Ask Baikal

Hi there! My name is Maxim Milyutin. I am based in Irkutsk, Russia's Siberia. Traveller, organiser of local travel talks, and owner of Irkutsk hostel. Travel for me is not necessary movement to some place far away from home, it's a state of soul. That's why I like to travel around my home region and and abroad as well. I'm happy to share my knowledge about Baikal with everybody! Feel free to ask me about Lake Baikal via the contact form Tatiana Baksheeva, our previous blog runner, remains with us as a contributor.

Siberian specialities

When you travel to some new place, usually you compare it with some other, that you already know. There are many such things and places in Siberia, that both unique and have something silimar to other things. I write about some of them.

Siberian Alps – Sayan Mountains, that located in Tunka Valley, they are so beautiful, when their peaks are covered by snow (from August to June).

Siberian Tibet – Valley of Shumak river, which famous for its hundreds of mineral springs. Very good place, but to reach it you have to pass the mountain about 2,500 m height. Or take a helicopter.

Siberian Paris or Siberian Athens – Irkutsk was named in 19th century by many visitors, comparing with these cities beauty.

Siberian Riviera – Peschanaya (Sandy) Bay at Lake Baikal, one of the sunniest and warmest places at the lake.

Siberian Barocco – Unique style of wooden architechure, traditional for 19th century. You can find many such wooden houses in Irkutsk and Irkutsk region.

Finally, Siberian Health is guaranteed for everybody who will visit all mentioned above :)

Vladimir Sukhachev’s Household

A history of Irkutsk is inextricably linked with the name of Vladimir Platonovich Sukachev (1849 – 1920). The mayor, philanthropist and patron of the arts, the creator of the Irkutsk Art Gallery – he gave his strength and resources to his hometown.

Vladimir Sukhachev

Irkutsk developed a lot during his administration time. Sukhacev organized the first Voluntary Fire Company. Telephones and electricity appeared here. The first pontoon bridge and the bridge across the Angara River were built: they replaced the inconvenient ferry. Despite the diversity of public interests of Vladimir Sukachev, Irkutsk citizens will remember him mainly as the creator of Irkutsk art gallery. It was an old dream of Sukachev: open in his hometown a Museum of Art. And thanks to him, nowadays we have a great opportunity to enjoy the paintings of Russian artists – Repin, Platonov, Makovsky, Vereshchagin, Aivazovsky, as well as European ones.

But today I invite you to visit his household which renovation started in 1989. Now it’s a museum that carefully preserves chronicles of the past – memories of a bygone era and its contemporaries.

Read more »

Some history of Italians in Irkutsk and Lake Baikal

Nothing happens without a reason. Some years ago an Italian friend of mine intended to launch a joint business project with participation of specialists from Irkutsk and Italy, and some initial plans were developed, however, due to various reasons, the project has never commenced.

About 1 000 Italians worked at the Circum-Baikal Railway construction

One day, while preparing the project, I realized that if an Italian delegation comes to Irkutsk, they would definitely ask me if there were any historical ties between Italy and Irkutsk, and I wanted to find such information. About a week passed without any attempt on my side to search for the information, but the Universe was helpful as always – in a local magazine I came across an interesting article about Italians in Irkutsk. And it encouraged me to search for more information. 

So, here are some facts of incredible and often extreme adventures of Italians in Irkutsk and at Lake Baikal. This historical information is limited, and I realize that a deeper research demands time. It would be good to learn more about these historical facts, as many questions arise, and I hope that you can help me to find out more facts, and we can get a better coverage of this topic together.

The story began at the end of the XIX century. Read more »

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