9 reasons to visit Chita

The section describes unique places in Chita and Zabaikalye.

​The tour of Zabaikalye

In the footsteps of the great Genghis Khan.

Onon river  (photo by O.V.Korsun)
The personality of the great Genghis Khan is wrapped in legend. Perhaps this unique man who left a large footprint in history was born in Zabaikalye.  This is the opinion of researches who give incontestable evidence.
Onon River, not far from the locality currently named as Nizhny Tsasuchey.  Some ancient architectural monuments of that period have been preserved until the present day:  “Genghis Khan’s stone” - epigraphic monument of Mongolian period, wall of Genghis Khan, gates of Genghis Khan, Genghis Khan’s cup. Today you may see them, touch them and feel the spirit of this great person!

A mountain of five seas

Great global watershed divide (photo by O.V.Korsun)
The interest in this mountain unbeknown to anybody before and announced a complex natural sanctuary is not accidental.  A part of the Great global watershed forming the boundaries of huge catchment basins stretches along the Yablonovy Range.  The eastern part of Asia is a constituent part of the Pacific Ocean basin, the western part is a part of the Arctic Ocean.  There are many mountain peaks located along the Global watershed. But only one of them divides the basins of three big rivers in the Middle Asia, which are in the top ten of the biggest rivers of the world. From the top of the watershed mountain a traveller can see the heads of all these three rivers. The view is really magnificent!

Decembrists:  freethinkers or heroes?

Michael the Archangel church (photo by Press service of Chita administration)
Pushkin’s poem “In the Depth of Siberian Mines” was addressed to a small town of Chita which was actively discussed in the best metropolitan saloons of Russia and Europe in late 20s of the 19th century. It was in Chita where the first noble freethinkers were confined to hard labour after their rebellion at the Senate square in St.Petersburg that was crushingly rebuffed on 14 December 1825. Decades later they were named the "Decembrists”. Nowadays Chita is penetrated by the spirit of that age. In 2009 Chita archaeologists found the residues of the prison in which Decembrists were kept. The regional library preserved dozens of books owned by the prisoners. The landscapes of Chita suburbs depicted by Bestuzhev in his canvases may be compared with the current relief of the city. Michael the Archangel church is one of the oldest temples beyond the lake Baikal. Currently the church hosts the Museum of Decembrists.  Ivan Annenkov and Polina Gebl, Dmitry Zavalishin and Appolinaria Smolyaninova got married in this church.  The heroism of Decembrists’ wives was widely admired. Aleksandra Muravyeva and Mariya Volkonskaya, Natalya Fonvizina and Ekaterina Trubetskaya voluntarily followed their husbands and shared their fate of prisoners. To commemorate the fact a symbolic monument “Love and fidelity” was erected at the corner of the former Damskaya and Amurskaya streets in 2011, and the Naryshkins’ house has been lovingly preserved to the present day.  

Stone monuments of Alkhanay

National park Alkhanay (photo by O.V.Korsun)
Those who have once visited this unique place created by nature agree that it is earthy heaven. Alkhanay is a mystical place. The gods themselves seem to have descended upon the earth and stood still as stony statutes admiring the people. Rock massifs, healing springs, magnificent wooded lands, wish fulfilment valley, majestic "Temple Gate” and “Mother’s Womb” stagger traveller’s imagination.  The air of Alkhanay  is curative and filled with magic. The stars seem to be closer to the earth here and the sun shines much brighter. And maybe it is the case? We recommend to check it out!

Religious Confessions

Orthodox Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God (photo by Press service of Chita administration)
Chita is a multinational city. Among the pioneer constructors of Chita are Russians and Tatars, Jewish and Germans, Poles and Ukrainians. This polyphony of nations is depicted by a palette of convictions. One can hardly find another Siberian city hosting an orthodox temple, a synagogue and a mosque at an area of 500m2. Only in Chita! Nowadays 30 curacies of the leading Russian confessions are provided for 106 nations and nationalities. Monumental and grand temples have always been and remain the decoration of the Zabaikalye capital.

A World of Sand and Stone

Kodar (photo by A.I.Lytsus)
The beauty of these places impresses both sophisticated travellers and beginners.  One can hardly help admiring the grand beauty of Kodar ridge surrounded by a sandy desert with barchans and east-Siberian larch taiga. The uniqueness of this place is difficult to describe. It seems as if a pearl reflected the key beauties of nature. The blue of the sky gradually transforms into the gold of sands, the emerald green of the forest attracts by its fresh coolness.
Kodar…A unique secret of nature…There are no places in the world similar to the Chara desert. The rock massifs are magnificent and beautiful. They are about 3000 meters high. The analogue may be found only in the Sayan Mountains and in the head water of Indigirka. Many travellers covered complex distances to visit this fantastic place.  Some people are interested in Kodar glaciers, others dream of visiting a Pass of Seven Dwarfs, and somebody is attracted by the mystery of the Cold Pole. Anyways you will never forget this place. You will dream of the cornflower-blue sky, a beautiful view opening from the top of the mountain, huge sand barchans and ice sparkling under the sun. Kodar – is a fairy tail which can be visited.

Chita -  is the mother of the far eastern capitals.

