Irkutsk is the administrative, cultural, political, economic and transport center of Irkutsk oblast. It was founded in 1661 and received the status of the city in 1686.

Irkutsk has a humid continental climate, characterized by extreme variation of temperatures between seasons. Winter is severe and prolonged, the weather in winter is almost always clear. Summer is wet and warm, but cloudy.

The warmest month of the year in Irkutsk is July, when the average temperature is +17,7 °C, the highest temperature recorded was +37,2 °C (July,1915). The coldest month of the year is January, when the mean temperature is -18,3 °C, the lowest temperature ever recorded was -49,5 °C.

The annual average temperature is +0,6 °C.

The annual average wind speed is 2,1 meters per second.

The annual average air humidity is 72%.

Precipitation also varies widely throughout the year, with the wettest month July, when precipitation averages 119 mm. The driest month is February, when precipitation averages only 7.6 mm.

The most developed sectors in Irkutsk are power, food, metallurgical and machine building industries.

Irkutsk became one of the leaders among Russian cities in visiting by foreign tourists.

Irkutsk numbers 15 specialized educational institutions. In all there are 22 institutions of higher education.

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