Open-Air Taltsy Museum (Baikal, Russia)

Taltsy is similar to Open-Air Museum in Tallinn or Skansen in Stockholm. Taltsy is called architectural and ethnographic museum: it tells a about everyday life of Baikal region inhabitants via the display of Baikal architecture from indigenous huts to the estates of the 20th century.
Taltsy map

Indigenous population

Taltsy entrance fee ranges from 150 to 300 rubles and depends on whether the museum has events running on the day of your visit. Students have discounts, foreigners, on the contrary, pay more. You can reach Taltsy in about one-hour drive from Irkutsk. The exhibition starts with the examples of winter and summer camps of Tofalars – a nomad indigenous Siberian group. Missionaries christianized them, but Tofalars kept the belief into shamanism and the practice of traditional shaman rituals.

The museum tells a lot about another indigenous group, the Evenks, otherwise called Tungus. Evenks may be very different, for instance, they can be divided into hunters, deer herders, and cattle herders. Their traditional house is called chum.

The museum creators also restored the tradtional Siberian hunting camp of the 19th century, very typical of Russian hunters of Siberian Taiga.
Siberian hunting camp

Interestingly, most of the museum constructions are not just recreated, they are real and have been transported to the museum from Siberian regions. For instance, three water mills (from the middle of the 19th century) were brought from Vladimirovka village (Irkutsk region) in 1974. The combination of three water mills forming a cascade is very typical for Syberia, they usually served for 2-3 villages and could grind up to 80000 kilograms of flour a year.
water mills

Main Exhibition

The museum exhibition is set chronologically, moving towards nowadays.
Taltsy Exhibition

The estate of Cossack Moskovsky (the end of the 18th – the beginning of the 19th century) was transported to the museum from Antonovka village in Irkutsk region. Cossacks were a special East Slavic-speaking semi-military group in various region of Russian Empire, including Siberia, in which they were privileged, did not have to pay taxes, and got plots of land for their service. The estate of Moskovsky is an example of a typical estate built on such a plot of land.
Cossack houses

Cossack houses

Zarubin’s estate (the beginning of the 20th century) was brought from Yodarma village in Irkutsk region and is in many ways similar to Moskovsky’s estate.
Zarubin’s estate

The parish board estate of the beginning of the 20th century was brought here from Belsk village of Irkutsk region. Parish boards collected taxes, allocated corvée, and had a room for keeping prisoners. The estate complex was formed by the end of the 19th century in accordance of the needs of this institution; it included a main building, a barn, a firefighting shed, a stable, a prison building, and a tethering post.
parish board estate

old prison

The building of the parish school (the end of the 19th century) has been brought from Keul village of Irkutsk region. The aim of such schools was to strengthen orthodox faith among people and “inform them about the primary useful knowledge.” The school year depended on the peasants’ calendar: school started on September 15 and ended on May 1.
parish school


In addition to the traditional architecture, you many learn about various handicrafts and activities in Taltsy, and even have your hands on some of them.
handicraft activities

russian blacksmiths



russian swing

You may spend a couple of hours or half a day in Taltsy, and use the other half to visit the neighbouring Listvyanka town to see ringed seals, Baikal Museum, and try famous Baikal fish omul as well as other Baikal delicatessens.

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