Memorial for Military and Labour Glory of the people of Zabaikalye (photo by A.I.Lytsus)
Chita does not have an honorary distinction “City of military glory of the Russian Federation” yet. However,  it may acquire the title.  The prominent military history of Chita and Zabaikalye is a valid reason for it.   When Chita was granted the city status in 1851 it was actually a forbear of the far eastern capitals of contemporary RF entities. In the course of development and defending Russian areas in the Amur River region and Primorye, Zabaikalye Cossacks founded Blagoveshchensk, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok.  In the period of Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905 Chita was a front-line city. A church of St.Luka in the territory of medical academy reminds of the events. The church was constructed in honour of talented surgeon V.F.Voino-Yasenetsky, who performed surgical operations in Chita and became a hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1920 heavy battles of peoples’ revolution army of the Far eastern republic for liberation from Japanese invaders took place.  Until the present days a collective grave has been preserved in the suburbs of Chita. Two districts - Zabaikalye military and Zabaikalye boundary headquartered in Chita robustly defended the country boundaries in the XXth century. Chita was a front-line zone during hot battles of 1939 at the Khalkhin-Gol River in neighbouring Mongolia.  A headquarter of the Zabaikalye front line was located in Chita during the Great Patriotic War. Such outstanding marshals as Zhukov, Konev, Rokossovsky, Malinovsky, Vasilevsky and over sixty Heroes of the Soviet Union made a great contribution to Chita history. Such prominent pilots as Aleksey Maresyev started his career at the "Cheremushki” airfield.  Nazar Gubin a hero of the Great Patriotic War spent a period of his labour activity at Chernovskiye mines. Heroic history of Zabaikalye is represented by monuments and museum expositions. Memorial for Military and Labour Glory of the people of Zabaikalye is one of the biggest in the east of Russia. Nowadays there are over 50 memorial objects in the “military Chita”.

Trip around five elevation belts

Sokhondinsky natural reserve (photo by I.B.Mavrina)
Zabaikalye is characterized by a vast variety of landscapes – from alpine tundra to dry steppes. They are spread over the areas of the region, but sometimes places accumulating all the basic types of landscapes occur in close proximity to each other. Sokhondinsky natural reserve is one of such notable places. It covers the area of 211 thousand hectares.
The principal distinctive feature of the Sokhondinsky natural reserve is a variety of landscapes. This relatively small area accumulates steppe, taiga, alpine tundra and transitional areas (meadows, swamp lands, lakes etc.) typical for Zabaikalye.  The localities are occupied by steppe. Various types of forests alternate while going up the hill. At the elevation point over 2000m above the see level larch-dwarf sparse forest gives way to alpine tundra.
While climbing up the mountains 5 elevation levels may be observed.
Bold mountains Bolshoy Sokhondo (2505m) and Maly Sokhondo (2404m) reach the highest elevation point above the sea level.  The name of the bold mountain and the natural reserve originate from Evenk and Buryat languages, in which the words “sokho” or “choko” have the meaning of “top, head”. No wonder that the highest top of this massif was given such a name.
Bukukun Lake, which has become the landmark of the natural reserve, is especially picturesque.  It is located 1892m above the sea level.
Vegetation and wild life of the natural reserve are extremely versatile:  fox, sable, hermelin,  weasel, brown bear, Siberian Roe Deer, Siberian Musk Deer, aper, squirrel, blue hare, rock-capercaillie, hazel hen, nutcracker.  Many rivers of Zabaikalye flow from the Sokhondinsk taiga. An area of the global great watershed passing through the natural reserve hosts effluents of rivers composing the basins of the Pacific and the Arctic oceans: Ingoda river, Onon and Chikoy tributaries.
Over 70 species of plants, mushrooms and lichens, 10 species of mammals, 36 birds species and 17  insect species listed in the Red book of Chita  and Aginsk Buryat Autonomous Regions are taken under protection in the natural reserve.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      29 species of mammals and birds (including white-taled eagle, white-naped crane, hooded crane, deadly nightshade, black stork, Baikal teal, spotted eagle, imperial eagle, golden eagle, saker falcon, peregrine, eagle owl) are protected at the international or national level.
Touristic routs of various difficulty have been developed in the natural reserves and its localities. The most popular of them "Following the path of Pallas” duplicates the route of N.Sokolov through the bold mountain Sokhondo.  It will take several days to cover the distance of 70km.  While travelling one can observe the variety of wildlife while elevation belts give way to each other from the forest steppes through the lower and bottom forest belt, alpine and subalpine altitudinal belts, to alpine tundra.   Sokhondo bold mountain and Bukukun Mountain Lake with traces of glaciers activity are magnificent.
There is no denying that if a person happens to visit this place once he will inevitably return here again.

Blooming ledum

Blooming  ledum (photo by O.V.Korsun)
Every second resident of Zabaikalye knows that the symbol of the region is ledum. The annual arts festival was named by the name of this beautiful violet-crimson bush. The scientific name of the plant is Dauria rhododendron.
The “Blooming ledum” festival – is a fairy show of colours and melodies.  Internationally recognized celebrities coming from different corners of the world perform chamber and symphonic music. In 1976 the festival was awarded the status of Russian national festival, in 2006 - international.
Every year thousands of art fans come to the festival to enjoy the talent of favourite performers.  The best stages of Chita are involved during the days of the festival. This cultural event awards both the artists and spectators with positive emotions. Every year the festival acquires new colours and sounds in order to share spring blooming mood with its participants which they memorize until the next festival.




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