, Erhüü) is the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, and one of the largest cities in Siberia.Many distinguished Russians were sent into exile in Irkutsk for their part in the Decembrist revolt of 1825, and the city became an exile-post for the rest of the century.The city subsequently became the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast after East Siberian Oblast was divided into Chita Oblast and Irkutsk Oblast.During the communist years, the industrialization of Irkutsk and Siberia in general was heavily encouraged.Locals like to think of their city as "middle of earth".
Irkutsk originally had a borderline subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dwc).
In 1920, Aleksandr Kolchak, the once-feared commander of the largest contingent of anti-Bolshevik forces, was executed in Irkutsk, which effectively destroyed the anti-Bolshevik resistance.
Irkutsk was the administrative center of the short-lived East Siberian Oblast, which existed from 1936 to 1937.
Irkutsk became the major center of intellectual and social life for these exiles, and much of the city's cultural heritage comes from them; many of their wooden houses, adorned with ornate, hand-carved decorations, survive today, in stark contrast with the standard Soviet apartment blocks that surround them.
By the end of the 19th century, there was one exiled man for every two locals.
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In 1879, on July 4 and 6, the palace of the (then) Governor General, the principal administrative and municipal offices and many of the other public buildings were destroyed by fire, and the government archives, the library and the museum of the Siberian section of the Russian Geographical Society were completely ruined.