Republic of Buryatia
Republic of Buryatia is a subject of Russian Federation. The city of Ulan-Ude is the capital of the republic. It is bounded by Irkutsk region, the Republic of Tyva, Mongolia and Transbaikalian area.
Geographical position: the Republic is located in central part of the Continent of Asia, in Eastern Siberia. It stretches from the West on the east between 98°40’ and 116°55’E longitude and from the north to the south between 57°15`N latitude and 49°55`N latitude. The republic is located 5532 km away Moscow, the capital of Russia.
The Republic of Buryatia is a mountainous land. It occupies a considerable part of the south of Eastern Siberia. The area of mountains more than in 4 times exceeds the area occupied with lowlands. The lowest point is the level of the lake Baikal - 456 meters in a Pacific mark, and the highest one is the peak of Munku-Sardyk in East Sayan Mountains covered with glaciers. Munku-Sardyk is the highest mountain in Eastern Siberia; it is 3491 meters above sea level.
Climate in Buryatia is sharply continental, with cold winter and hot summer. Winter is cold, with severe frosts and small quantity of snow. Spring is windy, with frosts and almost without any precipitations. Summer is short, with hot days and cool nights, with plentiful precipitations in July and August. Autumn comes imperceptibly, without sharp change of weather. The average summer temperature is + 18,5°C, in winter -22°C, and average annual temperature makes -1.6°C. Approximately 244 mm of precipitation is recorded per year. There are more 300 sunny days a year in Buryatia - 1900 - 2200 hours per year. Owing to the given indicator the republic does not concede, and sometimes it surpasses the southern regions of Russia.
Flora and fauna
Buryatia is well known for its rich flora and fauna.
Flora of Buryatia is represented with a large number of relic and endemic species and vegetational communities. At present about 446 kinds of vertebrates, 348 species of birds, and 85 species of mammals inhabit the territory of Buryatia.
The lake Baikal and the territory surrounding the lake are home for 2500 species of animals and plants. One tenth of them are endemic which can be found only in the lake Baikal. These include the nerpa, the symbol of the Baikal. Lake Baikal is home to the world’s only freshwater seal, and the mystery of how the nerpa came to Baikal still baffles scientists. 83 percents of the republic’s territory is covered by forest. Some of the animals, birds and fish species are considered to be rare and they are brought to the Red Book of Russia and Buryatia. Among them are the Baikal sturgeon, davatchan, Baikal taimen and tenchgolomyanka, etc.
On reserves and diversity of natural resources Buryatia takes one of the leading places in Russia. More than 700 deposits of various minerals can be found in its territory. 247 gold deposits (ore and placer) have been explored and developed. In the list of strategic mineral raw materials there are deposits of tungsten (7), uranium (13), polymetals (4), molybdenum (2), beryllium (2), tin (1) and aluminum (1). 10 deposits of brown and 4 black coal deposits the Gusinoozersk, Tugnui, Daban Gorkhon, Okino-Klyachevsk ones are intensively being exploited at present. There are also exist non-metallic minerals in the republic: fluor spar, asbestos, nephrite, apatite, phosphorite, graphite, and zeolite. Different deposits building materials – brick and ce-ramsite clays, sandy-gravely mixtures, building stones are disposed in the republic. Buryatia possesses 48% of balance stocks of Russia in zinc, 24% in lead, 37% in molybdenum, 27% in tungsten, 16% in fluor-spar and 15% in hrizotil-asbestos.
V century B.C. — IV A.D. - the territory of modern Buryatia was inhabited with tribes of Huns. In 1206 Temudzhin known as Genghis Khan, has united the Mongolian tribes. The territory of Transbaikalye has been included into the Mongolian empire. In XIV-th century, after the disintegration of the hunnish state the tribes once living in the territory of present-day Buryatia were drawn into vortex of different ethnic formations. Three Mongolian states Halha-Mongolia, Southern Mongolia and Oirato-Dzhungarsky khanate have appeared.
