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Novoselenginsk/Russia

Introducing Novoselenginsk

Stockades and wooden houses on broad dust-blown roads give this small, 19th-century town a memorable Wild West feel. Learn something of Novoselenginsk's interesting history at the Decembrist Museum (Muzey Dekabristov; 96716; ul Lenina 53; admission R10; 9am-5pm Wed-Sun), which is housed in an unmissable 200-year-old colonnaded house in the town's centre. Lower floors are stocked with 19th-century furnishings, while upstairs are maps and photos relating to the Decembrist exiles and their wives, as well as a long- armed naive-style crucifixion scene rescued from the town's 18th-century church.

If you walk a couple of kilometres east of the museum through the town towards the Selenginsk River you'll see on the grassy far bank the isolated ruins of the whitewashed Spassky Church; this is all that remains of Staroselenginsk, the original settlement which was abandoned around 1800 due to frequent floods. Some low hills here provide photogenic viewpoints across the landscape. You'll also find an unremarkable obelisk commemorating Glaswegian missionaries Robert Yuille and Martha Cowie who worked here back in 1829.

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