Cultural events. Where to go in Ulan-Ude

The cultural life in the capital of Buryatia is in full swing — performances and concerts are held here every day, permanent and temporary exhibitions are open. It is not difficult to find an event to your liking, because the choice is very large: from classical ballet to contemporary drama, from traditional crafts to experimental art.
“Voice of the Nomads” and musical projects of the Buryat Philharmonic

Every summer for more than twelve years, Buryatia has hosted the “Voice of the Nomads,” the largest music festival beyond the Urals. Some of the concerts take place at venues in Ulan-Ude, while a large-scale open-air is transferred to the picturesque Atsagat steppe (an area 50 minutes drive from the city). Originally "Voice of the Nomads" was perceived as an ethno-festival, but now it is increasingly opening up the wonderful world of music — both fashionable, modern, and traditional, folk.

— A nomad is someone who strives for freedom, who does not stand still and constantly looks forward. Nomads are musicians and listeners, they are all of us. And it is precisely for such people that the “Voice of the Nomads” was conceived,” says festival art director Natalya Ulanova.

“Voice of the Nomads” is organized by the team of the Buryat Philharmonic. Their major projects include the UU. Sound contemporary music festival and the “Autumn, Jazz and Wine" concert series, the Baikal Christmas Festival and Pizzicato Chamber Music Festival.

Night of Yohor and projects of the Baikal Theater

People holding hands move in a circle of the sun. This is Yohor, a traditional Buryat dance. Its movements are simple, but have an important ritual meaning and charge the participants with a feeling of unity and friendly support. Night of Yohor is another July festival dedicated to this dance. The festival with authentic songs and dances takes place on the territory of the Ethnographic Museum of the Peoples of Transbaikalia. The competition program involves amateur and professional groups from all regions of Buryatia, other regions of Russia and foreign countries. The finale of this action is worth being seen by everyone — in the evening twilight, around a large fire, thousands of people sing Buryat songs and perform their favorite dance, Yohor.

The idea of creating the festival belongs to the Baikal Theater. The theater is famous for its luxurious productions based on folk dances of Asian countries and its careful attitude to the ancient Buryat-Mongolian culture. The artists preserve the beauty and originality of ancient songs and dances, while creating new formats and using modern means of expression. The theater's productions which it is difficult to get the tickets for include “The Shine of Asia,” “The Face of the Goddess”, and “The White Moon Meeting.”


it is a great luck for travelers to get to the Buryat sports folk festival Surkharbaan. Traditionally it is held on the first Sunday of July. Previously, the holiday was called “Three Games of Husbands” (“Eryn gurban naadan”), now its name is translated from Buryat as “Shooting on suras” — a leather target. In addition to archery, the games include Buryat "Behe barildaan" wrestling, horse racing and sometimes spinal bone breaking competitions. Surkharbaan is always celebrated accompanied by a spectacular concert program with songs and Yohor, master classes on embossing, fabric painting and drawing in ethnic style. The competitions take place at the Central Stadium and the Ivolginsky Datsan Hippodrome.

Theater life

The visiting card of cultural Ulan-Ude is the Opera and Ballet Theater, which is located in the very center of the city. On its stage you can see productions based on the works of classics — the ballets “The Nutcracker” by Tchaikovsky and “Romeo and Juliet” by Prokofiev, the operas “Carmen” by Bizet and “Prince Igor” by Borodin. The repertoire also includes performances based on Buryat legends or the works of Buryat writers. For example, the rock musical “Balzhan Khatan”, based on a legend of the leader of the Khori Buryat, the opera “Enkhe-Bulat Bator”, inspired by an ancient folk tale about Shono-Bator, and, certainly, the legendary ballet “The Beauty of Angara” about a naughty daughter of mighty Baikal. Every year the theater holds the Baikal Dance Festival, which brings dance masters and beginners (students and graduates of the Buryat Choreographic College) together. The theater building itself was built in the Stalinist Empire style and hides many interesting secrets. The building is open for tours; you can sign up at the theater box office.

All the performances at the Buryat Academical Drama Theatre, even those based on Russian or foreign classics, are going on the Buryat language. But don’t worry — you will definitely receive the headphones with simultaneous translation. The theater façade has a “Blooming Buryatia” bas-relief, and elements of traditional crafts are used inside: a panel by the Buryat artist Alla Tsybikova, a horsehair curtain, chandeliers stylized as silver jewelry, and Florentine mosaics only consisting of stones collected in Buryatia.

