A Visit to a Soviet-Era Apartment in Irkutsk, Siberia (VIDEO)
For a satisfying dose of Soviet nostalgia, travelers on the Trans-Siberian Railway Golden Eagle luxury train may have the chance to visit a Soviet-era apartment in Irkutsk, Siberia. It’s an illuminating opportunity to meet a local Russian family who welcomes visitors into their home, sharing a cup of tea along with Q&A about their lives in Soviet times, and in Siberia.
On a summer day in Irkutsk, Tatiana opened her home to our group of Trans-Siberian travelers for a visit, chatting with us through our translator/guide. Here’s a peek inside Tatiana’s life-long home.
Tatiana loves her hometown of Irkutsk, a city of 110,000 not far from Lake Baikal. A retired dentist who worked for the Trans-Siberian Railway, Tatiana told us she was born in her family’s Stalinist-style apartment in 1947. She grew up here with her sister and parents, married, raised a son, and has lived her entire life here.
Centrally located in Irkutsk, her family’s apartment was given to Tatiana’s father for his military service in World War II. Such Stalin-era apartments were highly desired back then, and still are today. The exterior – a rather shabby entrance and stairway – belies what’s behind the closed doors of these apartments: they are spacious and well constructed, with high ceilings, thick walls, balconies, and architectural details rarely found in apartment construction under subsequent Soviet leaders.
Tatiana’s desire is to share the stories of her life with travelers like us, and with her family’s newest generation so they will know and treasure her family’s 70-year history under one roof, in this beloved Soviet-era apartment.
- Trans-Siberian Classic Route – Moscow to Vladivostok (Eastbound / Westbound)
- Trans-Siberian Winter Wonder Land Route – Moscow to Vladivostok (Eastbound / Westbound)
- The Trans-Siberian Mongolian Route with Naadam Festival (Eastbound / Westbound)
These MIR tours also visit Irkutsk, where travelers enjoy a selection of excursions:
Small Group Tours:
Rail Journeys by Private Train:
MIR has 30 years of unmatched travel expertise to Russia, with on-the-ground support through its Siberian affiliate offices in Irkutsk and Ulan Ude. Its full service, dedication, and unwavering commitment to quality has twice earned MIR a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.“
Top photo: The living room inside a Soviet-era apartment in Irkutsk; its occupant was born here and has lived here all her life. Photo credit: Helen Holter
PUBLISHED: March 24, 2016