Irkutsk city is one of the most intriguing cities of the Trans-Siberian Railway. It lies on the same latitude as the cities of Orenburg, Saratov, Voronezh, Warsaw and Berlin. The area of the city is more than 300,000 sq.km. The population is about 591,000 people. The city telephone code is +7 3952. Time: Moscow time + 5 hours.
Irkutsk was founded by the group of Russian explorers headed by Yakov Pokhabov. Initially it was a small wooden fortress. In the XVI century it was the springboard for expeditions to the far north and east.
The strategic location of the city gave way to the development of Asian trade routs, including those to China. From here, Siberian furs were sent to China and Mongolia in exchange for silk and tea. Caravans were going through the fortress. Ships sailed Angara and Yenisei rivers heading North and Selenga river heading South.
In 1686 Irkutsk received the status of the city. At the end of XVII numerous trade ways of Eastern Siberia were crossing there. From 1803 to 1822 Irkutsk was the centre of the largest territory - Irkutsk province, which included Eastern Siberia, Far East, Chukotka and Alaska. When the gold was discovered in the Lena basin in 1880s, the city boomed.
Climate and Nature
The Baikal Lake is the most beautiful natural sight in the region. It has invaluable stocks of fresh water (20% of the world surface fresh water). Diverse and unique flora and fauna of the Baikal Lake have made the lake and surrounding territory one of the most well-known natural wonders in the world.
Currently Irkutsk is one of the biggest scientific centers in the East Russia with more than 15 academic institutions. There are also many universities and colleges with 260 specializations. The intellectual and scientific potential of the industrial professionals makes Irkutsk a favourable location for investment.
Cheap electricity and impressive industrial capacity led to the development of the aliminium and cellulose production in the area. At the end of the 1999, about 35% of aluminium and 44% of cellulose were produced in the Irkutsk region.