Zabaikalsky Krai

zabaikalsky krai – забайкальский край

chita – чита

Chita - the administrative center of Zabaikalsky Krai - was founded in 1653 as a silver-mining town.  Today it is a prosperous industrial city. Lack of tourists makes Chita a pleasant place to spend a day. Lenin Square is nice and colorful especially in summer with blooming flower beds around a pink-granite Lenin statue.

The Zabaikalie Hotel.

The recently built Out Lady of Kazan Cathedral stands across the railway station.

The House of Military Officers.

The courtyard of the House houses a small exhibition of armor. Some specimens are quite rare: made in 1930s.

WWII tanks.

A heavy howitzer.

zabaikalsky krai – забайкальский край

aginsky buryat district – агинский бурятский округ

From 1993 till March 1, 2008 Aginsky Buryat Autonomous District was a separate territorial entity of the Russian Federation.

On March 1, 2008 the District merged with the then Chita Oblast. As a result, Chita Oblast was renamed Zabaikalsky Krai. Buddhist-minded travelers should not miss the Aginsky Buryat District. It is advisable to visit the 1811 Buddhist datsan in the town of Aginskoe and the 1801 datsan in the village of Tsugol located about 110 km south of Aginskoe. Aginskoe despite fears of seeing a sleepy town leaves a very good impression of a well kept place.

The alley of heroes.

Buddhist and Christian features peacefully coexist in Aginskoe.

The 1903 Saint Nicholas Church.

The war memorial overlooks the town.

The 1811 datsan and Buddhist academy in Aginskoe.

The biggest stupa in Russia.

Traditional Buddhist decorations.

The stupa commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Aginsky datsan.

tsugol – цугол

The village is rather poor but the entry sign is a piece of art.

The village of Tsugol is home for the 1801 datsan. Tsugol is a rather remote place 265 kilometers south-east of Chita. Therefore, travelers can enjoy the authentic Buddhist monastery without crowds. Most likely, you will be the only visitor(s) there and the Tsugol Datsan will be your most memorable Buddhist temple in Russia.

Front view.

Rear view.

Right view.

Left view.

The interior.

Decoration are made of painted wood and painted wrought iron.

The two-storey building shelters an eight meter high statue of Buddha Maitreya who knows our future.

A Buryat family is filling a donation box with 100-ruble notes.

Stupas on the outskirts of Tsugol.

Have a nice trip!

genghis khan - ченгиз хан

The most outstanding leader of the Mongol people Genghis Khan was born in the territory of today's Zabaikalsky krai in 1155 (or 1162). The exact birthplace is unknown but all sources agree that he was born on the bank of the Onon River. The village of Tsugol mentioned above stands on this river. The Onon River is sacred in Buryat and Mongol culture.

The Onon River and a bridge across the river in the vicinity of Tsugol.

Don Moes from Waco, Texas, USA is taking pictures of the bridge and the river.

CHernyshevsk – Чернышевск

Chernyshevsk is a small town about 400 km east of Chita. It is conveniently located to stay overnight when traveling by the Amur highway. There are two hotels and a dozen apartments for rent. The town was named after Nikolay Chernyshevsky (1828-1889) a revolution theorist whose books influenced Lenin, Stalin and other prominent Russian revolutionaries. Currently, the town is a railway junction. A statue of Nikolay Chernyshevsky can be seen at the entrance to the railway station.

If you favor off-beaten tracks then you can drive from Chernyshevsk to Sretensk by a dirt road across rather scenic terrain. Be sure you have a 4WD vehicle. In rainy weather the road may be impassable.

The road to Sretensk runs through the village of Kurlych (Курлыч).

After Kurlych watch for deep ruts and puddles of rain water.

sretensk – сретенск

Founded in 1689, Sretensk flourished on silver mining in the 18-19th century. The town's flag and coat of arms carry three ingots of silver. Before the 1917 Russian revolution and subsequent civil war Sretensk had a sizeable Jewish population. By 1920 all Jews fled leaving behind a big Jewish cemetery. Although heavily vandalized, the cemetery is still worth visiting especially for Jewish travelers. Some graves and grave stones are still intact. The cemetery is walled and located on a hill overlooking the town.

