The main city of Buryatiya is almost 350 years old. Located on the hills, it is beautiful and manifold, it is the meeting point of West and East.
It was founded as ostrog (small wooden fortification) in 1666 by the Cossacks coming from the West, at the distance of 75 km from Baikal, at the confluence of the Uda and the Selenga Rivers. It is not by accident that exactly this place was chosen for the settlement - it was the crossroads of the ancient trading routs to Mongolia and China. It was called Verkhneudinsk because of its location on the Uda River. In soviet times, as it was a habit, it was renamed into Ulan-Ude, which is translated as «Red Uda».
A lot of things have been preserved from the ancient times - a remarkable church (1714) in honor of St. Hodigitria (from Greek - «guiding lady»), by the way, the patroness of all the wanderers and travelers; Trinity church (late 18th- early 19thcentury), Big and Small Shopping Arcade, dwelling houses in classical style and other monuments.
And very close to Buryatia main city there is Ivolginskii datsan (lamaist monastery); and a bit further, at the distance of 2 hours drive, one can find another famous datsan called Gusinoozyorskii; especially on holidays dat-sans attract thousands of Buddhist pilgrims. There are many interesting cultural and historical places in Ulan-Ude: there are four theatres - theatre of Buryat opera and ballet, a very famous one, giving performances on tours in Russia and abroad; Buryat drama theatre, Russian drama theatre, puppet theatre. Besides, the city boasts very interesting museums: the museum of History of Buryatiya, art museum with a big collection of old and new pictures, ethnographical museum of Transbaikal peoples, museum of Nature of Buryatiya and even geological museum. It is quite a lot for the relatively small city (400 000 people) and most likely anyone will find a rout to his taste here. Modern airport and Trans-Siberian line connect Ulan-Ude with the Russian cities, including Moscow and railways link it with the capitals of Mongolia and China - Ulan-Bator and Beijing.