Transbaikalye in the structure of Halhi state
In 1639 the first Russians penetrated Transbaikalye. Maxim Perfilyev has started his way to “the land of brothers” (Buryats) and moving along the Vitim river reached the mouth of Tsipa River. In 1647 Ivan Pohabov, a boyar son, was sent to the shores of Lake Baikal. Being on friendly terms with Mongols, he has got to Urga. In 1689 the Nerchinsk agreement between Russia and Manchurian Tsinsky empire has been signed. The border along the river Argun between Russia and China has been established. In 1703 Buryatia under the agreement signed by Peter I, has become a part of the Moscow state. In 1851 Transbaikalye has been transformed to independent Transbaikalien area.
In 1921 the Buryat-Mongolian Autonomous Oblast as a part of Far East Republic has been founded. On May, 30th, 1923 the Buryat-Mongolian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (with its capital in Verhneudinsk) as a part of the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic has been formed. This date is considered to be date of the republic’s foundation.
Population of the republic makes 959,9 thousand people (2007) of more than 100 nationalties. The most numerous of them are Russians (67,8%), Buryats (27,8), Germans (1,6), Ukrainians (0,98), Tatars (0,83), Byelorussians, Evenks, Jews, etc.
The republic consists of 6 cities, 21 administrative regions, 29 workers’ towns and 614 rural settlements. Settlements: Ulan-Ude, Ust-Barguzin, Severobajkalsk, Kizhinga, Gusinoozy-orsk, Turuntaevo, Kyakhta, Kabansk, Selenginsk, Sokol, Zakamensk, Barguzin, Zarechny, Kurumkan, Onokhoi, Sosnovo-Ozyorskoe, Taksimo, Zaigraevo, Bichura, Muhorshibir, Khorinsk, Nizhneangarsk, Kamensk, Kyren, Petropavlovka, Vydrino, Ivolginsk and Novoilyinsk.
The leading branch of republic’s economy is the industrial one. More than 1600 enter-prises operate in this field. Approximately 147 large- and middle-scale enterprises form basic industrial potential and over 52,3 thousand of people work at these enterprises. Mechanical engineering and metal working, electric power industry, timber and wood-processing industry, pulp and paper industry, nonferrous metallurgy, fuel, food and light industry make a considerable part of the industry. Buryatia manufactures and exports the aviation machinery and equipment, bridge metal structures and constructions, wood and cellulose, woolen fabrics, building materials, electric equipment, canned meat, pasta products, alcohol products and many other goods and products.
The major Buryat companies successfully operating in the market are JSC “Aviation Plant, JSC “Buryatzoloto”, JSC “Ulan-Ude Locomotive-Carriage Repair Plant”, JSC “Ulan-Udestalmost”, JSC “Baikal Timer Company”, JSC “Makbur”, JSC “Baikalfarm” and many others.
The agricultural complex of Buryatia is represented with enterprises engaged in manufac-ture and processing of agricultural products. Over 9,8% of the republic’s population are in-volved in this sphere. The area of agricultural lands totals to 3,154 million hectares, including 847 thousand hectares of ploughed fields. The state agricultural enterprises occupy 8,7% of agricultural lands.
The constitution of Republic of Buryatia adopted Presidential governing. The President is the head of the executive power. The Legislative power is implemented by RB Narodny Khural.
The city of ulan-ude
The city of Ulan-Ude is the capital of the Republic of Buryatia. It is located in the Western Transbaikalye, in the valley where the Uda River and the Selenga River meet each other, in 140 km from the lake Baikal. The city was founded in 1666 as a Cossack winter camp of Udinsky. Later, Udinsky ostrog was renamed into the city of Verkhneudinsk. In XIX century it was known as a trading center of Transbaikalye. The construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad has brought a new impulse in the development of the city. In 1923 Verhneudinsk from a district city became the capital of the Buryat-Mongolian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, and in 1934 the All-Russian Central Executive Committee adopted the resolution on renaming Verkhneudinsk into Ulan-Ude.
The city is rich in historical monuments. Today it is a large center of education, science and culture of the republic. The Buryat Center of Science (Siberian department) of the Russian Academy of Sciences with scientific research institutes is situated here. There are four state institutions of higher education, 11 branches of institutions of higher education from other cities of the Russian Federation, 24 colleges, the total number of students in which makes more than 40 thousand.
The city of Ulan-Ude is the center of political and business activities of Republic of Buryatia. More than 377 thousand people, representatives of 100 nationalities peacefully live in it. People, who peacefully coexist and live in the city, profess different religions. Nowadays, together with the Orthodox churches the Buddhist datsans are restored and are under construction in the city. One can find Old Believers and Catholic churches in the city.
