Sightseeing in Irkutsk
Spasskaya Church is the oldest brick-and-stone edifice in East Siberia. It was built in 1706 to replace the outworn wooden church. This is the only building of the original Irkutsk fort, which survived up to our days. The church was sanctified on August 1, 1710. The Holy Banner with icon of Christ was brought into the new church from the old wooden one. The legend went that it was the very original Holy Banner, which the first Russians were carrying when they reached the mouth of Irkut for the very first time.
Spasskaya church was related to numerous aspects of urban life of Irkutsk.
In the beginning of the XIX century, the church’s facades were decorated with frescoes not only on the inside, but also on the outside. This fact made Spasskaya church one of the rarest monuments of religious edifice – one of the kind from the Urals to the Pacific Ocean.
Bogoyavlenskiy (Epiphany) Cathedral
Construction of the brick-and-stone church began in 1718. 6 years later the church was opened to the public, and it became the city’s main church for the next one hundred and fifty years. This cathedral should be considered the “precursor of Siberian Baroque”. For the first time, oversprayed Dutch tiles were used to decorate the facades of the building – about 300 of them depicting flowers and personages of fairy-tales. Only three architectural monuments of this type exist in Siberia.
Znamenskiy (the Omen) Convent
Znamenskiy Convent of Irkutsk was founded in 1693 at the inflow of the Ushakovka into the Angara. Peter I saw special value in construction of this particular convent, as Christianization of
Siberia was underway. The convent still keeps the Gospel granted to the Convent by the Emperor himself. In 1757, a brick-and-stone church was built in the Convent. Construction of the Convent’s premises stretched over many years and was finally completes only in 1818.
Currently, it is headquarters of archdiocese of archbishop Vadim of Irkutsk and Angarsk.
Since 1990, the cathedral of the convent is the home of the newly found relics of the patron of our city, the first bishop of Irkutsk St.Innokentiy.
Monument to G.I.Shelikhov
Grigory Shelikhov will always be remembered as the discoverer of Alaska. In the new lands, he was starting settlements of the Russian America and building new forts. For his merits to the Fatherland, Shelikhov was granted the status of inheritable nobleman. In 1795, this daring sailor died and his body was buried within the walls of the Znamenskiy Convent.
Polish Roman Catholic Church
The brick-and-stone church was built in the place of the burned down wooden church with the contributions collected by the exile Poles. Works continued from 1881 till 1884. This church is the only Gothic style edifice in Irkutsk. After restoration, an organ hall of Irkutsk Philharmonic Society was opened in the buildings og the church.
The house was built by sons of Irkutsk merchant M.V.Sibiryakov in 1804. This building soon became known as the Sibiryakovs’ Palace. The building quickly became the most opulent merchant’s house of the time. In 1837, the building was bought out as a residence for Governor General of East Siberia. Since 1939, the building serves as research library of Irkutsk state University.
Irkutsk Drama Theater
The theatre was built to design of architect V.A.Shreter in 1897 in classicism style with the donation of the city’s merchants and civil servants, at the initiative of Governor General A.Goremykin. After reconstruction in 2000, the theatre was eguipped with state-of-the-art theatrical equipment, and became one of the best theatres in Russia.
Monument to Alexander III
The monument was erected in 1908 in honor of completed construction of the Siberian Railway. The square around the monument became one of the city’s favored public recreational areas. In 1920, the Emperor’s bronze sculpture was torn down from its pedestal. East-Siberian Railways undertook to restore the monument for 100th anniversary of Trans-Siberian Railway. In 2003, Emperor took place on the pedestal again.
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