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The 130th Quarter was once home to a number of industrial facilities, little known outside of Irkutsk. Now, it is almost a must-visit destination for most visitors passing through the city. Blame it on the much-talked-of architectural project ‘Irkutsk Sloboda’ implemented back in 2011. Primarily aimed at reviving the wooden manor culture of Irkutsk, this project also helped with turning this area into a lively public place. Today, the 130th Quarter is a vibrant neighborhood full of cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, art galleries, and architectural monuments. Not to get lost among all this variety, keep reading to find out what are the three must-do things in the Irkutsk 130th Quarter.
If you often happened to hear that Russians make good astronauts, it’s a good chance for you to check this fact. Recently opened in the 130th Quarter, the educational complex Noosphere combines a fascinating planetarium, museum and a spacious public observatory equipped with the telescope for public star observations. Nowhere else in Russia you find anything similar. It is Interesting to mention that the Irkutsk astronomy school is considered the strongest one in the entire country. The city's astronomical tradition already began in the 18th century. Back then, a prominent natural scientist Mikhail Lomonosov defined this city as one of the three strategic locations for his expeditions in observing Venus crossing the solar disk. Today, Irkutsk holds a proud third place in the astro-space researches, after Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. This humble region of Siberia gave Russia four flying astronauts. Hence, there is a rich history and informative displays waiting for you inside. The complex is working seven days per week, and the prices are varying between 200-500 rubles per person. Each 'star' show usually lasts 45-60 minutes and includes a full-dome movie or animation, short excursion and introduction into the Irkutsk starry sky. Besides that, the visitors also have an opportunity to make a little round of questions to a lecturer.
After nurturing your brains with the scientific astronomical facts, it’s not a bad idea to refresh your inner man, too. Although the 130th Quarter is known for various cuisines from the Vietnamese to Italian, a real not-to-miss spot is the Rassolnik restaurant. Not only it’s known for its hip retro interior but also some authentic Siberian cuisine. Opened back in 2012, this cozy restaurant is styled in the Soviet flat of a typical intelligent family. Once you cross the threshold, you feel welcomed to go with the soulful talks and cheerful feasts. Along with the standard menu available both in Russian and English, the Rassolnik also offers an outstanding “Farmer menu”. For those who usually opt for organic foods, the restaurant prepares a rich selection of delicacies cooked exclusively from environmentally friendly products. Being in cooperation with multiple farmsteads around Irkutsk and Irkutsk oblast, this restaurant constantly pleases its guests with a fresh delivery. For instance, you can try here some appetizing pirozhki with duck minced meat or scrumptious pelmeni filled with pike meat. Both dishes are traditional Siberian specialties that represent a filled puff pastry and fish dumplings correspondingly. Also, the photography is very much welcomed here. So, you can easily fill up your Instagram travel account with some genuine photo shoots of a typical Soviet-style flat.
But if the Soviet-flat photography does not sound appealing to you, then at least a photo with the Irkutsk babr should, already because of its mysterious name that leaves confused even some Russians from the central part of this vast country. As previously Siberia abounded with the fur-bearing animals, their depictions were frequently used for the local heraldry. Thus, the Ussuriysk tiger was among favourites in Yakutsk, its natural habitat. Its illustrations could be found in many official embellishments of those times. For instance, the Yakutsk Customs Office used it as an emblem for its stamp. But as Irkutsk gradually gained more popularity and was technically closer to Moscow as Yakutsk, in 1661, it became a new settlement of a local voivode. All the heraldic elements used in Yakutsk before were now adopted in Irkutsk, too. But surprisingly, the locals in Irkutsk were not familiar with the exotic animal and assumedly gave him a name - babr (a “tiger” in old Yakut). Despite all the orthographic or geographical nuances, this mighty creature eventually vernacularized and became an invaluable part of Irkutsk culture.
In any case, the 130th Quarter is a vibrant neighborhood full of restaurants, souvenir shops, and architectural monuments. To get lost here whilst deciding what to try and see is an easy game. So, make sure not to miss this list, and try the three must-do things in the Irkutsk 130th Quarter.
Cover photo © credits to iStock/eugenesergeev
Each month. Our best stories. Zero effort.