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Top Things to do in Chita Siberia

Buryat region siberia

Top Things to do in Chita, Siberia?

Let me admit. To me, visiting Russia meant Moscow and St Petersburg. And probably a few smaller towns around them. Nothing more.

Because everything else was too cold and barren, including Siberia! That’s what we thought, we read, and we heard.
But is it so?

We visited Chita, a lesser known small town in eastern Siberia and were pleasantly surprised.

If you are looking for something beyond Moscow and St Petersburg, Chita is a good option. Located on the confluence of Chita and Ingoda rivers, more than 6000 kilometres away from Moscow, Chita is on the east side of Irkutsk. It is the capital of the Trans-Baikal region. The winter is very long and cold here but the summer brings out sunshine and colors, albeit for a short time.

Here, we have curated a list of our top things to do in Chita, Siberia where a cultural and historical experience awaits you.

Decembrists’ Church Museum

Decembrists’ Church Museum

Decembrists’ Church is the oldest building of the city dating back to 1776. It has the status of the wooden architecture monument of the 18th century and has been under state protection since 1974. The history of this church building is amazing and you wouldn’t want to miss it. Our suggestion is to take along a good translator so you can understand the stories & read all the graves and placards. The museum has wonderful collection of historical artefacts including writings and memoirs, as well as the diaries of Decembrists and their wives.

The Church of Kazan

church of Kazan Chita Russia
The church of Kazan is an iconic landmark monument in the city of Chita. It is located between Lenin Square and the Chita Railway Station. The bright turquoise cathedral with golden onion domes are the first thing that you see if you alight from train at Chita railway station.
Known as Icon of the Mother of God, it is Chita’s most impressive building. Kazan Cathedral is also the biggest church in Siberia and in the Far East. We saw it during our visit to the railway station and then we visited it at midnight as well.

Titovskaya Hill and Alexander Nevsky Chapel

Titovskaya Hill Alexander Nevsky Chapel Chita

The Alexander Nevsky Chapel is located on the Titovskaya hill. Small but beautiful chapel almost always looks freshly painted. This is a viewpoint, and you can see Chita railway station with Trans-Siberian trains halted there and you can also see a part of the town. Near the chapel on the Titovskaya hill there is an observation deck also.

This spot is popular for wedding shoots. The day we went there, a shoot was going on and a white limo was waiting for the couple.

Aginsky Datsan or Агинский Дацан

Aginsky datsan Агинский Дацан
Aginsky Datsan is the main attraction of Chita and attracts locals as well as tourists. Datsan is the term used for Buddhist university monasteries in the Tibetan tradition.
A place of pilgrimage, Aginsky Datsan is painted in traditional Buddhist style. People come here to worship and they can also get astrological predictions or healing consultations if they wish so, as per Buddhist rites.
There is a souvenir shop as well.

Chita Oblast Drama Theater

russia Chita Oblast Drama Theater

If you are in Chita, visit to this drama theater is a must. A beautiful theater with a long history. The theatre participates in international and inter-regional festivals in Blagoveshchensk, Irkutsk, and Tomsk. The theatre repeatedly became the laureate and winner of national and international competitions and festivals.
We watched a comedy show and it was a blast. The hall was full to its capacity. Today the Chita regional drama theatre is primarily a theatre based on the best samples of world drama: both classical and modern, and even experimental.

House of Officers

House of Officers chita russia

Just a few steps away from the Drama Theater is House of Officers. Striking gilded statues of soldiers adorn this landmark building that showcases Chita as a military stronghold on the border with China. Walk through an archway to find yourself in ODORI Park, dotted with vintage military hardware.

Lenin Square

Lenin square Siberia

Every city seems to have a Lenin Square, then how could Chita be left behind? It’s a great place for people to take a stroll and meet casually. The architecture of the surrounding government buildings is stunning.

Shumovsky Palace

A mansion built for the accommodation of the Shumov’s family is one of the most beautiful buildings in Chita and is known as “Shumovsky Palace”. It was built in 1914 by the traders and gold miners Shumovy brothers Konstantin and Alexey Shumov. This richly decorated structure is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. It has elements of Baroque and late Classicism. The symmetrical facade is decorated with four domes like structures.

The project of the mansion was awarded the Grand Prix of the World Exhibition in Paris. In 1937 the palace was handed over to the National Security Service, which is placed there to this day.

Chita railway station

Trans siberian trains

Chita is a large industrial and cultural center of the country. I knew the name only because of it being the major railway station on Trans-Siberian railway route. Also, the cargo freight in the Republic of Buryatia, Zabaikalsky Krai and Amurskaya Oblast are controlled over from here.

Lose yourself in the outdoors

wild in siberia

woods in siberia

What is the use of visiting Siberia if you don’t experience the outdoors? Even if you are not an adventure lover, have a jeep safari and enjoy the rough terrain to the woods. Your day may look like encountering some animals, cooking a barbeque, crossing some streams, admiring the silver coated trees etc.
Or do a bicycle tour or just hike.

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33 thoughts on “Top Things to do in Chita Siberia”

  1. I love checking Russia outside the two big cities. The landscapes, culture, food is different every 100km I feel when I headed eastwards from Moscow. However havent really been into deepest Siberia yet and that is on my plans next. Not impressed with Lenin Squares to be honest, they always look dull and boring. 😀

    1. Yes, generally people think Russia as just Moscow & St Petersburg.
      You must go to deeper Siberia. We are planning to go there again but in summer this time. 🙂

  2. Chita sounds like a fascinating confluence between east and west. Buddhist Centers next to Lenin Square… How cool is that? I can’t wait for them to bring back Wooly Mammoths in Siberia. (real project to protect the permafrost) When that happens I am going to Siberia for sure.

