Ulan-Ude

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Ulan-Ude (Russian: Ула́н-Удэ́; Buryat: Улаан-Үдэ, Ulaan-Üde) is the capital city of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia and is located about 100 kilometers (62 mi) southeast of Lake Baikal on the Uda River at its confluence with the Selenga. According to the 2002 Census, 359,391 residents lived in Ulan-Ude,[1] up from 351,806 (1989 Census).[3] In terms of population, it is the third largest city in eastern Siberia.

Contents

Names

Ulan-Ude was first called Udinskoye (У́динское) for its location on the Uda River. From around 1735, the settlement was called Udinsk (У́динск) and was granted town status under that name in 1775.

The name was changed to Verkhneudinsk, literally "Upper Udinsk" (Верхнеу́динск), in 1783 to differentiate it from Nizhneudinsk ("Lower Udinsk") lying on a different Uda River near Irkutsk which gained town status that year. The "upper" and "lower" refer to positions of the two cities relative to each other, not the location of the cities on their respective Uda rivers. Verkhneudinsk lies at the mouth of its Uda, i.e. the lower end, while Nizhneudinsk is along the middle stretch of its Uda.

The current name was given to the city in 1934 and means "red Uda" or "red gate" in Buryat reflecting the communist ideology of the Soviet Union to which it belonged.

History

The first occupants of the area where Ulan-Ude now stands were the Evenks and, later, the Buryat Mongols. Ulan-Ude (old name Verkhneudinsk) was founded in 1666 by the Russian Cossacks as fortress Udinskoye. Due to its favourable geographical position, the city grew rapidly and became a large trade centre which connected Russia with China and Mongolia and, from 1690, was the administrative center of the Transbaikal region. In 1775, the city, now Udinsk, was chartered as a city and in 1783 was renamed Verkhneudinsk. After a large fire in 1878, the city was almost completely rebuilt. The Trans-Siberian Railway reached the city in 1900 causing an explosion in growth. The population which was 3,500 in 1880 reached 126,000 in 1939. On 27 July 1934, the city was renamed Ulan-Ude.

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