Buddhism in Russia
Although Buddhism was officially recognized in Russia by the Empress Ekaterina the Great in 1741, Buddhists were Christianized by force in the region of Ulan Ude.
Nevertheless they continued to practice their religion and in the beginning of the 20th century, about 30 Datsans or Buddhist Schools were housing 10000 Monks. During Soviet times, religion was prohibited and monasteries were destroyed, monks were killed.
In 1923, Religious Orthodox Icons, Buddhist sculptures and paintings started to be stored in an ‘anti-religious’ museum in Ulan Ude. In 1991, some educational institutes were opened teaching Buddhist Philosophy, Tantrism, Art.
One of the most interesting buddhist centers is Ivolginsky Datsan. The easiest way is to take a taxi (it will cost around €20 one way from Uland-Ude, 30 min trip).
Ivolginsky Datsan Ulan-Ude
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The main attractions in Ulan-Ude are the two museums (of history and of nature), Ivolginsky Buddhist Datsan, and open-air Ethnographic Museum.
Open-Air Ethnographic Museum is large settlement of local architecture from Prehistoric times to nowadays.
In Soviet times, an ‘anti-religious’ Museum was opened to store all religious art.