Ulan-Ude is a large connecting link connecting Transbaikalye with Mongolia, China, countries of Asian-Pacific region. Nowadays, the role of Ulan-Ude as a linking unit between the center of Russia and the Far East of Russia through a network automobile and railways increases. The airport of Ulan-Ude has the status of the international one. Many companies, enterprises and organizations of different type of property successfully operate at the Buryat market. The major of them are Locomotive-Carriage-Repair Plant (LVRZ), Aviation Plants, Bridge Metal Structures Plant, Meat-Packing Plant, Pasta Factory, Confectionery Factory and some others. The industrial production index on city enterprises has made 110 percent in 2007. The production increase has been provided basically due to enterprises engaged in processing industry. The city of Ulan-Ude is the owner of special prizes of the All-Russia competition for the rank “Top city with all proper amenities in Russia”. The city is under construction and becomes more and more comfortable for townspeople residing and attractive to tourists. There are more than 20 hotels, tourist hostels, 140 enterprises of a small-business involved in tourist servicing. Owing to creation of a special economic zone of tourist-recreational type in the Republic of Buryatia the infrastructure of the capital will intensively develop, because the first impressions about Buryatia tourists will get in the city of Ulan-Ude. For the last years, the city is actively under construction: new modern business, leisure and large trading centers, polyclinics, kindergartens have been appeared. Considering the social importance of residential buildings the city authorities has developed a program of housing development in Ulan-Ude and has begun its implementation. The national project “Popular Habitation — to Citizens of Russia” has been realizing in the city. In 2007 the development and modernization of the plan of the city has been intensively carried on, about 160 th. sq.m. of living-space has been put into operation. In 2008, the planned volume totals to 200 thousand sq. m. At the expense of the city mortgage teachers, doctors, art workers, young experts and young families have the opportunity to get apartments.
Since 1990 the city of Ulan-Ude enters into the list of historical cities of Russia: more than 200 historical monuments of history, culture and architecture are located at its territory.
There are five professional theaters in Ulan-Ude: Buryat Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet, the Youth Art Drama Theater, Buryat State Academic Theater of Drama after Kh. Namsaraev, the State Russian Drama Theater after N. Bestuzhev, the Republican Puppet Theater “Ulger”. Six museums, among them Open-Air Ethnographical Museum at Verkhnyaya Berezovka, Buryat Circus, folk groups and ensembles and studios function in the city.
The city of Ulan-Ude is a twin-city of 10 cities from Mongolia, China, Korea, Japan, etc.
Brief summery: background and future
The city of Ulan-Ude, blown on free winds and praised by talented poets, has been founded more than three centuries ago and it is located on the fertile ground. The beneficial geographical position of the city situated at the confluence of the Selenga and Uda rivers promoted the city to be a quivering and pulsing heart of the Podlemorye, which makes a great impression on everyone by its unusual beauty...
Many years ago the Great tea way ran across the city. Ulan-Ude, favorably and successfully settled down on crossing of transport roads, became a large connecting link between the cities and futures of humanity. That’s why it has been called “the major tourist gate” of Transbaikalye. At the beginning of the third millennium the capital of Buryatia has a good opportunity to become one of the tourist centers of Russia. At present, Ulan-Ude, founded in XVII century, as a military fortress, became a modern city. The word “fortress” has appeared in official documents for the first time in the XVII-th century and it meant “a private fortification”. 342 years ago, Russian Cossacks under the command of Cossack foreman Gavrila Lovtsov reached up the Uda River. In August of 1666, the Cossacks built a small winter camp. It was very simple constructions and consisted of one or two houses, surrounded by a high fence. Later, Cossacks started arriving in this place, after them the tradesmen and manufacturers came to the region. A small ostrog of Udinsk appeared at the place of winter camp. The exact date of its foundation is unknown. The choice of its location has been dictated by favorable natural and strategic conditions. The deep rivers provided water supply and the taiga gave building materials and fuel. The fertile land and rich pasture grounds, which were good for grain-growing, cattle-breeding, hunting attracted “free” people. The ostrog occupied very favorable position: the mountains protected this place from the north and the east. Rocky and abrupt breakages of made almost impossible for enemies to penetrate into ostrog. At that time the Mongolian attacks were frequently made. By 1684, Udinsky ostrog was a more developed type of Siberian fortress building than the winter camp. That was a usual, middle-sized sample of a five-tower ostrog, built in the form of walls, made of vertically erected and sharpened logs. With four corner towers and one “carriage-way” tower. By that time, the Udinsky ostrog had already been a very important point of the military defense system of Zabaikalye.
