In the second half of the 17th century the Cossacks built a prison here. In those days these lands belonged to Prince Yandash. Ostrog very soon turned into a real city, because it was located at the intersection of trade routes leading to China, Yakutia and Kamchatka. Already a few decades after the construction of the prison, Irkutsk became the administrative center of the province, which seriously strengthened the status of the major trading city.
About a rich historical period, locals and guests of the city today still recall the preserved sights. On the streets you can see beautiful mansions made of red bricks, which once belonged to large industrialists, tsarist officials and merchants. Old Irkutsk, which was mostly wooden, very often suffered from fires. In 1879, the fire destroyed the entire center of the city and many valuable buildings. Almost all libraries, archives, and also museums with the richest archaeological collections burned down.
The whole city had to be built anew, but the restoration work went pretty quickly. Modern Irkutsk is not only a major industrial center, but also one of the most beautiful cities of Eastern Siberia. It is interesting from a tourist’s point of view. Many old houses were preserved and there are interesting museums.