Irkutsk is one of the largest cities in Siberia, at the moment the number of its inhabitants exceeds 600, 000. Ostrog was founded in 1661 on the site of modern Irkutsk. It was originally called Yandashsky. But, already in the documents of 1701, it is indicated as "the city of Irkutskaya". The fort was named after the Irkut River, a tributary of the Angara.
11 interesting facts about the city of Irkutsk
- On the side of our planet, diametrically opposite from Irkutsk, there is the Chilean city of Punta Arenas. It is five times smaller than Irkutsk in terms of the number of inhabitants and was founded much later than Irkutsk - in 1848.
- Nikolai Aleksandrovich Vtorov was born in Irkutsk in 1866, who at the beginning of the 20th century was called the richest man of the Russian Empire. Irkutsk is also the birthplace of the famous Russian pianist Denis Matsuev, who was born in this city in 1975. But the famous ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev was born in 1938 on a train that was approaching at that moment to the Irkutsk station.
- On November 22, 1909, Mikhail Leontyevich Mil, the designer of the Mi series helicopters, was born in Irkutsk. These helicopters have been exported to over 100 countries around the world. At present, the Moscow Helicopter Plant bears the name of Mikhail Mil.
- In the evening of June 4, 1890, the famous Russian writer Anton Pavlovich Chekhov arrived in Irkutsk, who was making a trip to Sakhalin Island. As you can see, the city made a favorable impression on Chekhov, the very next day he wrote in a letter to his brother Alexander Pavlovich: "Of all Siberian cities, Irkutsk is the best."
- And in a letter to his sister, Chekhov writes: "Irkutsk is an excellent city. Quite intelligent."
Eight years after Chekhov's visit, in 1898, the first train arrived in Irkutsk, it consisted of 12 cars. The railway bridge across the Irkut River was completed only a week before this event. The bridge was erected on wooden piles made from larch. Just before the arrival of the first train, a test locomotive passed through it. The author of the project, engineer Popov, was holding a revolver in his hands, promising to shoot himself if the bridge collapsed.
- Science fiction writer Jules Verne believed he had the best profession in the world, allowing him to travel around the world without leaving his office. For example, the heroes of his novel "Mikhail Strogov" have visited Irkutsk. For some reason Jules Verne was sure that Irkutsk has an "oriental look". He also called it "a huge pantry of various goods." However, Jules Verne himself, unlike A.P. Chekhov, has never been to this city. At the same time, the novels of Jules Verne in no other country are as popular as in ours.
- Irkutsk is located in a seismically active area, therefore, earthquakes occur here. The most powerful of these happened in January 1862. The epicenter was located 190 kilometers from the city, but even in Irkutsk itself, the power of tremors reached 8 points. Irkutsk was shaken for 2 days - January 11 and 12. Buildings were cracking, people were falling off their feet, church bells were ringing. Ice cracked on the Angara, the crash could be heard throughout the city. Fortunately, none of the people died.
- The Savior Church is one of the oldest stone buildings in Irkutsk. The temple was founded in 1706. On the outer walls of the Church of the Savior, paintings from the early 19th century have been preserved. In 1862, the church was badly damaged by an earthquake and had to be seriously restored.
- Irkutsk became one of the main places of exile for the Decembrists. Over the years, about 50 participants in the December uprising on Senate Square have visited it. The first exiles arrived here in August 1826. Here are the graves of some of the Decembrists and their family members. For example, Pyotr Alexandrovich Mukhanov, Nikolai Alekseevich Panov, Vladimir Alexandrovich Bechasnov are buried on the territory of the Znamensky Monastery.
On February 7, 1920, Alexander Vasilyevich Kolchak, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army, was shot in Irkutsk. According to the official version, Kolchak's body was drowned in the Angara, although some researchers are sure that this is a legend. In their opinion, Kolchak was buried in the prison yard. But, this burial was never found. On the bank of the Angara there is a symbolic grave of Kolchak - a memorial cross.
- The Irkutsk Regional Museum of Local Lore is one of the oldest in Russia, it was opened back in 1782. The initiator was the governor of the Irkutsk governorship Franz Nikolaevich Klitschka, and local merchants and nobles became patrons of the arts. In 1879, the museum was badly damaged during a fire that engulfed a large part of the city. Tens of thousands of the most valuable exhibits perished in the fire. Including, about 10, 000 old books.
- On May 11, 1963, the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, was solemnly greeted in Irkutsk. While fishing on Lake Baikal, Fidel was presented with an original gift - a two-month-old bear cub. Castro was delighted and immediately came up with a nickname for him - Baikal.