In 1765, the town of Udinsk was renamed into Verkhneudinsk. In 1783 Verkhneudinsk got the status of a district (uezd) town. Iliinsk, Selenginsk and Kyakhta organs of self-administration were under its magistrate management.
People from all these villages came to the town to legalize papers and do business. Annual rich fairs took place in the town. The trade turnover achieved then the significant volume – it was approximately 2 million rubles. In 1790 Verkhneudinsk had got its own emblem. The town before the 1-st half of the XIX century had carried out planning and building of Verkhneudinsk on the basis building traditions of the previous period. First of all, they were guided by principles of proportions of architectural details, width of cornices, height of buildings and windows. After revolutionary events of 1917 Verhneudinsk became the capital of the Buryat - Mongolian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1934 the All-Russian Central Executive Committee adopted the resolution on renaming Verkhneudinsk into Ulan-ude (Red Uda). Favorable changes took place in the master plan construction of the town. In the end of the 20-es and the beginning of the 30-es the grew in its north-eastern part and the southern suburbs, about 30 new blocks appeared. In 1929, it was decided to build Dom Sovetov in the square in the Nagornaya part of the town. It was being build by the project of A.A. Olya, a Leningrad architect. The task of the municipal services was solved positively. A public bathhouse in Smolin Street was opened in 1932. The electric power station with the power of 750 kilowatt started working in 1933. During that period the public transport started to function, the automobile bridge through the Selenga River was constructed. The city of Ulan-Ude is fairly considered to be the center of culture and education of Eastern Siberia. Today, four institutions of higher education successfully function in the city: Buryat State University, Buryat Agricultural Academy, East-Siberian State Technological University – the major institution of higher education in Transbaikalye and East-Siberian Academy of Culture and Arts.
The city is famous for its museums: the M. Khangalov Museum of History of Buryatia, the Ts. Sampilov Republican Museum of art, the Museum of Nature of Buryatia, the Museum of History of the City of Ulan-Ude, the Geological Museum, the Museum of Culture and Art of Buryatia. The Open-Air Ethnographical Museum at Verkhnyaya Berezovka is a favorable place for many citizens and tourists of the city. The museum introduces the guests to the history, everyday life, material culture of the Buryat, Russian, Evenk peoples, and Old Believers living in Buryatia. Ulan-Ude is a multinational city, people of many nationalities peacefully coexist and cooperate in the city: only presence of the national centers makes over 20 (among them - German, Azerbaijan, Armenian, Tatar, etc.). It is in Ulan-Ude that the spiritual administrations of the Traditional Buddhist Sangha of Russia, Russian Orthodox churches, Old Believers, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Moslem and other communities are headquartered.
In the XXI century, the city of Ulan-Ude still remains to be one of the centers of business activity of region. Fifteen years ago, without any justification, it has been included in the list of the most valuable cities of Russia: there are more than 200 monuments of history and culture, architecture and town-planning in the city. Ulan-Ude of a new century is to be considered to be the center of old times and computerized modernity.
Ulan-Ude reflects multinational cultures and beliefs of different peoples. The city enters the future with great plans, which means that the city will be developed, beautiful, green, clean and, certainly, it will be attractive to thousands of visitors of the capital.
All religions of the world are represented in Buryatia, here peacefully coexist Shamanism and the Buddhism, Old-believing and Orthodoxy.
Shamanism had existed long before Buddhism and Christianity came to the shores of the lake Baikal. Some rituals ceremonies of Shamanism are kept by the present day. The example of it is paying tribute to some sacred places during long travels; in Buryat language it is called “Obo” or “Barisa”.
Buddhism in Buryatia exists as Lamaism. In Transbaikalye it spread since XVII-th century, Lamaism and Shamanism have considerably influenced each other. The Buddhist cult structures — datsans are marked with splendid architecture — magnificent architectural ornaments and multicolored interior decorations.
