Ulan Ude was founded in 1666 and due to its location on trade routes between Russia, China and Mongolia it developed into a prosperous trading town.Today the city is still an important commercial and industrial center of Eastern Siberia, located on the 5640th kilometer of the Trans-Siberian Railway.
It is the capital of the Republic of Buryatia and is home for Buryat, Evenk and Russian people. The city itself has a distinct Asian-like vibe, perhaps because of the cultural mixture and proximity to Mongolia. Thus you’ll definitely feel more Asia here than Russia as half of the people living here are Buryats.
Ulan Ude has a special atmosphere which differs from than any other Russian city, as well as its own ethnic holidays, festivals, sports, folklore and style of life. It is the third most populated city in Eastern Siberia, blending Oriental designs with Russia's Tsarist past.
While the city was closed to foreigners up until 1991, Ulan Ude is now the perfect place for travelers to experience the wonder and mysticism of Eastern Siberia. Visitors will instantly notice the stark Soviet remnants, which create an interesting contrast against the heavily Eastern influences.
Among the places worth a stop here is the Ulan Ude Ethnographic Museum - a beautifully constructed outdoor museum with over 11,000 exhibits. In the city square rests the largest head of Vladimir Lenin monument in the world completing the Soviet-themed center. In the downtown area, tourists can experience the enchantment of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Smolensk. While this cathedral was used as an anti-religious center during the Soviet Union, it has now been restored to its original purpose.
Outside the city lies a vast forest of trees and exceptionally green grass, as is usual for the Siberian region. Whether you wish to explore the old town or go for a hike, Ulan Ude is a wonderful addition to any vacation to Russia!