On the stage of the Russian Drama Theater you can see performances for children and adults based on plays by playwrights from different eras. The Russian Drama Theater is one of the first theaters in the city to put teenagers in a separate audience category. They can to attend such performances as “Macaques, Pizza and Destruction”, “Natasha’s Dream”, “Topless Photo”, “Gandhi Was Silent on Saturdays”, and others. In addition to current performances, the Youth Theater hosts readings of modern drama and chamber theater performances.

"Ulger" is the only puppet theater in Buryatia. Performances are staged here not only for the little ones, but also for teenagers and adults. The theater adapts modern formats to theatrical traditions: so, in 2022, it presented “The Assuri Sword” fantasy play with cyber-punk elements. “Ulger” has repeatedly won the “Golden Mask” award, organizes the Baikal Theater School for children, and also hosts the festival of puppet theaters “The Way of the Nomad.”

Museum events

Before going to city museums, you should decide what you would like to study — the traditions and history of Buryatia and Ulan-Ude, the history of Buryat art or the works of contemporary artists?

The Ulan-Ude History Museum is located in the house of merchant Ivan Goldobin and tells about how Verkhneudinsk (the original name of the city) appeared, who founded it, how the Ulan-Ude people lived before the revolution and in Soviet times. You can broaden your knowledge about the old city by visiting the private gallery of Lev Bardamov, where ancient maps, household items and rare books are collected. In the halls of the Museum of the History of Buryatia named after M. N. Khangalov, you will learn about the Buddhist treasures of the republic, plunge into the traditional world of the Buryats, and even visit a traditional dwelling — a yurt.

At the Art Museum named after C.S. Sampilov you will admire the paintings by Aivazovsky, Shishkin and Kuindzhi, as well as get acquainted with the works by Buryat painters from different times. The Museum of Nature of Buryatia is also located here, where you can explore the beauty of nature of the republic and Lake Baikal. The "Zaluu" Center for Contemporary Art and the "Heb-Hub" art cluster present works by young Ulan-Ude artists. "Heb-Hub" operates on the territory of the existing Republican Printing House and gathers residents of creative professions such as artists, ceramists, architects, jewelers, calligraphers, photographers and others. The space hosts concerts, master classes, as well as major events such as "Typomania" or the "MORS" festival of book illustration.

Going to the Ethnographic Museum of the Peoples of Transbaikalia, you will see ancient buildings of the Buryats and Old Believers, get acquainted with the ancient artifacts of the Hunnic settlement, and look into the houses of a peasant, a doctor and an official of Verkhneudinsk. The Ethnographic Museum is considered one of the largest open-air museums in Russia. Therefore, it is worth setting aside several hours to visit it.

"Paper Key" and "Typomania"

The lovers of book adventures will also find something to see in the capital of Buryatia. The "Paper Key" festival of children's and youth books is held heren in autumn, attended by popular publishing houses, writers and illustrators from Russia and Mongolia. The oldest book event called the Book Salon held in the National Library unites the entire book industry of Buryatia. This is a great opportunity to meet writers in person and buy books about local culture, printed in small editions.

For several years in a row, the "Heb Hub" center for creative industries has hosted "Typomania", a festival of typography, calligraphy and posters. Here aspiring illustrators can listen to lectures, take part in master classes on Buryat-Mongolian calligraphy “Mongol bichig” and become part of a general graffiti performance.

Traveling around the city

Every summer, the "Khoto" festival of excursions takes place in Ulan-Ude. In a week you can go on original walking, tram and bus tours around the city, visit the roof of the National Library and look behind the scenes of the Opera and Ballet Theatre, try the Verkhneudinsk cuisine, raft down the Selenga River, learn to dance Yohor and square dance and much, much more.

In 2022, the ""Lingonberry Spirit" festival dedicated to Russian culture was held for the first time on Sobornaya Street in the historical part of Ulan-Ude. Participants listened to lectures about the townspeople living in the XIX century, learned to cook national cuisine, and tried their hand at Russian crafts.
Ulan-Ude is rich in exciting cultural events. The city will delight you with new knowledge and fresh impressions. The main thing is to plan your cultural trip in advance and buy tickets.