Interesting places nearby Ulan-Ude

Steep mountain slopes and endless meadows, fascinating Buddhist rituals and reverent attitude towards the traditions of the Buryats, Russians and other peoples. Buryatia is rich in impressions and it will take more than one day to explore its every corner. We will tell you about interesting places of the republic that are easy to get to from Ulan-Ude.
Ivolginsky datsan (Khambyn Sume)
Ivolginsky district, 36 km from Ulan-Ude

After the end of the Great Patriotic War, the authorities allocated a land plot to the Buddhist community in a swampy area, not far from the village of Verkhnyaya Ivolga. The first building of the datsan was a small house donated by a wealthy Buryat family. The first service was held here in 1945, and later Khambyn Sume became the largest datsan of Buryatia and the spiritual capital of the Buddhist traditional Sangha of Russia.

The burial place of Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov is the main shrine of the datsan. In 1927, the leader of Russian Buddhists fell into nirvana and bequeathed to dig up his body after 70 years. His wish was granted, but it turned out that his body remained unchanged, his skin was warm and his joints were mobile. There was no scientific explanation for the phenomenon; scientists put forward only hypotheses. The monks carried the incorrupt body of the twelfth Pandito Khambo Lama to the most beautiful temple. And now pilgrims from all over the world come specifically to see the miracle with their own eyes, pray and ask for help.

Now the monastery complex of the Ivolginsky datsan includes several temples, a library and the only Buddhist university in Russia, where they study philosophy and traditional Tibetan medicine.

“Steppe Nomad” Ethnic Complex
Zaigrayevsky district, 52 km from Ulan-Ude

To get acquainted with the culture of the Buryats, listen to folk songs and dance the Buryat dance yokhor, learn to play the national board game Shagay Naadan and shoot a bow, learn Buryat legends, make and eat the favorite Buryat dish buuz — this is what people come to the “Steppe Nomad” for. The viewing deck offers stunning views of the picturesque beauty of the Atsagat Valley. The Atsagatsky datsan is located not far from the complex. Here you will be told about the famous lama healers Choynzon Iroltuev and Agvan Dorzhiev, to whom patients from all over the world came for healing in the XIX century.

Every summer the complex becomes crowded — residents of Buryatia, other cities and countries come here to attend the largest music festival beyond the Urals called “Voice of the Nomads”.

Semey village Tarbagatai
Tarbagatai District, 55 km from Ulan-Ude

After the church reform of Patriarch Nikon in the XVII century, part of the Russian population continued to adhere to the old rituals and pray in the old way. For this they were repressed, some got out to Poland, others were exiled to Siberia. This is how Old Believer villages appeared in Transbaikal. The village of Tarbagatai is one of the largest settlements.

Modern villagers carefully preserve their heritage — they sing old songs, restore outfits and sew new ones according to the canons of their grandmothers. Here you can visit the Museum of History, Culture and Life of the Old Believers of Transbaikal and the Old Believer Church in honor of Exaltation of the Life-Giving Cross, get acquainted with the folklore and traditional cuisine of the Semeyskys. Ancient villages of the XVIII century are located nearby — Bolshoy Kunaley and Desyatnikovo, which are included in the Association of Russia's most beautiful villages.

Ivolginskoye settlement
Ivolginsky district, 15 km from Ulan-Ude

In the last century, archaeologists found evidence of existence of the largest Hun settlement on the left bank of the Selenga River, where the Ivolginsky district of Buryatia is now located. The Huns, or Xiongnu, were an ancient nomadic people who inhabited the steppes north of China. The Great Wall of China appeared as protection against their attacks. There were above-ground dwellings and dugouts, a ruler's house, a market, a military school, a sanctuary and workshops on the territory of the fortress city. The city was densely populated and divided into streets. The settlement was surrounded on all sides by two-meter ditches and fortress walls.

Archaeological artifacts can be seen in the National Museum of Buryatia, the Ethnographic Museum of the Peoples of Transbaikalia and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. A historical quarter is being built on the territory of the fort — now you can see a wooden fortress wall made of a palisade, gates and watchtowers similar to the historical ones, as well as restored dwellings with an earthen roof.

"Sleeping Lion" Mountain
Tarbagatai District, 40 km from Ulan-Ude

The mountain, which looks like a dozing lion, is also called Omulevaya hill or “Khabsagay Khada” in Buryat (rock, cliff). This place is one of the sacred site for Buddhists of Buryatia. There are two niches at the top of the rock. According to legends, if you throw something valuable into a bowl of fire, life will be eventful. If you throw something valuable into a cup of water, life will be calm and steady. The mountainside is covered with rare plants, some of which are listed in the Red Book.

Merkit Fortress
Mukhorshibirsky District, 110 km from Ulan-Ude

At the beginning of May, many residents of Buryatia come to admire the blossoming of the relict apricot grove from the cliffs of the Merkit Fortress, a natural historical monument. In the XII–XIII centuries, this place belonged to the ancient state of the warlike Merkits. According to legend, the Merkits's leader stole the beloved wife from Genghis Khan, and he, in turn, ordered to wipe the offenders's state off the face of the earth. The natural viewing deck offers stunning views of the Tugnui Valley and the Khilok River.

Geser's stop on Shaman Mountains
Ivolginsky district, 20 km from Ulan-Ude

Geser is a hero of the Mongolian and Buryat folk epic, who was sent down from Heaven to protect people from villains. According to legend, this place on the Shaman Mountains was one of his stops. Geser tied his powerful heavenly horses to hitching posts located here. This place is also famous for the majestic sculpture “Deer”, which was installed in honor of the bridge opening across the Selenga River.

Ostrich farm
Tarbagatai District, 30 km from Ulan-Ude

The Dmitrievs from Verkhny Sayantuy did not plan to create a zoo, they simply got unusual pets — ostriches. At first there were three of them, they lived in a house and grew up with the children. Now the farm is a home to Australian and African ostriches, as well as turkeys, decorative rabbits, horses, Hungarian pigs, peacocks, raccoons, and sika deer. The animals are kept in spacious pens in the fresh air; visitors can view them and feed them apples. The farm is open to guests from the end of March to October; in winter it is closed to the public.

Taphar Plateau and Genghis Khan's Headquarters
Ivolginsky district, 25 km from Ulan-Ude

There is a legend that Genghis Khan stopped here during his campaign to the north. There is no reliable evidence of this yet, but in common usage this name stuck to this plateau. A favorite place for tourists to take photographs is a huge horizontal ledge above a cliff, reminiscent of the famous “troll’s tongue” in Norway. They say that wishes made on Tapkhar Plateau always come true, but you need to wish something intangible.

Nadeinsky stones
Tarbagatai District, 50 km from Ulan-Ude

Once upon a time there was a site of an ancient man — this is evidenced by rock paintings. Unusual rounded rocks with caves are another mysterious sacred place in Buryatia. The Nadeinsky stones, or remnants, also served as a shamanic sanctuary, and later as an underground Buddhist temple — dugan. Local residents call each stone by its own name — use your imagination and try to guess where the elephant stone or the ball stone is hidden among the rocks?

The Republic of Buryatia is a place where the traditions of Buddhists, Orthodox Christians, shamanists and Old Believers are intricately intertwined. Peoples of different cultures lived and live here. And each nation does not destroy, but brings something of its own into this bright multinational tangle. You will definitely notice these amazing interweavings and remain impressed, no matter how far you go on your journey through Buryatia.