Phenomenal rail journeys of Asia
By Sukie Chapman
18 January 2018
You love rail travel but also want to explore further afield than Europe; this is a conundrum many of our customers call us about.Read more
Irkutsk is one of largest and best-known cities in Siberia. It takes its name from the nearby Irkut River, which meets the mighty, 1,640-feet-wide (580 metres) Angara River close to the city. Surrounded by dense forest lands, Irkutsk was founded in 1661 as a fort to colonise lands stretching right through Siberia to Alaska. Though little is known about the place from that time, it gained notoriety in the early 19th century, when many Russian nobles, artists and officers were sent into exile in the city for taking part in the Decembrist revolt against Tsar Nicholas I.
Being so far from most of Russia's major centres of commerce and communication, it was felt that Irkutsk was remote and removed enough for the rebels to be not only punished, but also to prevent them from managing a successful uprising. Many of the Decembrists thrived in exile, and chose to remain in Irkutsk even when Tsar Alexander II restored their rights and granted them amnesty in 1856.
From the arrival of the Decembrists onwards, Irkutsk became the major spot for social and intellectual life for these exiles. Much of the city's cultural heritage came from them, and today many of their wooden houses, adorned with hand-carved decorations survive - in stark contrast with apartment blocks that surround them. In 1970 the former home of key Decembrist Sergei Trubestkoy was restored and opened as a museum commemorating the movement, and their influence on Irkutsk.
Step on board the Golden Eagle and be transported back to the romantic age of travel as we wend our way across Russia, Mongolia and Siberia in unprecedented luxury. This rail adventure takes you on a journey of over 8,000 miles; a true odyssey to the other side of the world.… see more
19 days from £11,195 ppView tour details >
Witness the true splendour of Dr Zhivago landscapes from the warmth of your luxurious carriage, enjoying sleigh rides and choirs, saunas and yurts en-route to Vladivostok. Travel on the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express train for an unforgettable 8,000-mile winter adventure.… see more
19 days from £11,895 ppView tour details >
Let the Tsar's Gold Train take you on an incredible adventure across almost half of the surface of the world from the ornate splendor of Moscow to the bustling beauty of modern Beijing, through remote Siberia, beautiful Mongolia and the vast landscapes of the Gobi Desert.… see more
20 days from £8,845 ppView tour details >