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Introducing Ulan-Ude

The appealing capital of Buryatiya, 'UU' is 456km east of Irkutsk by rail and makes a sensible staging post for visiting Mongolia or eastern Lake Baikal. Founded as Verkhneudinsk in 1775, the city prospered as a major stop on the tea-caravan route from China via Troitskosavsk (now Kyakh- ta). Ulan means 'Red' in Buryat, yet Ulan-Ude is pleasantly green, cradled attractively in rolling hills. Despite the inevitable concrete suburban sprawl, it remains one of the most likable cities in eastern Siberia.

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