5 interesting facts about Ulan-Ude
Ulan-Ude is the first city along the Trans-Siberian that feels like you’ve finally arrived to Asia!
As you probably know, Ulan-de is the capital of Buryatia republic which is very different from the rest of Russia (basically because of the fact that people there practice Buddhism). What are the other facts you didn’t know about true Siberian city Ulan-Ude? Let’s ask our Matryoshka’s Diary author Elena.
Buryats and Evenks living in Ulan-Ude are the native Siberians. Is there anything else in Ulan-Ude you would like to know about?
1.Originally, there were Buryat people living in the area around Ulan-Ude. A Buryat person has a very affective attitude towards his land and animals. It gave a rise to many legends, and it’s not rare even nowadays to see a skilled Buryat person riding a horse along an endless steppe. Harsh natural conditions and winter colds were making it hard to grow any crops, so the main occupation that was providing food and shelter for Buryats was cattle-breeding and they were very proficient in this.
2. A powerful and intimidating Mongol kingdom was the nearest neighbor, and their ambitions to submit Buryats to their rule were a source of great insecurity for local people. Buryats are naturally peaceful and calm people, so they were not excited about the idea of fighting with Mongols. Perhaps, that is one of the reasons why the first explorers and colonisers from Russia – Cossacks – were so peacefully accepted by Buryats. Another reason (that is more like a legend) is that early Cossacks were giving Buryats “fire water” – vodka – in exchange for furs and meat, and in this manner weakened Buryats.
3. In the 17th century, Cossacks established several of their ostrogs (fortresses) on the territory of modern Buryatia, and one of the most important one was Udinskoe, at the place where modern Ulan-Ude is located. Strategically, Udinskoye was a perfect place located on the trade way between Russia and China. Besides, it was very well fortified, and surrounded by the mountains.
4. It is evident, that people are getting back to their origins: old shaman traditions and buddhism. Shamanism is gaining people’s interest again. Buddhism that was brought to Buryatia hundreds of year ago and then suppressed by the communists, is becoming popular again. The new Datsans (Buddhist monasteries) are being built, and Dalai Lama himself visited Ivolginsky Datsan in 1992 and encouraged local people to continue their religious practices.
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