Irkutsk Founded: 1661 Inhabitants: 588.531 virtual walk through Irkutsk 1 of 22 photos >> Photo: Genadi Giebler

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The City Of Irkutsk

The Russian metropolis, which was said to be the "Paris of the East", fascinates with its contrasts. You can see colourful, decorated wooden houses next to grey and huge apartment blocks of the Stalin Era, or old, hunch - backed women selling selfmade marmelade as well as young, high - heeled girls who go shopping in "Gucci" - stores, or Japanese posh restaurants next to the soviet - influenced take - away "Stolovaya".

Russia's cheepest electricity, a comparatively good tourism industry and the near Lake Baikal make the city very attractive for tourists and for entrepreneurs. Especially in summer, the city is full of young backpackers from Western Europe. Many of them use the offers in the city in order to prepare themselves for their travel to Lake Baikal. But the city itself offers very much: Out of museums, churches and colourful markets, you now also find plenty of cafes, cinemas, saunas and restaurants, theatres and an opera. And above all, a lot of sun and wonderful embankment alongside the river Angara.

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