In 1825 a group of officers and noblemen who became known as the Decembrists staged an unsuccessful rebellion in St Petersburg against the autocracy of the emperor. As a result many participants were exiled to Siberia and the first group of Decembrists arrived in Irkutsk in 1826 on route to a hard labour camp. After completing their sentence of hard-labour, Decembrists leaders Prince Sergey Trubetskoy and Prince Sergey Volkonsky were allowed to settle in Irkutsk and were joined by their wives who famously followed them into exile in Siberia. These events are now remembered in Irkutsk's Decembrist Historical and Memorial Museum.
The first exhibition detailing the Decembrist Uprising was organised in 1925 on the 100th anniversary. In 1970 the exhibition gained a new home in the estate house where Sergey Turbetskoy lived in exile with his family. In 1985 it expanded to cover the estate house where Prince Sergey Volkonsky lived which is located on the nearby on the other side of Ulitsa Timiryazeva. After extensive restoration work, the museum reopened to the public in 2011.
In particular the museums detail the lives of Trubetskoy and Volkonsky and their families and displays several personal belongings of theirs. The events surrounding the Decembrists and especially the sacrifices made by their wives to join them in Siberia served as the inspiration for many Russian poems, stories and films and so these museums are now unsurprisingly one of the highlights of a visit to Irkutsk. In the second half of December the museums annually hold a festival known as Decembrist Evenings.
|Location||Volkonsky House: 10 Pereulok Volkonskogo, Trubetskoy House: 64 Ulitsa Dzerzhinskogo|
|Clock||10:00 - 18:00. Volkonsky House closed on Mondays, Trubetskoy House closed on Tuesdays.|