The Republic of Buryatia!

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

Buryatia is a republic of Russia located in Asia in Siberia on the eastern shore of Lake Baikal. The people of Buryatia represent a minority group within Russia and I was very interested to visit the capital of Bruyatia, which is Ulan-Ude. Buryats, in the past have adhered to belief systems which were based on the deification of nature, belief in spirits and the possibility of their magic influence on the surroundings. Shamans have led these tribal beliefs in the past, however, there was a shift around the middle of the 17th century to Buddhism. Today, the majority of Buryats are part of the Buddhism tradition.

When I arrived to the capital I headed to the city center and saw the largest and most unusual head of Vladimir Lenin. It is the biggest head of Lenin in the world, and a popular spot for wedding photos. It is also known as the world’s biggest Jewish head, though not for religious reasons, but rather because each winter when snow falls on the head it sticks to the top creating what appears to be a sort of snow-yarmulke.

After viewing the massive head of Lenin, I wandered around to another spot where there was a fountain that worked to the sound of music. The song being played was Romeo & Juliet theme by Prokofiev.

Right next to the fountain, there was an art museum. I tried to enter but I arrived a week too late and they were shut down for next month. 

After walking around the city for a few hours, I caught a bus to the Datsans in Ulan-Ude. Datsans are Buddhist monasteries with two departments – philosophical and medical. The buildings were impressive and it was a very interested experience to see the religious practices of these people.

Before going to the middle of the area in order to get a good view of the buildings or enter them, I walked around the entire complex and as I walked, I spun these in order to have my wishes granted.

These spinners were scattered all around the complex and I made sure to spin them all on my way around.

When I returned to the city I wandered around and found many monuments scattered throughout the city. This monument is dedicated to ridding the world of violence and created a new world from the ground up.

I could not figure this one out.

The next monument was actually the most interesting to me. It is a monument dedicated to the victims of political repression. I just happened to come upon it while being lost in the city.

Жертвы политических репрессий (victims of political repression)

After a long day, I went to a restaurant on the rooftop of a tall building.


Upon my return to Irkutsk the following day, I went to a local craft beer bar to relax and spotted something from my childhood.


Yup! “Drive” is what Sega Genesis was/is called in Russia. I was stoked to find this game console. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.

Until next time!