Irkutsk was founded in 1661. In 1686 it became a city, so it is rather old. So, how did Irkutsk look like, for example, one hundred and fifty years ago?
Karl Marx street was the main street and its name was Big or Grand 200 years ago. There were small wooden houses everywhere in Irkutsk. But after the Great Fire in 1879 it was not allowed to build wooden houses again. There was the Drama Theatre in Irkutsk. It was destroyed by fire, but soon rebuilt and it was named after famous actor Nikolai Okhlopkov. I think everybody knows the monument on the Angara Embankment. It was made at the beginning of the twentieth century. It had a statue of Alexander III and a foundation decorated with bas-reliefs of famous people like Ermak, Speranskiy and others. Much time was spent discussing how to put the statue of the tsar, but after long discussions people decided to put him facing lake Baikal and pointing to the railway station. When the Revolution began the statue of the tsar was destroyed
and there was just the foundation. People in Irkutsk could go for a walk or visit their friends, also they could go to the Theatre, but there were no cinemas at those days.
Nowadays Irkutsk doesn’t look the same way it looked before. There are a lot of tall stone buildings there. Karl Marx is one of the busiest streets of the city, there are many different stores and main buildings of Universities in Karl Marx Street. The Drama Theatre still works and the monument dedicated to Alexander Vampilov was put near it. The monument of Alexander the Third was reconstructed and put again to its original place. People can do everything they want – go shopping, go to the cinema or to the theatre, they can go to the different museums and so on.
I travel a lot and I’ve understood that I like big cities more than towns. There are more opportunities in big cities, you can find a job easily, there are more theatres, cinemas, clubs. Big cities such as Moscow have long history and its monuments. I like my region very much, it is quite large and beautiful. But if I have a chance to move somewhere – I will move to the west of Russia. Somewhere like Moscow or Saint Petersburg.