General Map of Irkutsk Province: Showing Postal and Major Roads, Stations and the Distance in Versts between Them


This 1826 map of Irkutsk Province is from a larger work, Geograficheskii atlas Rossiiskoi imperii, tsarstva Pol'skogo i velikogo kniazhestva Finliandskogo (Geographical atlas of the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Poland, and the Grand Duchy of Finland), containing 60 maps of the Russian Empire. Compiled and engraved by Colonel V.P. Piadyshev, it reflects the detailed mapping carried out by Russian military cartographers in the first quarter of the 19th century. The map shows population centers (six gradations by size), postal stations, roads (four types), state, provincial and district borders, forts, redoubts, factories, mines, monasteries, and guard posts. Distances are shown in versts, a Russian measure, now no longer used, equal to 1.07 kilometers. Legends and place-names are in Russian and French. Irkutsk was founded in 1652 and quickly became an economic and political center for eastern Siberia. The region has long been known for a natural wonder, Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, and for the Lena, one of the largest rivers in Siberia. The fur trade, focused on the marten (sable), was important to Irkutsk, as to other parts of Siberia. Sable furs were so desirable that the Hanseatic League imported them through its western Russian outposts in Novgorod and Pskov. The Great Siberian Road (Tea Road), one of the world’s longest trade arteries, connected Moscow with Irkutsk by the mid-18th century, and the city benefited further from its strategic location on the imperial boundary with China. Tea, silk, porcelain, and many other fine products flowed through the nearby border town of Kyakhta, which also became a regional hub for the fur trade. Irkutsk became a regional capital and the seat of the governor-general of Eastern Siberia in the early 19th century. Irkutsk also was the staging ground for the opening of the Russian Far East, in which explorers and promyshlenniki (fur traders) set out from the city into the eastern wilds. This process ultimately led the Russians to Alaska.

Date Created

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Publication Information

Military Topographical Depot, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Title in Original Language

Генеральная Карта Иркутской Губернiи Съ показанiемъ почтовыхъ и большихъ проѣзжихъ дорогъ, станцiй и разстоянiя между оными верстъ

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Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map ; 40 x 38 centimeters


  • Scale 1:5,460,000

Last updated: October 30, 2015