Ulan-Ude is the capital and administrative center of Buryatia Republic of Russia located in the eastern Siberia. The city is standing on the Uda River about 100 km from Baikal Lake and 5,640 km from Moscow.
Ulan-Ude population is about 411,500 (2012); land area - 348 sq. km.
The phone code is +7 3012; postal codes - 670000-670055.
Ulan-Ude is an important railway junction because of its location on Trans-Siberian Railway between Chita and Irkutsk cities of Russia. There is also Trans-Mongolian Railway beginning in Ulan-Ude and going through Mongolia to China capital city Beijing.
Also Trans-Siberian Highway (M55) is going through the city. It is the only highway to travel to Vladivostok direction. There are two airports in the city: Ulan-Ude main airport “Mukhino” and small airport “Vostochny”.
First people settled in the area of present Ulan-Ude were tribes of Evenks and Buryat Mongols. The city itself was founded by Russian Cossacks colonizing Siberia in 1666. The fortress received name Udinskoe meaning “standing on the Uda River”.
The settlement was growing quickly because of its favorable geographical position and soon Udinskoe became an important trade center connecting Russia, China and Mongolia. In 1690, the settlement received the status of administrative center of Transbaikal region.
Udinskoe settlement received the status of the town in 1775 with the new name - Udinsk. In 1783, the city was renamed again to Verkhneudinsk (meaning Upper Udinsk). The town was heavily damaged during the fire in 1878.
In 1900, the new period of growing began when Trans-Siberian Railway reached the town. From 1880 to 1939, the population of the city grew from 3,500 to 126,000.
In 1934, the city received its current name Ulan-Ude meaning “red Uda” (“red gate” from Buryat people language).
Ulan-Ude had the status of “closed city” until 1991. Today it is an important center of Siberian culture and history.
The historical center of Ulan-Ude has several merchants mansions of the Russian Empire times built in the Russian classicism style.
Ethnographic Museum of the peoples of Trans-Baikal region is one of Russia’s largest open-air museums. The museum has historical findings from the era of Khunnu until the mid 20th century, including a unique collection of wooden architecture of Siberian people (more than 40 architectural monuments). The museum is located in the village of Verkhnaya Berezovka (about 8 km from Ulan-Ude).
Museum of Buryatia Nature. The exhibition includes unique paleontological, zoological, geological and botanical collections. Address: Ulan-Ude, Lenin Str., 46.
Museum of Buryatia History has rich archaeological collection of the Bronze, Iron, Medieval Ages; an ethnographic collection and a collection of decorative and applied arts of the peoples inhabiting the Trans-Baikal region from the 18th century to the present.
A special place is occupied by a collection of Buddhist religious objects. The pride of the museum is a fund of rare books, which includes Buddhist literature in Tibetan and old written Mongolian languages.
The most valuable of the museum’s exhibits is the “Atlas of Tibetan Medicine” - an outstanding monument of art and source for the study of medieval culture of the Buddhist world. Address: Ulan-Ude, Profsoyuznaya Str., 29.
The following museums may be also interesting: The museum of Ulan-Ude history (Lenin Str., 26); Art Museum (Kuibyshev Str., 29); Geological Museum (Lenin Str., 59).
Another attraction of the city is Odigitrievsky Cathedral of Russian Orthodox Church, the first stone building constructed in the city. It is an architectural monument of Siberian baroque. The cathedral is located in the heart of the city on the banks of the Uda River where it flows into the Selenga.
One of the most interesting monuments of Ulan-Ude is standing on the main square of the city (Soviets Square). It is made in the form of the giant head of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.
The monument, weighing 12 tons and having a height of 13,5 meters was constructed in honor of the centenary of Lenin’s birth in 1970.