(Locator); (Russia Tourist Map)...Listvyanka Village is the closest settled point from Irkutsk city (70km) on the Lake Baikal. The word "Listvyanka" comes from a Russian word (лиственница) which means Spruce. The village is located right at the mouth of a legendary Angara River, and is an ideal example of the Siberian country life. First settlers appeared in the area around 1645 made of Russian Cossacks and local hunters and fishermen. By 18th century, Listvyanka turned into a real port providing ferry services to merchants traveling between Asia and West. Interestingly enough, the village never grew into the city or even a big town, while it remained a major crossroad for gold seekers, scientists, explorers, adventurers with many stories to tell.
Founded: around 1645
Irkutsk city - Listvyanka village distance by car: 70 km / 44 ml. (~1 hour)
Irkutsk city - Listvyanka village distance by hydrofoil: 50km/32 ml (~1 hour)
Population: (1873 year ~ 195 people; today ~ 5,000 people)
Taltsy is an open air museum of wooden architecture located between Irkutsk and Listvyanka village. It is best to be reached by car or bus (30 min from either side). The museum is a real mini village assembled of original houses, schools, churches and shops built in the 17-19th century by Russian Cossacks and local ethnic groups. Main goal of this project is to preserve history and cultural heritage of the Siberian life during colonization period after many original settlements had to be demolished or flooded by the hydropower dam water reservoir built on Angara River. Museum of Lake Baikal (also Limnology museum) is a great place to begin introduction with Lake Baikal's geology, fauna and flora. Here you can watch a tape about the lake filmed by a team of the famous scientist and film maker
Mr. Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Seal Aquarium will introduce you to live Baikal Seal (Nerpa), which are among rarest fresh water seals known on Earth. Saint Nicholas church is definitely a place to visit. According to a local legend, it was built by a merchant Ksenofont who was caught by a storm when crossing the lake. The merchant asked the savior St. Nicholas for help, who came to the sailor alive and saved his life. In appreciation, Ksenofont founded a temple on the shore of the lake, but soon died and his wife Natalie finished it. Since than the church was relocated twice. Today it has wonderful collection of old icons and serves people daily. Shaman Stone is a real rock located at the mouth of Angara River. Almost everyone who lives around Lake Baikal likes to mentioned at least few words about this rock when passing by. Mainly it is connected to a Buryat legend about rebellious daughter (Angara river), who ran away from her farther (Lake Baikal) to her lover (Yenisei River). Angara River is the only river that flows out of Lake Baikal against 330 rivers flowing in. Flea market is located at the main pier in Listvyanka. Here you can buy souvenirs and taste local delicacies-Baikal fish (omul, sig, harius)-smoked, salted, dry. Passenger hydrofoil connections (summers only) allow travelers to take short trips by water and visit Bolshie Koty (Big Cats) village located within 20-30 minutes from Listvyanka and other local destinations including weekly 10 hours trip to Severobaikalsk (northern tip of the Lake).