
  • Sedykh Konstantin Fedorovich – a writer

Telephones for emergency situations

·         Common telephone of firemen and lifesavers – 01

·         Common rescue service – 112

·         Police – 02

·         Emergency – 03

·         Emergency gas service – 04

Sources for getting information about touristic opportunities of the region

Territorial authorities of the MES in the Irkutsk Oblast:

Main Department of the MES of Russia in the Irkutsk Oblast:

15 Krasnoarmeyskaya Street, Irkutsk city