Irkutsk – Shopping
Irkutsk is a major trading centre in the region. There are many shopping centres here, but lots of them are empty: there are not enough buyers. The souvenir trade is well developed here. Usually, people bring back from Irkutsk products bearing symbols of Baikal – T-shirts (from 600 roubles), plates (450 roubles), magnets (70 roubles), toy seals (250 roubles). Also popular are ethnic trinkets (from 150 roubles for brass, 1,500 for silver) and natural stone products (from 500 roubles).
There is also demand for “natural” souvenirs. Reminders of the pine forests come in the form of pine cone souvenirs (from 80 rubles apiece) and healing cedar jelly (from 400 roubles per bottle). Gourmets will enjoy the Siberian delicacies which are easy to take back home with you. There are pine nuts (from 600 roubles/kilo) and candied roasted nuts (pine nuts in chocolate and caramel, from 300 roubles for a 100 gram box). And, of course, where would we be without the famous smoked omul? But the price is a bit steep: from 1,000 roubles a kilogramme.
Expensive and elegant / Reasonable and affordable
Clothes and souvenirs can be purchased on the city’s main shopping streets – Karl Marx and Uritsky. Glamorous young people often visit the “Modny Kvartal“ shopping complex (25, Ulitsa 3 Iulia), conveniently located in tourist Quarter 130. They sell clothes, jewellery and cosmetics in the expensive and medium price categories. Another popular “clothes” street is Baikalskaya. Interesting souvenirs and jewellery can be found in the “Seson” shopping centre, entirely occupied by private entrepreneurs (36, Ulitsa Sverdlova) and “Gorod Magazinov“ (17, Ulitsa Litvinova). And gifts made of natural stone can be found in the “Naturalniye Samotsvety“ and “Samotsvety Sibiri“ chain of shops.
Budget and good quality / Super savings
Popular clothing brands are sold in the “Caramel” shopping centre (36, Ulitsa Partizanskaya). Students often spend hours in the budget “Lermontov” shopping centre (90/1, Ulitsa Lermontova). There’s a good selection of low-cost winter clothing in the “Fortuna Grand” shopping centre (1, Unit 4, Ulitsa Oktyabrskoy Revolutsii), but it is a bit too far from the city centre. For delicacies, it’s worth paying a visit to the historic Central Market (22, Ulitsa Chekhova). There’s a particularly brisk trade here in Baikal omul. However, you should keep an eye out: theft is an issue here.
Irkutsk - Where to stay
The Irkutsk hotel industry has been actively expanding in recent years, especially in the areas of guest houses and youth hostels.