The first orthodox churches were built in Buryatia in second half of XVII century, after the first Russian settlement (ostrog) had appeared there. In a number of villages there still remain old churches and chapels, which testify to the degree of Christianization in Buryatia. The Orthodoxy was introduced in Transbaikalye since 1681 when the first church (Daurskaya) mission has been sent. Its task consisted in Christianity distribution, including among local population. Spaso-Preobrazhensky Posolsky and St. Troitsky Selenginsky Monasteries were built. In 1700, the Hodigitria Cathedral, and nine years later St. Troitskaya Church were built in the city of Verhneudinsk.
The real miracle — a precious imperishable body of XII Pandito Khambo Lama Dashi-Dorzho Itigelov in Ivolginsk datsan
The greatest miracle in the world — “erdeni munkhe bee” (in this way sound the words “precious imperishable body” in a Buryat language) XII Pandito Khambo lama Dashi-Dorzho Itigelov, who died in 1927, whose body still almost 80 years has been remaining imperishable contrary to all laws of the nature. And the words from Blissful Avgustin come to my mind: miracles do not contradict the nature; they contradict only to the nature KNOWN to us...
In culture of each people, its social classes and groups the certain values are formed and receive the development, which demonstrate public or personal value of the phenomena and the facts of the reality. The established ideas, customs and ceremonies allowing the nation to keep its unique originality, specific features and mentality are considered to be the traditional values. Historically Buryatia was found in the crossroad of different cultures including cultures of peoples of Asia and Europe.
One of the most interesting parts of Buryat culture is the culture of the Buryats, the largest minority group in Siberia. Buddhism and the Buddhist traditions brought to Buryatia from Tibet and Mongolia greatly influenced on Buryat culture. Writing and book-printing appeared and developed in Buryatia due to the Buddhist doctrine including philosophy, the Tibetan medicine, astrology and Buddhist painting. Nikolai Rerikh, the famous Russian artist, made a valuable contribution to the development of relations between Buryatia and Tibet. Buddhism occupies an important space in the hearts of many people in Buryatia.
The exhibits of five museums of the republic illustrate the rich material culture of the past, the diversity of the flora and fauna and the treasure of Zabaikalian depths.
The M. Khangalov Museum of History of Buryatia has been founded in 1923. The museum collection totals more than 100 thousand subjects, including the unique collection of Buddhist art, works of modern painting and rare books, numismatics, archeological, ethnographic, photodocumentary and other materials. The M. Khangalov Museum of History of Buryatia is one of the largest museums in Siberia area. The museum possesses the unique monuments of culture of peoples of the Central Asia, historical and ethnographic materials of the Siberian tribes. It is the M. Khangalov Museum of History of Buryatia where the only copy of the “Atlas of Tibetan Medicine”, which is of great historical and practical value, is kept.
The Museum of Culture and Arts of Buryatia has been opened on March 1, 2007 on the place of the former Literary Museum and it is the branch of the M. Khangalov Museum of History of Buryatia. The building, where the museum locates, has been built in XIX century and it is an architectural monument of the city of Ulan-Ude.
The Nature Museum of Buryatia has been opened on July 12, 1983. Initially the museum’s funds replenished with personal collections. The museum is considered to be the only one where the exhibits of the archeological excavations of the primeval men’s settlements as well as the richest flora and fauna of Buryatia, botanical collections reflecting a biodiversity of the nature of Buryatia. Today, the museum is one of the leading naturalists' museums of our country, a member of Association “Open museum”, a member of Association of natural-historical museums at IKOM of Russia. The creation of the museum is aimed to protect the nature.
The Ethnographical Museum of Peoples of Transbaikalye has been founded in July, 1973. The open-air museum located at Verkhnyaya Berezovka introduces us the history, every day life, material culture of peoples of Transbaikalye. Many architectural monuments are located there. Complexes are located in the following order coinciding to the chronological periods in the history of the area development: archeological, Evenki, Buryat, Russian, Cossack, Russian Old Believers (semeyskie), the complex “The Former Verkhneudinsk”. A small zoo is available for visitors of the museum.
The main library of the republic is the National library. The library was open in 1881 and it was called “Verkhneudisk Public Library”. Since 1966 it has became especially valuable object of a cultural heritage of republic. The national library conducts research works, carries out scientific and practical conferences as well as versatile educational work.
