Irkutsk: the Siberian classics and avant-garde
Visit the settlement of knights and orcs, swing over the city at the height of eighteen meters, listen to the waves hitting the sides of an old steamer. In the meantime, do not forget to find out how to eat pozes and whisper your wish to the bronze babr's ear.
If you are familiar with the retro technique, visit the shore of the Irkutsk reservoir. Here you will find one of the world's oldest icebreakers. Meet "Angara," it's 119 years old. It has a calm temper and aristocratic origin. In the nineteenth century, the old thing was built in England, taken apart to the last screw and brought to Siberia by train. When it touched the water of Lake Baikal, Titanic wasn't even drafted yet. The Siberian icebreaker turned out to be luckier. “Angara” survived a fire and a flood and miraculously did not go for scrap metal (they say the ship had just been forgotten). Now the retired steamer has a part-time job as a museum. It even has an official address — 36A /1 Marshal Zhukov. In the afternoon, you can walk along the red rough deck, go down to the engine room and be inspired by the photographs of the nineteenth century. You could even learn to levitate — one of the holds features an exhibition of the museum of optical illusions. In winter, you will see one of the city's most romantic skating rinks by the Angara, and in the summer, there is a canoe and catamaran rental service. When you pass by, do not forget to gently pat the old thing on the side. Entrance to the museum – 150 rubles, for schoolchildren and students – 70 rubles.
This place is worth visiting with at least a well-charged camera. Ideally, you should visit with a camera, lighting devices, a make-up artist, and a prepared script. The museum at the city's landfill site is represented by a few hectares of scenery for filming movies about white walkers, an invasion of orcs, the life of the ancient Rus, the uprising of robots and even World World II. Here you will see wooden towers, barns, wagons and mills, hundreds of meters of paling, an army of knights with above-human height on metal horses, and several dozens of fur headhunters. Everything has been delivered here on garbage trucks. In their free time, the workers of the dump have collected armor from washing machine drums, built ships from waste boards, raised sails from plastic tents. .. Does anybody still think they have a boring job? Here is some motivation for you. Last year, they created a field for the reenactment of military battles here, with trenches, dugouts and downed Messerschmidts. If you find yourself here on a memorial day, you may witness a tank battle of World World II. The museum is open every day until 18:00, admission is free.
This is about food. You want to know what a Siberian lives on — order juicy hot pozes, also referred to as buuzes, at local cafes. They are especially good in winter. These relatives of ravioli, manti, and khinkali have the “architecture” of a Mongolian yurt. Succulent meat, preferably of several types (the greater the number of ingredients, the more honorable the guest) is put on a round piece of dough, then the edges are pinched together. The filling ends up in a little bag, leaving a small "window" at the top. Pozes are cooked with steam, so the meat is prepared in its own juice. Try to eat them the way the locals do — with your hands, gently biting off the dough and sipping the broth. Did the plate stay dry by the end of the meal? You have passed the initiation! Most places will offer you pozes of at least two types: with traditional or minced meat. If this is not something that will surprise you, try black pozes. Or, for example, pozes with omul fish, second after nerpa most famous inhabitant of Baikal. Pozes are ordered by piece. Usually, three or four of them are enough for a hearty dinner. The average price tag in the city is 45-50 rubles a piece.
No, it's not a bobyor ("beaver" in Russian). And it's not a seal. The semi-mythical beast has been the symbol of Irkutsk for two centuries. A long time ago, there was a tiger on the city's coat of arms ("babr" in old Russian) with a sable in its teeth. But a careless official changed "babr" to "bobr" in the documents. The error was never corrected and the striped predator turned black, acquired webbed feet and a flat tail. A few years ago, the legendary beast was materialized in bronze. The symbol of the city turned out to be stately and even a bit fearsome. It is believed to grant wishes if rubbed on a claw of the right paw. Behind the beast, there is a wooden historic quarter “Irkutsk settlement." There you can stroll past houses with carved platbands, get a snack, mint a commemorative coin or visit an astronomical observatory, where a 110-year-old long-lived telescope will show you the stars.
