Irkutsk

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Irkutsk (Russian: Ирку́тск; Buryat: Эрхүү Erkhüü) is one of the largest cities in Siberia and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, situated 5,185 kilometers (3,222 mi) by rail from Moscow. Population: 593,604 (2002 Census);[1] 622,301 (1989 Census).[3]

Contents

History

In 1652 Ivan Pokhabov built a zimovie (winter quarters) near the site of Irkutsk for gold-trading and for the collection of the fur tax from the Buryats. In 1661 Yakov Pokhabov built an ostorg nearby.[2] The town gained official city rights from the government in 1686. The first road connection between Moscow and Irkutsk, the Siberian Road (Сибирский Тракт, Sibirsky Trakt), was built in 1760. The city benefitted economically from this new road. Many new products, often imported from China via Kyakhta, were widely available in Irkutsk for the first time, including gold, diamonds, furs, wood, silk and tea. In 1821, as part of the Speransky reforms, Siberia was administratively divided at the Yenisei River and Irkutsk became the seat of the Governor-General of East Siberia.

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