The national creativity takes an outstanding place in inner life of Buryat people and it is the major source for knowledge of its ancient culture. The national heroic epic “Geser” which consists of tens of thousands of poetical lines is the peak of the epical creativity of the Buryat people. By its significance it is among such monuments of the world culture as the ancient Greek “Illiada” and “Odissey” by Homer, German “The Song about Nibelungs”, French “The Song about Roland” and Kalmyk “Dzangar”.
Art culture of Buryatia
In 1935, the USSR Union of Artists has organized the Buryat branch. The Buryat Union of Artists united a wonderful galaxy of talented Buryat artists during all time of its existence.
The Buryat State Academic Theater of Drama after Kh. Namsaraev has a long history and dates back to 1929. Initially, it was formed as a musical — drama school in the city of Verkhneudinsk. In 1931, a technical school of arts was opened on the base the Verkhneudinsk musical-drama school (later it was reorganized in Theatrical-musical school). In July 3, 1932, the resolution about foundation of a drama theater was adopted. The source of the Buryat theater is deeply rooted in the ancient rituals, games, hunter’s and nomadic dances, in the art of the people’s tellers-ulegershins, performances of ulus entertaining-fellows and also in the Buddhist mysteries performed during religious holidays at datsans.
The State Russian Drama Theater after N. Bestuzhev began its activity on December, 22, 1929. A. Mironsky, the director of the theater, was one of its founders. The first performance staged at the theater was the performance “The Person with a briefcase”. The theater has its own audience and the interesting repertoire of the classical and modern drama. It is one of the best professional theaters of Russia that takes part in the international festivals. It is a member of Association of Russian theaters of national republics of Russia and CIS countries.
The musical culture of Buryats is deeply rooted in folk songs. The first musical instrument “hoor” was played as early as in X century. Buryatia is a land of skilful craftsmen, talented painters. Their art is inspired by the customs and traditions of the people, the heritage of cult icon painting, charm and beauty of the surrounding Buryat nature.
The Union of Buryat Composers started its activity in 1940. It is one of the oldest creative unions of the republic which unites professional composers, musicians and experts in musical folklore. Much has been done by composers D. Ayushev, Z. Batuev, B. Yampilov for the development of professional musical art.
The Buryat Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet started as the musical drama theater, which ten years later, in 1949 was divided into the Buryat Academic Theater of Opera and a traveling theater. As the precondition of this was the success in Moscow of libretto “Bair” and operas “Enhe-Bulat-Bator” staged by M. Frolov. Nowadays the Buryat Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet is only Opera Theater in Eastern Siberia and on the Far East as well.
The Buryat State Theater of Song and Dance “Baikal” has been founded in 1942. The theater collected a rich fund of songs and dances of Buryat people and other peoples living in Buryatia, as well as songs and dances of Asian peoples. The “Baikal” demonstrates the beauty and originality of ancient songs and dances, suits and ornaments, keeping folklore in original, and at the same time creating new forms and means of art expression. All suits for performances are made and prepared by professional masters in a traditional manner of various peoples; represent the unique palette from silks, velvet, brocade, furs, a leather, intricate ornaments and patterns. Due to these amazing suits spectators still have the feeling of presence at the national holiday, penetrated by spirit of ancient nomads.
To date, tourism is considered as a strategic direction of social and economic development of Republic Buryatia
The unique culture of Buryatia, variety of riches in nature, lakes and rivers, beautiful untouched nature, virgin taiga — these are just few that will stimulate the development of tourism. The Republic of Buryatia, particularly the area around Lake Baikal, which is a site of the world natural heritage of UNESCO and 60 % of its coast line located in the territory of Buryatia, has a great potential for tourism development. For people of Buryatia Lake Baikal is a matter of love and doration and a great concern as well. They call it “A Sacred Sea”. The 45,6 % of republic’s territory concerns to areas of high recreational potential. Visitors of the republic can visit the famous reserves and national parks located in its territory. The republic is rich in a variety of hot mineral and thermal springs. They provide healing effect due to the presence of different minerals including phtorum, hydrocarbonates, silicon acid and radon. Buryatia is a mountainous land; the highest is Munku Sardyk which is the highest in Eastern Siberia — 3491 meters high. All religions of the world are represented in Buryatia — some of them have been an impact on each other, or got branches, here peacefully coexist Buddhism, Samanism and Orthodoxy. The culture of Old Believers of Transbaikalye is recognized by the UNESCO as the Masterpiece of oral and non-material heritage of the mankind. In the cities of Ulan-Ude and Kyakhta monuments of century trade and economic relations with China and Mongolia are kept.
