Founded as a Cossack ostrog (fort) called Udinsk (later Verkhneudinsk) in 1666, the city prospered as a major stop on the tea-caravan route from China via Troitskosavsk (now Kyakhta). Renamed Ulan-Ude in 1934, it was a closed city until the 1980s due to its secret military plants (there are still mysterious blank spaces on city maps).
The Ethnographic Museum ('Etnographicheski Muzei' in Russian).
A great collection of old buildings, houses, church, farms, datsan, and Buryat traditional houses from the 18th and 19th centuries. It is a must for people who want to get away from the city and a nice spot for a picnic.
Monday is the day off. You can still visit the museum but many houses are closed.
The 'Ivolginsky Datsan'...
The 'Ivolginsky Datsan' (Buddhist Temple)
The Buddhist center of Russia.
If you wish to respect the Buddhist custom you have to visit the place clockwise. Also it is worth to bring along small change to leave at the pray mills.