Where on Earth, Week 37: Irkutsk, Russia

We didn’t have anyone guess the exact city this week, however, Jeff came closest with a stab at St. Petersburg, Russia. This is the right country, but about five time zones off.

The above photo was taken of a legendary location–well, legendary if you’ve ever played the board game Risk. Irkutsk is one of those valuable territories that simply must be captured if you want to own Asia and win the game.

Irkutsk, however, is not a region, but rather a city of 600,000 located in the eastern part of Siberia. I found it to be a nice, peaceful city with some surprisingly richly decorated buildings stretching back to the 1880s when a local gold rush pumped money into the area and transformed Irkutsk into the “Paris of the East.”

The real joy of visiting these days, however, is the city’s close proximity to Lake Baikal, the deepest fresh water lake in the world. This may not sound too terribly exciting, but believe me, it is well worth the trip into the wonderland of Siberia to check out.