Irkutsk is located 5000 km distance from Moscow the capital of Russia, and only 70 km distance from the deepest lake in the world – lake Baikal. The city is located on the boundary between the East and the West. As the result, it has an exciting history and a city centre consisting of ancient buildings of different architectural styles.
The city was founded as a small wooden fort in 1661. Nowadays it is one of the largest cities in Siberia, with a population of nearly 600,000. Located 70 km northwest of Lake Baikal, on the Angara River banks, Irkutsk is the administrative, cultural, historical and educational center of the Irkutsk region.
As Irkutsk is within the sphere of influence of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, there are nine research institutes located in the Irkutsk Akademgorodok suburb: Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Institute of Geography, Energy System Institute, Institute of Geochemistry, Institute of System Dynamics and Control Theory, Earth's Crust Institute, Institute of Chemistry, Institute of Limnology (located on Lake Baikal's shore), Institute of Plant Physics, Laser Physics Institute. A number of the institutes conduct research under the auspices of Irkutsk State University.
Lake Baikal is the deepest and oldest lake in the world. Known as "the Pearl of Siberia", it is the greatest reservoir of unfrozen fresh water and makes up 20% of world reserves. The lake is located 456 m above sea level, and is surrounded by the ridges of the Eastern Sayan Mountains. Lake Baikal is well known for the unique and diverse flora and freshwater fauna and it is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Irkutsk has a humid continental climate. In July, the average temperature is 18°C with a bit of rain, but by January,the temperature plunges in typically Siberian fashion to -19°C. Early September finds the local foliage at its finest. June is usually sunny and warm. The day air temperature is about 20°C, the night temperature is about 10. At beginning of the summer water temperature of Lake Baikal is 10°C and lower.
The meeting is provided by the Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (http://en.iszf.irk.ru). The Workshop and School will be held at the Irkutsk Molchanov-Sibirskii Regional Library (Lermontov str 253, Irkutsk, http://www.irklib.ru).
Arrival by plane
The airport of Irkutsk is connected by direct flights with Moscow (http://en.iktport.ru). This is the fastest way to reach Irkutsk from Western Europe. The duration of the trip is about 5-6 hours. There are several direct international flights connecting Irkutsk with cities of China, South Korea and Mongolia. The airport is located within the boundary of the city.
Arrival by train
Irkutsk is located on the Trans-Siberian Railway and connected with all main cities of Russia. The trip from Moscow takes about 3-4 days. The timetable and tickets is on web-site of the Russian Railways (http://eng.rzd.ru/statice/public/en?STRUCTURE_ID=9).
Irkutsk is located on the banks of the River Angara. The right and left banks are connected to each other by three bridges and a power dam. In the city, there is an extensive public transport network: buses, trolleybuses, trams, and minibuses. Irkutsk is a relatively compact in its historical center, and traffic is not heavy for a city of nearly 600,000. It is a very walkable city within the center, and those who want to save time or travel between one side of the river and the other can use a good public transport system. It is helpful to know at least how to read signs on buses and bus stops; when traveling by minibuses, you need to call out to the driver to stop. Oddly enough, names of major bus stops are posted on kiosk roofs parallel to the road so that the names are not often visible from inside the bus. Bus and minibus ("marshrutka") fares are cheap. Local etiquette is to pay the driver when exiting the bus and trolley (therefore you have to exit it only through the front door). In trams, tickets are purchased from the conductor. More detailed information about Irkutsk can be found at WikiTravel including description of the city's most popular attractions.
Conference participants and visitors of the city are recommended to try the following guided tours:
- a sight-seeing tour around the city with a visit to local museums in various options (details can be found at WikiTravel)
- a visit to the Taltsy Museum of Wooden Architecture and Ethnography which contains over 40 monuments of architectural heritage and 8,000 exhibits of high historical value of Eastern Siberia of ХVIII–XX centuries
- a boat tour of Baikal from Listvyanka village to Bolshye Koty with an opportunity for putting ashore and going for a walk