The New International Encyclopædia/Irkutsk (city)

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IRKUTSK. The capital of the Governor-Generalship and of the Government of Irkutsk, and the finest city of Siberia, situated at the confluence of the Irkut with the Angara, 40 miles north of the southern extremity of Lake Baikal and 3385 miles by rail from Moscow (Map: Asia, K 3). It was almost entirely rebuilt after the destructive fire of 1879, and is now a handsome, well laid out city, with well-paved, wide streets, and all the essential features of a modern city. The climate is healthful, owing to the high altitude of the city; the winters, however, are severe. There are in Irkutsk a theatre, a library, a museum, a meteorological station, and a branch of the Imperial Geographical Society. The manufactures are unimportant, and go mostly to satisfy domestic demands. The commerce is of great importance. Irkutsk being one of the chief centres of the Russian tea trade, as well as one of the principal stations on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Population, in 1897, 51,400, including 4500 exiles. Irkutsk was founded by Cossacks in 1653, created a town in 1686, and soon became the centre of the Russo-Chinese tea trade.