| Geographical location|
Irkutskaya region is situated in the south of the Eastern Siberia. Area of the region is 775 thousand sq. km, it makes up about 4.6% of territory of the RF. Length of the region from north to south is 1,4 thousand km, from west to east is 1,5 thousand km. Located in the centre of the continent, Irkutskaya region borders on Krasnoyarskaya region, republic of Tuva, Yakutiya, Buryatiya, Chitinskaya region. In the southeast of the region there is the largest and the most beautiful lake in the world - the Baikal.
Almost 2/3 of the region`s territory is located in height of more than 500 metres, the lowlands cover 1% of the area.
Considerable length and the relief of the region determine sharp diversity of climatic conditions. Winter is frosty. Summer is hot in the first part and rainy in the second.
| Natural resources|
About 86% (66.8 mln. hectares) of the territory is covered by forest, pine forests prevail. Stocks of wood comprises more than 8.3 billion cubic metres (11% of all reserves of the RF). Forests are rich in fur-bearing animals: sables, squirrels, mushrats, ermines.
Land resources make up 77.5 mln. hectares. About 2.2% of land stock is occupied by industry. About 5.1 mln. hectares (6.6%) are in exploitation of agricultural enterprises.
The lake Baikal (volume of water-23,000 cubic metres - 20% of world`s fresh water stocks, area of surface - 31,500 square km, maximum depth - 1637 metres) is unique and one of the greatest lakes in the world. In the region there are two large rivers the Enisey and the Lena. Overall water resources, accessible for usage, are 120 cubic km annually.
| Administrative division|
In Irkutskaya region there are 33 districts, 22 towns, 14 towns of regional submission, 8 towns of district submission, 59 town settlements, 380 villages. Administrative centre is Irkutsk with the population of 594.5 thousand people. It was founded in 1686. Distance to Moscow is 5,042 km.
2773.7 thousand people live in the region, among them 79.6% live in towns. Density of population makes up 3.5 persons per sq. km.
In Irkutsk there are 5 state theatres, circus, symphonic and chamber orchestras, 3 state museums, 4 libraries, studio of news-reel, one municipal theatre, 3 municipal theatres in Cheremkhovo and Bratsk. Specialists in culture and art study in 5 educational establishments: musical, art, theatrical and others. State regional museums: of regional studies, art, architecture-ethnographic "Taltsy" are the largest cultural establishments in Siberia, keeping unique collections and works of great art and historical value.
In Irkutskaya region many well-known travellers, geographers and scientists worked and lived. Such outstanding statesmen as M. Romm, L. Gaidai, V. Rasputin, A. Vampilov have contributed much to Siberian culture.