Siberian Federal District
Time: Irkutsk Time Zone (IRKT/IRKST).
Local time now:
Federal district: Siberian Federal District.
Main cities: Kyakhta (located on the Mongolian border; one of the main trading centers of the Great Tea Road), Selenginsk and Novoselenginsk, Zakamensk, Severobaikalsk, and Gusinoozersk.
Land and Resources: The Buryat Republic is located in the southern part of East Siberia south and east of Lake Baikal. It has a favorable geographic location, with borders on Irkutsk and Chita regions, the Republic of Tuva, and Mongolia. It is a predominantly mountainous country with a small number of flat regions at altitudes of more than 500 m.
Buryatia`s natural features are varied. They include great Lake Baikal, a favorite place for recreation and tourism, including international tourism; mountains up to 3491 m high; taiga that covers 2/3 of the republic`s territory; forest steppes; and steppes. Transbaikal is a blend of Switzerland, the Don, and Finland. Major rivers include Barguzin River, Irkut River, Kitoy River, Oka River, Selenga River, Uda River, Upper Angara River, Vitim River. Over 80% of republic`s territory is located in the mountainous region, including the Baikal Mountains on the northern shores of Lake Baikal.
Climate: Buryatia has a severe continental climate. Winters are long, cold, windless, and snowy, while summers are short and warm. Air temperatures range from +40°C in summer to -50°C in winter. Precipitation is about 300 mm per year. There are also permafrost areas.
Transportation: Ulan-Ude is located on the main line (Trans-Siberian line) of the Trans-Siberian Railway between Irkutsk and Chita at the junction of the Trans-Mongolian line (the Trans-Mongolian Railway) which begins at Ulan-Ude and continues south through Mongolia to Beijing in China. The city also lies on the M55 section of the Baikal Highway (part of the Trans-Siberian Highway), the main federal road to Vladivostok. Public transport in Ulan-Ude consists of buses, trams and marshrutkas.
Lake Baikal is a popular tourist destination.
Ulan-Ude is the capital city of the Buryat Republic, Russia, is located about 100 km south-east of Lake Baikal on the Uda River at its confluence with the Selenga. It is the third largest city in eastern Siberia. Ulan-Ude was first called Udinskoye for its location on the Uda River. The current name of Ulan-Ude as bestowed upon the city in 1934 and means "red Uda" or "red gate" in Buryat reflecting the communist ideology of the Soviet Union to which it belonged.
The city is the center of Tibetan Buddhism in Russia and the important Ivolginsky datsan is located 23 km from the city.
Until 1991, Ulan-Ude was city closed to foreigners. There are old merchants` mansions richly decorated with wood and stone carving in the historical center of Ulan-Ude, along the river banks which are exceptional examples of Russian classicism. The city has a large ethnographic museum which recalls the history of the peoples of the region. There is also a large and highly unusual statue of the head of Lenin in the central square, the largest in the world.
Buddhist monasteries (datsans) are found in every district. The form of Buddhism practiced here is Lamaism. In the monasteries, you can obtain spiritual or medical advice. The best known datsans are Ivolginsky (the center of Buddhism in Russia), Tamchinsky (one of the oldest), and Atsagatsky.
There are several large reserves and national parks in the republic including:
Barguzinsky state biosphere reserve
Baikal state biosphere reserve
State natural reserve “Dzherginsky”
National park “Zabaikalsky”
National park “Tunkinsky”
There are 33 museums, 7 memorial museums, 82 village museums. One of the largest museums is Ethnographic Museum of Zabaikal people. It is an open-air museum in the settlement Verkhnyaya Beryezovka, 8 km from Ulan-Ude. It was opened in 1973. There are more than 40 monuments of architecture there (Archeological, Evenk, Buryat, Predbaikalskiy, Old Believers` complexes).
Buryat State Drama Theatre is the oldest in the republic.
Vicinities of Ulan-Ude
Old Belief Сhurch in the Ethnographic museum, Ulan-Ude.
Gate of the Ethnographic museum, Ulan-Ude.
Russian orthodox cathedral in Ulan-Ude.
«Mother Buryatiya», Ulan-Ude.Sources:
Encarta World Atlas
http://www.buryatia.ru - Buryat Republic Web Site