Irkutsk (Russian: Иркутск; IPA: [ɪrˈkutsk]) is a city and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, and one of the largest cities in Siberia. Population: 587,891 (2010 Census)
The city proper lies on the Angara River, a tributary of the Yenisei, 72 kilometers (45 mi) below its outflow from Lake Baikal and on the bank opposite the suburb of Glaskovsk. The river, 580-meter (1,900 ft) wide, is crossed by the Irkutsk Hydroelectric Dam and three other bridges downstream.
The Irkut River, from which the town takes its name, is a smaller river that joins the Angara directly opposite the city. The main portion of the city is separated from several landmarks—the monastery, the fort and the port, as well as its suburbs—by another tributary, the Ida (or Ushakovka) River. The two main parts of Irkutsk are customarily referred to as the «left bank» and the «right bank», with respect to the flow of the Angara River.
Irkutsk is situated in a landscape of rolling hills within the thick taiga that is typical in Eastern Siberia.
According to the regional plan, Irkutsk city will be combined with its neighboring industrial towns of Shelekhov and Angarsk to form a metropolitan area with a total population of over a million.
Irkutsk is an antipodal city with Punta Arenas, Chile.
rkutsk originally had a borderline subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dwc). Since 2000, the temperatures have resembled a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dwb). Snow cover disappeared earlier, from late April in the 1930s to late March in the 1980s. Discontinuous permafrost depth had decreased from 200 m to 100 m.
Irkutsk is characterized by an extreme variation of temperatures between seasons. It can be very warm in the summer, and very cold in the winter. However, Lake Baikal has its effect, such that temperatures in Irkutsk are not as extreme as elsewhere in Siberia. The warmest month of the year in Irkutsk is July, when the average temperature is +18 °C (64 °F), the highest temperature recorded being +37.2 °C (99.0 °F).
The coldest month of the year is January, when the average temperature is −18 °C (0 °F), and record low of −49.7 °C (−57.5 °F). Precipitation also varies widely throughout the year, with July also being the wettest month, when precipitation averages 113 millimeters (4.4 in). The driest month is February, when precipitation averages only 7.6 millimeters (0.30 in). Almost all precipitation during the Siberian winter falls as fluffy, low moisture content snow.
Irkutsk is a point of interest for tourists with its numerous museums and old architecture. The Taltsy Museum (Russian: Тальцы), located on the Angara 47 kilometers (29 mi) South of Irkutsk, is an open-air museum of Siberian traditional architecture. Numerous old wooden buildings from villages in the Angara valley, which have been flooded after the construction of the Bratsk Dam and Ust-Ilimsk Dam, have been transported to the museum and reassembled there. One of the centerpieces of the collection is a partial recreation of the 17th-century ostrog (fortress) of Ilimsk, which consists of the original Spasskaya Tower and the Church of Our Lady of Kazan transported from the flooded ostrog in the mid-1970s, to which an exact modern copy of another tower of the ostrog and the Southern wall of the fortress were added in the early 2000s.
The Botanic Garden of the Irkutsk State University known as the «Irkutsk Botanic Garden» is the only botanic garden as a living museum in Irkutsk Oblast and Baikalian Siberia. Its mission is «to protect and enrich the flora of the Lake Baikal area and the world for people through public education, collection, propagation, research, and conservation of plants». The garden is mainly an educational and scientific tool for the Irkutsk State University and maintains the largest plant collection of living plants in Eastern Siberia (more than 5000 plant taxa), a herbarium, and a seed bank. It occupies 27 hectares within Irkutsk city, 70 km (43 mi) West of Lake Baikal. It has a federal status of especially protected land and a nature memorial of Irkutsk.