out of (2004):
Populousness 2,9 people/km2
Repulic of Buryatia
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Foto: Anja Tausche
Despite the fame of Lake Baikal in European countries the Republic of Buryatia is widely unknown, even though vast parts of the lake are situated within the territories of this autonomous republic. Buryatia used to be a part of the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan before it was annexed to Russia in the 17th century.
Although Lake Baikal is located east of Bangkok it is not before having reached Buryatia and its capital Ulan-Ude in particular, that you will have the feeling of being in Asia.
This, of course, is mainly due to the high number of the Buryat population, as well as to the signs of buddhist religion which can nowadays be seen everywhere again. Not least of all do the vast Buryat steppes remind foreign travellers of Mongolia.
However, this is to describe those regions which are far off Lake Baikal. (For information on regions at the shore of the lake please see Lake Baikal.) The eastern Sayan Mountains located at the Mongolian border offer various opportunities for hikes up to alpine regions. A multitude of Buddhist monasteries (such as in Ivolginsk) or a visit to one of the orthodox villages near Tarbagatei offer the opportunity to gain an insight into the cultural and religious traditions of Buryatia.