Irkutsk is called a "treasure house" of the spiritual culture of Siberia. Founded in 1661 by the Cossack Yakov Pohabov, Irkutsk has been located for more than 300 years on banks of the Angara River, the beloved daughter of "father" Baikal. It is probably the only city of Siberia that has preserved its historic character- old time wooden houses, built without a nail, decorated with skillful carving harmonize with the splendid stone buildings of Siberian architecture. There are about 700 monuments of history and culture in Irkutsk. The most interesting for the guests of our city are the historic ensembles in the central part of the city: Spasskaya (Savior) church, The Epiphany cathedral, The Polish Roman Catholic Church, the monument to explorers of Siberia, the Okhlopkov Drama theater etc.
Irkutsk is inseparable from Lake Baikal, the "Sacred sea" of Siberia. Every educated person and traveler should visit Lake Baikal. The lake is situated only 70 km away from Irkutsk and you can easily reach it in a comfortable bus or motor ship
In Buryatia there are many large and small lakes. Almost all rivers of the republics (there are more than 9 thousand of them) carry their waters to the deepest lake in the world - Baikal.
Diverse is the Buryat land: broad steppes, dense taiga, Eastern Sayan mountains (the highest point - Mt. Munku-Sardik - 3491 m). Buryatia is often called the ancient crown of Asia. The first early traces of the human existence on the territory of Buryatia date back to the Old Stone Period - about 30-40 thousand years ago. In Buryatia more than 100 nationalities live - this states the diversity of its way of living. Every nationality on the territory of Buryatia has its type of dwelling - the Evenks lived in chums made of deerskins, the Buryats- in multi corner felt huts, the Russians - in wooden blockhouses.
Ulan Ude, the capital of Buryatia, is located in the middle of vast Siberian steppes, on the 5640th kilometer of the Trans-Siberian railway. It is a very unusual and charming city.
The first striking impression is an unusually calm and mellow way of life, distinct features of people (more than 50% of people in Ulan-Ude are native Buryats with canny almond eyes), and a slightly chaotic look of the city. This peculiar mix made me feel that after I made 3000 kilometers through the Asian part of Russia, finally I'm in Asia.
Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve is truly the marvellous combination of high mountains, colourful flowers, pretty lakes, rivers and wetland waters with its famous rare species. At the Nature Reserve tourists can see and take pictures of the endangered beautiful wild mountain sheep Argali the Big Horns from the closest distance. In the reserve, many locations provide great angles to view rare waterbird species including the White Crane, White napped crane, Swan goose, and the beautiful Whooper swan. Horse riding in the mountains, steppes and along the river is just awesome! There is great fishing on the quiet Kherlen River including Taimen, Pike, Lenok, Burbot, Sturgeon. Visiting nomadic families will be unforgettable beautiful experience as you will love their faces with real smiles, true hospitality, simple, unique and peaceful lifestyle. You also can ride camel/yak or travel with camel/yak carts. Sailing in a boat on the Lake Ikh-Gun or the River Kherlen and swimming in the river is a great way to relax. Rafting is well done on the River Kherlen too