Why to go? The Republic of Buryatia is a republic in the Russian Federation. It became a part of Russia in the 17th century when pioneers came to Siberia in search of gold and furs. Having a population of 1,049,000 people and area of 135,600 sq. miles, Buryatia stretches along the eastern shore of Lake Baikal and thus holding bragging rights to the best beaches surrounding the lake. The republic’s economy is based on agriculture, the timber and food industries and fur farming. The Buryats, numbering approximately 450.000, is the largest ethnic minority group in Siberia. They are mainly concentrated in their homeland - the Republic of Buryatia. Buryats are of Mongolian descent and share many customs with their Mongolian cousins. Today, the majority of Buryats live in and around the capital of the Republic, although many live more traditional lives in the countryside.

The capital of Buryatia is Ulan Ude. Originally the city was called Verkhneudinsk, and only in 1934 it got its present name - Ulan Ude, which means Red Uda in Buryat language. The city is located in a valley formed by the Selenga and Uda rivers, approximately 150 km from Lake Baikal. With a population of 386,000 people, it is the third largest city in Eastern Siberia.

Ulan-Ude was founded in 1666 by Russian Cossacks and was used primarily as a military outpost. In 1680-s the encampment was upgraded to a fortress and finally to the official status of city in 1690.

Ulan Ude’s ideal geographic location made possible two distinct opportunities for rapid economical growth during the early years of the city’s development. First, settling in between the commercial routes between Russia and the Far East (China and Mongolia), Ulan Ude became a hot bed of trade for the two economic powers. Secondly, the city was opened to the world when the Trans-Siberian Railway connected Ulan Ude with Central Russia and the Far East.

Ulan Ude occupies a territory of 85 acres and stretches for 20 miles from east to west. The private residence of the President of Buryatia, the Republic’s government offices, the Khural (National Assembly) are all located in Ulan Ude.

Believers, explore the old Siberian architecture and meet the city’s friendly residents. The ethnic and cultural diversity of Ulan Ude and Buryatia makes this region a unique place where wonderful discoveries await every visitor.

Must see

City tour of Ulan Ude

During this tour you will see the historical center of Ulan Ude located along the river banks like a fancy amphitheater with its 1- and 2-storey houses that belonged to merchants of the 18th-19th century, the main square with the most extravagant monument to Lenin, the Holy Trinity and the Hodigitria Cathedrals, the Buryat Opera and Ballet Theater and other historical monuments.

Buddhist monastery "Ivolguinsky"

Built in 1946, Ivolginsky Datsan is located 25 miles from Ulan Ude, near the village of Ivolginsk. Till 1995 the Datsan was the residence of Bandido Khambo Lama (the leader of the Buddhists in Russia). The main building of the Datsan was built and consecrated in 1972. Inside the temple, right in front of the main entrance is the biggest and the most worshipped statue of Buddha, next to it - 16 naidans. Below the statue is a portrait of Dalai Lama XIV and his throne on which nobody else can seat.

The Ethnographical Museum

The Ethnographical Museum of the People of Trans-Baikal region. Operating hours: in summer - 10am to 5pm, in winter - 10am to 4pm, closed on Monday and last Tuesday of each month. Opened on July 6, 1973. Located 5 miles from Ulan Ude. The museum has expositions on the history of ethnic groups living in the region: Evenks, Western Buryats, Eastern Buryats, Cossacks, and Old Believers.

Buryat Village

The ancestors of the modern Buryats are Mongols who made their home near Lake Baikal long before Genghis Khan swept through Asia during the early thirteenth century and have remained in the area until modern times. Sharing land, as well as cultural traditions, political structure and certain norms of interrelation with other nations of Lake Baikal region, the Buryat People developed their original culture in which centuries-old traditions interweave with influences of recent ages, and managed to preserve it despite all troubles that the nation came through during its history. After 1990 there was a rapid revival of Buryat shamanism, and the number of shamans increases to this day. Buddhism also revived, and new temples have been built in most major Buryat towns.

Discovery of Buryatia

7 days / 6 nights

Day 1 Arrival in Ulan-Ude, transer to hotel, check-in. Visit to an open-air ethnography museum. Visit to a Russian old-believers village ( museum, church, lunch with folklore), dinner

Day 2 Visit to Ivolginsky datsan – a buddhist monastery, lunch in restaurant ” Chingis Khan”. Visit to the Fine-arts museum , drive to the buryat village of Arbizhil ( archery, a traditional  table game “shagay”, dinner in a yurta)

Day 3 Drive to Baikal lake, Posolsk settlement, visit to an orthodox  church, lunch , drive to Tankhoy ( 80 km), overnight in a tourist – information centre guest house, dinner

Day 4 Excursion along the biosphere reserve, hiking to a waterfall

Day 5 A whole-day tour to the lakes

Day  6 Breakfast, drive to Ulan-Ude. Check-in a hotel. Free time

Day  7 Transfer on departure

Group 20 pax, pricw per person from 735 eur per person 3* hotel