The square with the biggest "Lenin's head" monument
Ulan Ude, the capital of Buryatia, is located in the middle of vast Siberian steppes, on the 5640th kilometer of the Trans-Siberian railway. It is a very unusual and charming city.
The first striking impression is an unusually calm and mellow way of life, distinct features of people (more than 50% of people in Ulan-Ude are native Buryats with canny almond eyes), and a slightly chaotic look of the city. However, in some parts of Ulan Ude the “Russian part” comes into play: a huge head of Lenin on the central square, Soviet style hotel buildings, some remains of the typical 19th century architecture, traditional wooden houses along the streets. And at the same time little Korean passenger minibuses are rushing back and forth, like rickshaws, an old Buryat woman is selling hot juicy Pozas (traditional meat dish) on the street, the sun is unbelievably bright and hot, and you see the tips of the mountains surrounding the city…
Ulan Ude is a very interesting place to stop for a few days on your way along the Trans-Siberian: apart from its peculiar feel, there are a lot of other things to experience. The local openair ethnographic museum tells an interesting story about the life and traditions of native Siberians (Buryats and Evenks), as well as colonizers (Cossacks and Old-believers), Ivolginsky Datsan is a center of Buddhism in Russia.