The acting here includes no words. It turns out that you can convey a surprising amount of information with your hands, folds of cloth, crumpled newspapers, and shadows. The experimental theater shows plastic stories about the creation of life, the fine line between horror and beauty, or a horse that is unlike any other. It is a good idea to have a handkerchief nearby — you may need it quite a few times over the course of the hour and a half long performance. The troupe includes several actors with disabilities. The theater started its grand life with the play "Broken Doll." The girl Vera would rise from a wheelchair and circle above the stage in the dancers' hands. A few years later, Vera herself took the first steps, and other “broken dolls” came onto the stage with her. Chamber Theater has a total of 50 seats. You can see the pulsating vein on the main character's neck even from the last row, and a seat in a front row will let you fully immerse yourself in the story. We recommend planning a visit here at least a few days in advance. The entrance fee is 500 rubles.
Voila — and you are soaring over the city on a swing. The eighteen meters of fear and doubt are left underneath. You have a helmet on your head and a safety carabiner on your chest. There is a sea of air around your with gulls and tree tops. If you are inspired by such a possibility, by all means, stop by at the Vysotsky Park on the banks of the Angara River. Four floors of rope jungle can be explored as you please — choose a comfortable height and build your own route. You will move along teetering logs, rope loops and cunning bridges to get from one surface to another. At one of the stages, you will have to ride in a construction wheelbarrow. At another stage, you will have to slip along the rope on a snowboard. The tests are designed not just for athletic long-legged brave people. You are sure to successfully pass virtually all the routes if you use your wits and logic. An entrance ticket to the park is valid for three hours. Make sure to leave some time to enjoy the view of the city from the observation bench at the highest level. While you are at it, you can note the short way to the barbecue area, a wake-station and a bathhouse on the banks of the Angara. Entrance for adults: starting from 800 rubles, a ticket for a child: starting from 600 rubles.
Come to the dam of the Irkutsk hydroelectric station to listen to the waves, to feel the winds blowing around you, and to take photos of sunsets across the entire width of the sky. On the one side, you will see one of the most beautiful panoramas of the city, and on the other side, there will be landscapes leading up to Baikal. The length of the walking route along the water is two and a half kilometers. The path is covered with gravel. If you decide to come here, make sure to bring some warm clothes. There will be cool air coming from the reservoir — the temperature of the water in it is not much higher than that in Baikal. The elevation difference here is 50 meters. Both banks of Angara, the islands, the bridge, and the television tower are clearly visible in good weather. You can see the foaming turquoise stream underneath. The power of the dam would be sufficient to boil 800 thousand teapots at the same time. In the summer, you can travel along the dam in the water as well, taking a kayak or a windsurf and maintaining a safe distance. In the winter, you can ski on the ice of the reservoir.
Here you will learn how Baikal winds are born, you will be offered to stand on an incandescent bulb and then to find a way out of a mirror maze. Or to find out your weight on Mars. Or to let steam rings out of an ingenious structure, based on a plastic bucket. The Irkutsk Museum of entertaining science is one of the largest in Russia, and you could spend hours here. It includes a planetarium and two expo spaces with three hundred interactive tools that demonstrate the laws of physics. The exhibits were designed and created by local craftsmen, and all this fun stuff can be held in your hands, thrown to the ceiling and investigated under different lighting conditions. The difference between a three-year-old and a thirty-year-old disappears in this setting with the first “I wonder what is puffing in the corner over there?” Young (and not so young) artists will be given a chance to draw with some magnetic sawdust, musicians will be able to play on a trubofon, a plastic tube structure reminiscent of a pipe organ, and climbers will have a chance to lift themselves up above the ground with the help of an ingenious construction made of ropes and blocks. It is a good idea to spend half an hour here to experience the Einstein relativity of time firsthand. An entrance ticket for a child costs 340 rubles. An adult ticket costs 380 rubles.
It is nice to stroll along the water here on warm summer evenings, to refresh yourself with some ice cream or enjoy the local "Babrburger" fast food. There are roller skating and cycling routes on both islands, and there is enough space for picnics under the trees. The open stage occasionally features musicians or hosts shows by street performers. The sports area is a place where you can find a company to play football or volleyball. Would you like to listen to the way the city by the river wakes up? Come here in the morning — it will be not be crowded. By the way, there is free yoga by the bridge on the Gagarin Boulevard on summer weekends. If you are here with children, take a ride around the island on the children's railway, which operates all summer long. And once the lights are on, go to the Ferris wheel. When it gets dark, the lines here become much shorter, while the views of the city become more romantic. Taking a look at the city from above costs 200-250 rubles.