Tourism in Buryatiya: sources, realities and prospects
The development of tourism in Buryatia has started at the end of 20s and at the beginning of 30-s years of the last century. In March, 1937 non-precedent ski-walking tour “Ulan-Ude — Moscow” six thousand km long has finished. This legendary route has given powerful acceleration to tourism development in the republic as well as to other kinds of sports. Isai Altsman, one of the first the USSR Masters of Sports on tourism, has developed the first tourist routes and has become the instructor of many well-known persons in the republic. After II World War in republic much has been done for the further development of tourism. Due to the legendary I. Altsman, the swimming and skiing station have been built. In 1961, in the village of Maximikha the first children’s tourist camp, nowadays it is called “Yunost” has been opened. In 2006 the All-Russia children’s youth competitions for tourism have taken place. In order to develop mass tourism the republican council for tourism and excursions has been formed in 1965. At the end of 60-s and at the beginning of 70-s the first tourist camps have appeared on the lake Baikal and Shchuchye lake. Foundation of the republican council for tourism and excursions and the first tourist camps — these are just few that stimulated the development of the organized tourism in Buryatia. In 1972, the Ulan-Ude Travel and Excursions Agency has been created. In 1973 tourist complex ‘Barguzin” has been put into operation. Sports amateur tourism actively developed in the republic. In 70th years, the whole network of the tourist clubs functioning at the enterprises, and tourist groups in educational establishments have been created in republic. In 1974 the republican federation of amateur tourism has been founded. Tourism has become really the mass phenomenon.
In 1979 over 700 thousand tourists visited Buryatia, in summer approximately about 3 000 tourists daily arrived to Buryatia. Later, due to the support of the Buryat regional council for tourism and excursions “The Great Tea Way” tourism has begun to develop. Today, it is one of the most perspective directions which attract international tourists. In 1976 a bureau for international youth tourism “Sputnik” has been created in the city of Ulan-Ude. At the end of 80s the capital of the Republic of Buryatia has become opened for foreign tourists. The first foreign tourists have visited Buryatia in 1989. They were diplomats — officials of embassies and the consulates, accredited in Moscow. For example, in the beginning of 90s of the last century, the USA ambassador in Russia Mr. Metlok has visited Buryatia for the first time.
For the period of 2003-2007 the amount of tourists who visited Buryatia has increased for 38 %. According to reports of Buryat Statistics Committee 233,06 thousand of tourists have visited the republic in 2007, including 19 thousand foreigners. According to federal register, over 20 tour operators have been working in Buryatia in 2007-2008.
At the beginning of the third millennium tourism in Buryatiya is recognized as a priority direction of economy development. At the end of 2006 Buryatia has won the competition on creation of special economic zone of tourist recreational type. The creation of this economic zone in Buryatia, without any doubt, has given a powerful pulse to the development tourist industry in the republic.
Gradually, step by step, tourism in Buryatiya becomes one of the branches of its economy. The international ecological project called as “The large Baikal Track” continues to develop. Today, sports federations on sports tourism and mountaineering, extreme sports, rock-climbing, sports orientation successfully and actively operate in the republic.
Under the decision of RF Government from February, 3, 2007 under № 68 special tourist recreational area “The Baikal harbour” in the territory of Pribaikalsk region of Buryatia is formed. It is planned as an all-seasonable resort meeting the world standards with developed. The total area makes 700 sq.km. “The Baikal harbour” is positioned as a tourist center in the east of Russia, as a key tourist direction and object of a transport boundary route “Vostochnoye Koltso” for the countries of Northeastern Asia. More over 1 million of tourists per year are expected to 2027, 20% of them will make foreign tourists.
Reserves and national parks
There several large reserves and national parks in Buryatia. Among them:
Barguzin state biosphere reserve
Baikal state biosphere reserve
State natural reserve “Dzherginsky”
National park “Zabaikalsky”
National park “Tunkinsky”