Me at the very end of the walk near the Babr statue

Irkutsk’s Green Line Self-Guided Walking Tour

Published: October 2, 2019

The “green line” is a self-guided tour of Irkutsk, which goes around the center of the city with several stops along it. The path is about 5k long, and can take anywhere from 2-3 hours, or even a whole day if you were to stop at even half the museums it passes.

I found this walking tour in a booklet that was given to us by our coordinators, which also includes a lot of information about the city and surrounding area.

One sunny Saturday afternoon, I put on some comfy shoes, and took off to the starting point of the tour, the (1) Monument to Alexander III on the bank of the river. He stands tall and proud, gazing across to the south. From there, you start to walk east, and you pass by several sites, including (2) The Library of Irkutsk State University (which is also the building that we study abroad students had to bring our registration and other documents to), (3) Ethnographical Museum (which gives the history of Irkutsk), and (4) the Okhlopkov Drama theater. Soon, you reach a busy crossroad, and looking to your right, you can see (5) a large statue of Lenin greeting you to the city.

The monument to Alexander III
The big sign near the University headquarters

Turning left, you see the main building of (7) Baikal State University. Taking a little detour from the main road, you are able to see the quaint (8) Kharlampievskaya Church. Returning back, you walk north, and see the (9) Irkutsk Art Museum, (10) Bazanov Educational House, (11) Monument to the Russian-Japanese friendship and the (12) City Duma Building before reaching (13) Kirov Square which is where the main building of the Irkutsk State University is located where SRAS students take their classes. The square is absolutely beautiful during the summer, with a lot of greenery and flowers growing everywhere, and benches located every few feet.

The main square, there was a dance group performing in traditional costumes

The square is where I stopped for a bite to eat, at the Poznaya 38 which a chain of Russian and Buryat style food. It is very quick, very cheap, and very tasty!!

Within a few blocks of each other are located several more stops. Making your way closer to the other water bank, you will see the (14) House of Soviets, (15) Polish Catholic Church, (16) Spasskaya Church, (17) Memorial Complex, (18) Epiphany Cathedral, and (19) Moscow Gates. The churches listed here are free, and I recommended a stop inside. Even though they are all Orthodox, they each have a very unique feel and design.

The inside of one of the churches

From there, weaving in and out along little streets heading south towards Lenina street (one of the main streets in downtown Irkutsk), you stumble upon several more sites, including (20) City Exhibition Center, (21) Feinberg Private House, (22) Ftorov Mansion, (23) Trapeznikov Mansion, (24) Vampilov Young Spectators Theater and finally the (25) Grand Hotel. These houses and mansions listed are those that had belonged to Decemberists. They are now museums showing the families’ histories and daily life for the aristocracy back then.

One of the old houses belonging to the Decemberists.

Now starting to walk west, you pass by the (26) Nature Department of the Ethnographical Museum and the (27) Khudozhestvenny Building, a beautiful old building turned into movie theater.

An old wooden house along the walk

Turning back onto a main street, you start to walk along the last leg of the tour. Passing by the (28) City Theater Building and the (29) Youth Theater, you get to your final destination, the (30) The Holy Cross Church. This church is a beautiful mix of green, white and red, and sits in a huge complex right next to Modniy Kvartal, a trendy pedestrian walking area.

This whole tour took me about 6 hours, including lunch and stopping in several of the churches and museums. It is something I highly recommend doing, especially during one of the first weeks that you are in the city, because it really helps you get orientated with the city, as well as see many of the beautiful sites that Ikrutsk has to offer!

About the author

Katya Grigerman

Katya Grigerman is an undergraduate student at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is majoring in Political Science, and double minoring in Russian Language and Russian Culture. She is currently spending the year studying in Russia; the summer in Irkutsk, the fall in Saint Petersburg, and the spring in Moscow. After graduating, Katya hopes to work with Russia-US relations.

View all posts by: Katya Grigerman