Irkutsk seemed to be frozen in the USSR era. Every street was named either after Lenin or Marx or Stalin. There was a large statue of Lenin in the central square. It also boasts of great wooden architecture. Streets are filled with Soviet era rickety trams. We took one of those to get to the bus station. We saw more Japanese and Korean cars than European ones. Funnily, most cars were right hand driven here, as they are imported as second hand cars from Japan and not intended for Russian roads. No one seemed to care. The market surrounding the bus station seemed very Asian in nature. Flowers and spices were being sold along with Chinese jackets and hats.However, Irkutsk is distinctively European in looks. Even being 5300 km from Moscow, the place was European in almost every aspect. Although the western aspects were fewer than Moscow. We saw more Ladas than Volkswagen for example. We saw more Soviet trams and Trolley buses in the City of Irkutsk than we saw in Moscow.The history of the city goes back to the seventeenth century. Back in those days, it was a centre for fur trading. By the mid-eighteenth century, it was a bustling city. A major stop between the Russian and Chinese empires, it was strategically located to be a trading hub. Gold, diamonds, fur and timber came from Russia. Silk and tea came from China. A vibrant economy existed here. And it still does.