One day in Ulan-Ude

Spend one day in Ulan-Ude and see all the main tourist attractions? Easy enough! Take our guide with you and go on an exciting journey through the capital of Buryatia.
It’s worth starting from the main square of the city — Soviet Square. The famous monument, the largest head of Lenin in the world, is located here. The head is surrounded by the Radio House, the Geological Museum, one of the buildings of the Buryat State University, the House of Soviets, where the government of the republic is located, the House of Political Enlightenment, which now houses the Buryat Philharmonic, and the building of the former "Progress" cinema. The luxurious Opera and Ballet Theater and Theater Square with a musical fountain are located on the other side of the road. A sculpture depicting the main stars of the Buryat ballet Larisa Sakhyanova and Pyotr Abasheev is located nearby.

Next let's go down the pedestrian Lenin Street and past the Triumphal Arch in honor of the visit of Tsarevich Nikolai Alexandrovich. On the way, it’s worth stopping in the Tourist Information Center (50 Lenina Street) to pick up guidebooks and learn more about what to see in the city and its surroundings. The center is located in a historical building — in the XIX century the Transbaikal Orphanage was located here. A sculpture of the dashing merchant Evsey Lukich stands across the road, and a two-story architectural monument, the former "Pti-Otel" Hotel of commoner Selishcheva, is located next to it. The hotel is famous for the fact that Chekhov stayed here during his trip to Sakhalin. In his notes, he called Verkhneudinsk (as Ulan-Ude was previously called) a "nice little town." In gratitude for this, a monument was erected to the writer in the center of that very Lenin Street, or Arbat, as local residents call it.

The street is lined with merchant houses that have preserved their appearance from the time they were built in the late XIX - early XX centuries. All of them now house modern shops and cafes. But with a bit of imagination, you can imagine yourself as a resident of Verkhneudinsk, leisurely strolling past the first pastry shop (Kapelman's house, 30a Lenina Street), the electric theater "Illusion" (house of the merchant Borisova, 25 Lenin Street) or the laundry room "Hygiene" (house of sergeant Menshikov, 24 Lenin Street). The Ulan-Ude History Museum is located in the house of merchant Goldobin (26a Lenin street), which will tell you a lot of interesting things about the life of townspeople before the revolution and in Soviet times.

In addition to the monument to Chekhov, on Arbat you can see a sculptural composition in the form of a rod of the god of trade Mercury and a cornucopia. It is curious that not only traditional fruits fall out of the cornucopia, but also pine cones and even buuzas, a national Buryat dish. The Ulan-Ude coat of arms depicts the rod of Mercury, because the city was considered the largest trading center in Eastern Siberia.

Next stop is Revolutsii Square. This is the oldest square in the city; in the XVIII century it was called Bazarnaya. Later, already in the XX century, the monument to soldiers who died for communism was moved here from Soviet Square and a large department store was built. Part of the stone Trading Rows remained in place — the Verkhneudinsk Fair used to be held here, where furs, nuts, fish and flour were sold. As you walk along the rows, pay attention to the city's sculptures. One of them is dedicated to elderly people who loved to gather on benches and play chess. The sculpture is called "Pensioner".

Let's go further along Lenin Street to the very first stone building of the city — St. Odigitrievsky Cathedral. The street along which we were moving all this time was built from it — initially it was called Bolshaya. The cathedral is considered a Siberian Baroque architectural monument.

Sobornaya Street awaits you behind the temple — it is another pedestrian street of the city lined with the restored houses of Verkhneudinsk residents. Some of them are still residential, some have cafes and shops. For example, a restaurant with a merchant menu was opened in the house of the merchant Skrylnikova (8 Sobornaya Street), and the Center of Oriental Medicine was located nearby (10 Sobornaya Street). Nearby there is a monument to the victims of political repression, and across the road there is the first private Ulan-Ude museum — the Lev Bardamov Gallery.

You can return to the center through the streets of the Old city, where historical buildings have been preserved. Most of the houses still preserves decorations in the form of carved platbands, wooden columns, and neat scallops on the roofs. A lot of buuz small authentic cafe where you can try national dishes are located here . It’s worth stopping in the Central Market to choose a souvenir reminding of your trip and to plunge into the everyday life of Ulan-Ude residents.

Having climbed the passage, you will find yourself at the monument to Geser — a fearless hero of legends not only of the Buryats, but also of the Mongols, Kalmyks, Tuvans and other peoples of the Central Asia. And not far from the sculpture there is the Buryat Academical Drama Theatre — the only theater in the world where performances, even those based on the Russian or foreign classics, are staged in Buryat.

The Victory Avenue stretches from the Buryat Academic Theater almost to Sovetskaya Street. This street was completely cleared of wooden buildings for implementation of a large-scale project in the 60s. High-ceilinged houses in the Stalinist Empire style are located in its place. The architectural composition also includes the Victory Memorial with a green park where citizens can hide from the scorching Ulan-Ude sun.

At the end of the avenue you will find a branch of the Kyakhta Museum of Local Lore, and a little further — the Museum of the History of Buryatia, where you can learn everything about the history and art of the republic. A special pride is the "Atlas of Tibetan Medicine", an exact copy of a monument of culture, art and science of the peoples of Central Asia and Tibet of the XVII century.

If you want to take a tram ride around Ulan-Ude and see not only the center, you can look into an interesting area — LRP socialist city. In Soviet times, a whole “city within a city” with wide alleys, hospitals, a school, kindergartens and a cultural center was built for the employees of the Locomotive Repair Plant. Now not only plant workers live here, but both Ulan-Ude residents and tourists walk along the famous 104-step staircase and enjoy the picturesque view.

Another attraction of the city is Rinpoche Bagsha Datsan. The Buddhist temple on Bald Mountain is surrounded by a walking path — the road of long life, decorated with figures of the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac calendar and teachings of Buddhism. The viewing deck offers stunning views of Ulan-Ude and the Selenga River, while you can see a monument to buuz in front of the temple.

Don't forget to stop in the Ethnographic Museum of the Peoples of Transbaikalia, one of the largest open-air museums in Russia. Here you can see ancient buildings and imagine how the Evenks, Soyots, Pre-Baikal and Trans-Baikal Buryats, Russian old-timers, Cossacks and Old Believers lived.

Ulan-Ude is a small but cozy city with its own character that cannot be confused with any other. Here, signs of different eras and cultures coexist well and complement each other. And you definitely won’t forget about your trip to Ulan-Ude, even if you only stayed here for one day.