From the 13th to the 17th century, the area now known as the Buryat Autonomous Republic was part of the Mongolian empire. The
Buryats were originally nomadic herders, with cultural and language similarities to the Mongolians and religious similarities to Tibetan Buddhists. The city was founded in 1666. In the 18th century, Tsarina Elizabeth officially recognized Buddhism as a religion in Russia. Unfortunately for the Buryats, future generations of Russian/Soviet leaders were not so tolerant. In the 1930's, Buryat culture and religion were practically stamped out by Stalin during the years of repression. Mongolian script was replaced by Latin, then Cyrillic, and Buddhist temples were razed or put to other uses.
The Republic of Buryatia is located in central part of the Continent of Asia. The total area of the republic is 351.3 squared
kilometers. Republic of Buryatia is bounded by Irkutsk and Chita regions, Republic of Tuva and Mongolia and is washed by one of the greatest and magnificent lakes in the world — Lake Baikal. There are more than 300 sunny days yearly in Buryatia and for anyone who lives in the republic it is unimaginable without blue sky and sun shining brightly.