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The Republic of Buryatia

The Republic of Buryatia is located on the area of scenic Central Asian landscapes that include tundra, mountains, forests and steppes, and the oldest and the largest fresh water lake – the Baikal. The capital of Buryatia is Ulan-Ude.


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Ulan-Ude

Ulan-Ude is the capital of the Republic of Buryatia.

Buryatia Ulan Ude

Rus: Улан-Удэ
Longitude: 107°36’29.14”E (107,608093)
Latitude: 51°50’27.01”N (51,840836)
Population: about 400 000
Land area: 134 sq mi / 348 sq. km.
The phone code is +7 3012.
Standard time zone: GMT/UTC+8:00 hour.
The town is located 3,500 mi (5,640 km) from Moscow.

 

Ulan-Ude is on the list of Russia’s historical cities. It’s a quiet place, where a Buddhist temple and a gigantic sculpture of Lenin’s head coexist peacefully.

This city celebrated its 350th anniversary in 2016. However, the authorities still hope to add some two thousand years to it, because an ancient Hun settlement was found on the outskirts of Ulan-Ude and it is known that the Hun Empire was born in what now is Buryatia.

      If this fact is officially recognized, Ulan-Ude is going to be the oldest city in Russia.

The architecture of the 19th century has been preserved particularly well in the city, with solid merchants’ houses, trading houses, churches and an old trading complex. The merchant’s mansions located along the banks of the Uda River are the historical monuments of the town’s prosperity as a trading center.

The historical centre with its regular shaped districts and straight streets is truly remarkable; it’s relatively compact and very walkable. The main street is Lenina (also known as Arbat), along which most hotels, some museums and shops are located. The pedestrian part of the street is the main place for meeting, walking, shopping for locals. It’s a good place to get an atmosphere of the city just sitting on a bench.

 

The Republic of Buryatia

Buryatia

The Republic of Buryatia (Rus: Республика Бурятия [Respublika Buryatiya]; Buryat: Буряад Орон [Buryaad Oron]) is a federal subject of Russia. With a population of about a million people it occupies the area of 135,600 sq mi (351,300 square kilometers). The Republic is located on the area of scenic Central Asian landscapes that include tundra, mountains, forests and steppes, and the oldest and the largest fresh water lake – the Baikal.

      The population of the Republic of Buryatia is multi-national: Russians, Buryats, Evenks, Soyotes, ets.

Ethnic Buryats make up 30% of the Buryatia’s population. The aboriginal population of republic also includes the Evenks, whose native land is located in the Baikal Region. They were nomads and lived in chums (traditional houses) covered with birch bark in summer, and deer skins in winter. The beginning of the Soviet era marked the new stage in the Evenks’ life. The nomads started to lead a regular life with little migration.

Besides the Buryats there is an indigenous group of the Soyotes who reside in the Okinsky District. The Soyotes are the ancestors of the ancient Samoede population of the Eastern Sayans. The Soyote Association of the Okinsky Region lists 1,200 indigenous people.

The Russian settlements in Buryatia started in the 17th century. Cossacks were the most numerous migration group of the Russians who were the first to come to Trans-Baikalia.

      The Russians brought their original culture to the Trans-Baikal region. A large ethnic Russian group in Buryatia and Trans-Baikal is made up by so-called Old Believers (“semeiskiye”), the descendants of Old Believers who were exiled to Siberia in the second half of the 18th century.

Buryatia

They are spread all over the Buryat Republic: they mostly reside in the Tarbagataisky, Bichursky, Mukhorshibirsky and Zaigraevsky Regions (Districts). The Old Believers’ way of living was different from other Russian settlers’ of Trans-Baikal and Buryats’, so traditions and rituals were carefully handed down.

The sharply continental climate of Buryatia is known by a large span of annual and daily temperatures. The most notable feature of the Buryat climate is the great amount of sunny days – nearly 300 days of sunshine.

      Buryatia has even more sunshine than some southern regions of Russia.

Inspite of the fact that winters in the republic are rather cold, the weather is not unbearable because of the dry air. The average temperature in January varies between -20 and -30°C. Summers are short and hot, the average temperature of the warmest month, July, is about +20 °C.

Particular attention should be paid to Buryat cuisine. As well as any other cuisine, the dishes of the Buryat cuisine formed under the influence of the local flora and fauna. The main ingredients of the Buryat cuisine are meat and milk while fish and game were complementary to the basic diet. The type of meat depended on the season: mutton in summer, horse-flesh in autumn and beef in winter. Nowadays this rule is forgotten in big cities but in small Buryat settlements it is still alive. Dairy products have always been sacred for the Buryats. You can find them on a festive table, they are given as a gift to spirits.

Buryatia

Buuz (aka pozy) have a special place in the Buryat cuisine. They are a type of steamed dumplings filled with minced meat; they have a form of a jurt, with a small opening at the top. The filling usually combines several types of meat, the classical variant includes beef and pork or beef, pork and mutton. You can find buuz with chopped meat, this variant is considered to be the traditional one. A specific feature of the dish is broth inside each buuz. That is why it is correct to eat buuz by hand, with the dough pocket catching the juices of the meat. Make a small bite without turning the buuz upside down, drink the broth and then eat the rest.

 A piece of advice. If you ever come to the capital of Buryatia, Ulan-Ude, go to Kommunisticheskaya street located in the very centre of the city. There are several cafés in this street in old wooden houses where you can buy traditional buuz at a decent price.

The most well-known soup is mutton soup with home-made noodles (shulen). It is rich soup, the main ingredients of which are meat, home-made noodles, green onion and salt. Mutton lovers can try buhler – broth made of different pieces of mutton. Salamat – a hot dish made of sour cream and flour – can also be found at Buryat meal.

Buryatia

There is a possibility to make a gastro-tour and visit a Buryat family for a dinner. You could taste such traditional dishes as blood sausage, lamb stomach, frozen raw horse liver covered with visceral fat and others. Buryats love tea, they always drink it with milk and sometimes with a pinch of salt.
If you come to the Baikal, it is absolutely necessary to try omul. It can be cooked in different ways: smoked, salted, fried, sun dried; omul buuz, rolls, roast or soup; omul cooked on campfire and many others. You could also try some other Baikal fish species like thymallus, coregonus, acipenser and comephorus.

 

Buryatia