Cantor Gregory Sheikhot passed away July 23, 1910. Rest in piece.

The town hall.

There are two 19th century buildings in town. As of June 2021, the central square was under renovation.

Lenin is taken a good care of.

This sign marks the border of Sretensk county.

The road from Sretensk to Nerchinsk.

nerchinsk - нерчинск

Founded in 1653, Nerchinsk was a major silver production center in the 17-19th centuries. In 1689 the Treaty of Nerchinsk was signed here with China that settled border disputes between the two countries. In 1870s the local silver tycoon Mikhail Butin built himself a palace where in 1886 he opened a museum of local history. Now the museum occupies the entire palace. In 1878 Butin being in Paris bought huge mirrors measuring 16 and 20 square meters. The mirrors traveled by sea and river almost half way around the globe and arrived unscathed. Now the mirrors are displayed in the museum.

Mikhail Butin (1835 - 1907), the local silver baron.

The 1814 Resurrection Church.

WWII memorial.

As of June 2021, Nerchinsk is in the early stages of renovation. There is still a lot to renovate.

There are two Lenins in Nerchinsk. One is in a good condition looking at the sky.

Another one was moved to the stadium, vandalized and looks like a hitch-hiking drunk man.

shilka - шилка

The town of Shilka is worth a detour from the bypassing road to see and to picture the 1908 Saint Peter & Paul Church.

petrovsk-zabaikalsky - петровск-забайкальский

The town was founded in 1789 next to deposits of iron ore in an effort to develop the metallurgical industry. For travelers familiar with Russian history it may be interesting for the fact that in 1830s seventy one Decembrists served their terms here. Eleven wives followed their husbands from the luxury of Saint-Petersburg to the misery of Siberia which gave rise to many touching stories. As a result the town has a good Decembrists museum. The December 1825 uprising against the then tsarist regime in Russia is considered to be the forerunner of the 1917 Russian revolution. The uprising took place in December hence "the Decembrists".

The Decembrists museum is located in the house built in 1832.

The original stockade is almost 200 years old.

In the central square.

Lenin in Petrovsk-Zabaikalsky is as black as he is painted.

mogocha - могоча

As a Russian saying goes, "God created Sochi and devil Mogocha".  I first visited Mogocha in 2007 when driving from Moscow to Vladivostok. It looked a dark unhospitable place with only one primitive place to stay.  As of 2021 the town has been noticeably improved and renovation is going on. The streets are properly lit and paved. There are two decent hotels, blocks of flats are decorated with murals and the railway station looks new.

The railway staiton.

A war memorial.

Some ground floor apartments are used as shops.

Amur highway

In the recent past (before 2010) approximately 120 km after Chita the paved road gave way to the dirt or gravel filled Amur Highway. At least two days of bumpy and dusty ride awaited a Vladivostok bound road traveler across Zabaikalsky Krai and Amur Oblast. The paved road reappeared only in the Siberian Promised Land, i.e. Jewish Autonomous Oblast.

The Amur Highway was very hard on tires. Two flat tires at a time was a very common happening.

Those glorious days have long been gone together with the sense of some extremality of driving by the Amur Highway. In 2010 the road was paved.

The road was paved but remained a bit undulated. On seeing a sign “Uneven Road” (or "Tits" in Russian), slow down. The signs are displayed for good reason.


The prevailing landscapes of Zabaikalsky Krai are forested hills and grassy steppe.

Between the town of Pervomaisky (Первомайский) and the town of Shilka (Шилка) there is a bridge across the Ingoda River. The road way of the bridge is single track and is used alternatively both by motor vehicles and trains. Traffic is regulated by traffic lights.
The collective farm named after Lenin and symbols of the 1980 Summer Olympics.
The above mentioned bridge across the holy Onon River.