Created 25-Oct-13
66 photos

In the early 19th century, many Russian artists, officers and nobles were sent into exile in Siberia for their part in the Decembrist revolt against Tsar Nicholas I. Irkutsk became the major center of intellectual and social life for these exiles, and much of the city's cultural heritage comes from them; many of their wooden houses, adorned with ornate, hand-carved decorations, survive today, in stark contrast with the standard Soviet apartment blocks that surround them. By the end of the 19th century, there was one exiled man for every two locals. Irkutsk eventually became a prosperous cultural and educational center in Eastern Siberia.The first Trans -Siberian train arrived in Irkutsk on August 16 of that year. By 1900, the city had earned the nickname of "The Paris of Siberia." During the Communist years, the industrialization of Irkutsk and Siberia in general was heavily encouraged. Population 450000
Arriving at Irkutsk from Ulan UdeEarly morning outside the station

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