Ulan-Ude (Ула́н-Удэ́; ) is the capital city of the Buryat Republic, Russia, is located about 100 km south-east of Lake Baikal on the Uda River at its confluence with the Selenga. According to the 2002 Census, 359,391 residents lived in Ulan-Ude, up from 351,806 recorded in 1989 and it is the third largest city in eastern Siberia.
Ulan-Ude was first called Udinskoye
(Russian: У́динское) for its location on the Uda River
. From around 1735, the settlement was called Udinsk
(Russian: У́динск) and was granted town status under that name in 1775. However, its name was changed to Verkhneudinsk
, literally "Upper Udinsk" (Russian: Верхнеу́динск Verxneudinsk
; Buryat: Дээдэ-Үдэ Deede-Üde
; Дээд Үүд Deed Üüd
; Classical Mongolian
: Degedy Egüde
), in 1783 to differentiate it from Nizhneudinsk
("Lower Udinsk") lying on a different Uda River
which gained town status that year. (The "upper" and "lower" refer to positions of the two cities relative to each other, not the location of the cities on their respective Uda
rivers. Verkhneudinsk lies at the mouth of its Uda, i.e. the lower end, while Nizhneudinsk is along the middle stretch of its Uda.) The current name of Ulan-Ude
(Russian: Ула́н-Удэ́; Buryat: Улаан-Үдэ Ulaan-Üde
; Mongolian: Улаан Үүд Ulaan Üüd
; Classical Mongolian: Ulaɣan Egüde
) was bestowed upon the city in 1934 and means "red Uda
" or "red gate" in Buryat reflecting the communist
ideology of the Soviet Union
to which it belonged.
The first occupants of the area where Ulan-Ude now stands were the Evenks and, later, the Buryat Mongols. Ulan-Ude was founded in 1666 by the Russian Cossacks as Udinskoye. Due to its favourable geographical position, the city grew rapidly and became a large trade centre which connected Russia with China and Mongolia and, from 1690, was the administrative center of the Transbaikal region. In 1775, the city, now Udinsk, was chartered as a city and in in 1783 was renamed Verkhneudinsk. After a large fire in 1878, the city was almost completely rebuilt. The Trans-Siberian Railway reached the city in 1900 causing an explosion in growth. The population which was 3500 in 1880 reached 126,000 in 1939. On 27 July 1934, the city was renamed Ulan-Ude.
Geography and climate
Ulan-Ude lies east of Moscow
and south-east of Lake Baikal
. It is located above mean sea level
at the foot of the Khamar-Daban
and Khrebet Ulan-Burgasy
mountain ranges, next to the confluence
of the Selenga River
and its tributary
, the Uda
which divides the city into two parts.
Ulan Ude has a moderate subarctic climate with mean temperatures of . The hottest month, July, has a mean temperature of and the coldest, January, is . Ulan-Ude receives an average of precipitation per year, mostly in the summer.
According to the 2002 Census
, 359,391 residents lived in Ulan-Ude, up from 351,806 recorded in 1989
. It is the third largest city in East Siberia
Historical population figures for Ulan-Ude
|| 1989 |
|| 351,800 |
The ethnic makeup of the city's population in 2002:
The city is the center of Tibetan Buddhism in Russia and the important Ivolginsky datsan is located 23 km from the city.
Ulan Ude is located on the main line (Trans-Siberian line) of the Trans-Siberian Railway
at the junction of the Trans-Mongolian line (the Trans-Mongolian Railway
) which begins at Ulan Ude and continues south through Mongolia
in China. The city also lies on the M55 section of the Baikal Highway
(part of the Trans-Siberian Highway
), the main federal road to Vladivostok
. Air traffic is served by the Ulan-Ude Airport
(Mukhino), as well as the smaller Ulan-Ude Vostochny Airport
. Intracity transport includes tram
, and marshrutka
Until 1991, Ulan-Ude was city closed to foreigners. There are old merchants' mansions richly decorated with wood and stone carving in the historical center of Ulan-Ude, along the river banks which are exceptional examples of Russian classicism. The city has a large ethnographic museum which recalls the history of the peoples of the region. There is also a large and highly unusual statue of the head of Lenin
in the central square, the largest in the world.