  3. I must admit Siberia is pretty low on my travel list because, as you point out in this post, it’s COLD. But it sounds like I might be missing out if I don’t check it out myself. Chita sounds like a lovely place, and I particularly interested in its history and architecture.

  4. I certainly thought the same thing about visiting Russia. So was interested to hear your found other great spots in Russia to visit. But I would probably only look at visiting Chita in the summer. I love the blue church by the railway station. I was surprised to see the Buddhist Temple, although I guess there may be a Tibetan influence.

  5. I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of Chita! It’s a part of the world that I don’t know a lot about. I love the look of the Kazan Cathedral – such a beacon of beauty and architecture – those domes! I have always had fanciful ideas of taking the Trans-Siberian railway, so if I ever do I will get to see Chita too!

  6. Goodness, 6000 km away from Moscow! I can’t even begin to fathom the size of Russia. I love the Church of Kazan. It’s so colourful in an otherwise barren region. Would absolutely love to visit Chita.

  7. Like you I haven’t thought much about Siberia. The Church of Kazan is a beautiful turquoise and grabbed my attention. It would be fun to explore Aginsky Datsan and Lenin Square

  8. Honestly I had the same thoughts about Siberia before reading this, it is so nice to get a glimpse of a part of the country we don’t usually hear about! I love the colourful Kazan Cathedral, I saw a blue church in Bratislava and they are so striking!

  9. Same as you, I would not have thought of Siberia beyond the desolate tundra represented in Hollywood movies. Chita is particularly surprising with its diverse architectures as well as having a theatre-art community. I can see how Chita Buddhist Temple would be the main attraction in Chita, but the Kazan Cathedral probably gives it a run for its money. Who could resist that gorgeous blue building! I bet they are both big hits on Instagram, am I right?

    1. Vanessa, I was pleasantly surprised when I visited Siberia. 😀
      My favourites were Kazan cathedral and Alexander Nevsky Chapel. Haven’t checked them on Instagram but yes, probably. 😀

  10. Wow, I’m curious to visit Siberia one day, if only it wouldn’t be that cold! The temperature is one thing that keeps me away from it… But your blog post makes it really tempting. Looking for a warm winter jacket now 🙂

  11. I have to admit that I don’t think of Siberia as a go to place. I think of it as cold, barren and a place you are sent to when you are in the “bad books” (putting it lightly).

    From your photos my barren thoughts are still sort of with me, but then there are the gorgeous buildings. Alexander Nevsky Chapel is stunning. I can see why it is popular for weddings.

  12. I have actually heard of this place (as I got a huge interest in Russia) and already planning a trip to Siberia (tieing it in with some ice hockey..I am a huge fan of the sport). Chita is up there, I love places so far away. It looks so peaceful there. My kinda of place.

  13. I’d have to agree that the most I’ve heard of Russia is Moscow and St. Petersburg.. Good to know about Chita! The Church of Kazan’s architecture looks amazing as well as the Decembrists’ Church 🙂 The woods seem to have a unique charm to it.. I surely wouldn’t mind to spend some time here 🙂

  14. Haha! You got me there! I do only think of Moscow & St Petersburg when it comes to Russia. Have only been to Moscow for a weekend though. Having said that, a Trans-Siberian train trip is indeed one of my dreams and seeing Chita is on the route, I’ll be sure to have a stopover there when I get to realise that dream.

  15. Had never even heard of Chita but that is the great thing about browsing through travel blogs. Siberia is one region that I would love to explore someday. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the very name of it has such an epic feel!

  16. So much heritage plus the great outdoors. Definitely a place I would not want to miss. I will be honest and say that I did not know of Chita at all. Seems pretty important. . Good tip about getting a translator for I sure Want to know what is written on the placards.

  17. Yes, generally people think Russia as just Moscow & St Petersburg.
    You must go to deeper Siberia. We are planning to go there again but in summer this time.

  18. I am in awe of these fairy tale like structures!! My god! The Kazan church looks straight out of Russian fairy tales, even the Alexander Nevsky Chapel. Such pretty and lesser known places! Thanks for bringing them to light. I would love to be teleported into these dreamy woods! 🙂

  19. I always thought of Siberia as a frozen place all along! From your list, I would love to see these since I am into old temples and religious places: Aginsky Datsan, lexander Nevsky Chapel and The Church of Kazan. Oh, that Shumovsky Palace looks very interesting too. I once read an old world history book that mentioned about this. Just couldn’t remember the whole story. Your post made me remember snippets of those.

  20. I’ve never contemplated going to Siberia but one of my neighbors is from there and gets so mad when I mention going to Moscow or St. Petersburg. LOL Your post makes it sound (and look) really fantastic. The churches are so gorgeous.

  21. When I hear Siberia I think of cold, loneliness, and a bunch of nothing. I was watching a travel show and saw otherwise. Now reading this and learning about Chita, very cool. The church of Kazan is pretty.

  22. I unquestionably considered visiting Russia. So was intrigued to hear your discovered other extraordinary spots in Russia to visit. Be that as it may, I would most likely just take a gander at visiting Chita in the late spring. I adore the blue church by the railroad station. I was amazed to see the Buddhist Temple, in spite of the fact that I surmise there might be a Tibetan impact.

  23. I’m planning on doing the Trans-Siberian next year and a friend mentioned about a Chita detour. I got curious, but it’s so difficult to find any info on the city. Glad I got here! 🙂

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