Novoselenginsk is a rural locality (a settlement) in Selenginsky District
Selenginsky District
Selenginsky District is an administrative and municipal district , one of the twenty-one in the Republic of Buryatia, Russia. The area of the district is . Its administrative center is the town of Gusinoozyorsk. District's population: 50,632 ; Population of Gusinoozyorsk accounts for 52.9% of...

 of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, located on the Selenge River south of Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the world's oldest at 30 million years old and deepest lake with an average depth of 744.4 metres.Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the...

. Formerly called simply Selenginsk, it was one of the most important towns in Siberia before 1800.

The modern urban-type settlement
Urban-type settlement
Urban-type settlement ; , selyshche mis'koho typu ) is an official designation for a type of locality used in some of the countries of the former Soviet Union...

 of Selenginsk
Novoselenginsk is a rural locality in Selenginsky District of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia, located on the Selenge River south of Lake Baikal...

, located 115 kilometres (71.5 mi) to the north, is unrelated to this settlement.


The first fortified settlement of the Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 on the Selenge River, Selenginsky ostrog
Ostrog (fortress)
Ostrog was a Russian term for a small fort, typically wooden and often non-permanently manned. Ostrogs were encircled by 4-6 metres high palisade walls made from sharpened trunks. The name derives from the Russian word строгать , "to shave the wood". Ostrogs were smaller and exclusively military...

 was located south of the confluence
Confluence, in geography, describes the meeting of two or more bodies of water.Confluence may also refer to:* Confluence , a property of term rewriting systems...

 of the Chikoy
Chikoy River
Chikoy is a river in Zabaykalsky Krai and the Buryat Republic in Russia, which partially flows along the Russo-Mongolian border. It is a right tributary of the Selenga River. The length of the Chikoy is . The area of its basin is . The river usually freezes over in late October or early November...

 and Selenge Rivers on the Selenge's right bank. The ostrog was founded by Gavril Lovtsov in 1655, and was located about 20 kilometres (12.4 mi) southeast of Lake Gusinoye
Lake Gusinoye
Lake Gusinoye is the name of a body of fresh water in the Republic of Buryatia, Russia. It is located about 120 kilometers from Ulan-Ude, the capital of the republic, and is close to the border with Mongolia. The town of Gusinoozyorsk is located on the northeastern shore of the lake...

 and 85 kilometres (52.8 mi) southeast of Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the world's oldest at 30 million years old and deepest lake with an average depth of 744.4 metres.Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the...

. The Selenge River soon became part of the main Russo-Chinese trade route, which, by boat, led through Siberia to Lake Baikal, up the Selenge, and then by caravan southeast to Peking. Consequently, the ostrog soon grew and became a major administrative center of the Transbaikal
Transbaikal, Trans-Baikal, Transbaikalia , or Dauria is a mountainous region to the east of or "beyond" Lake Baikal in Russia. The alternative name, Dauria, is derived from the ethnonym of the Daur people. It stretches for almost 1000 km from north to south from the Patomskoye Plateau and North...


In 1677-1680, a secondary fort was built downriver at what later became Ulan-Ude
Ulan-Ude is the capital city of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia, located about southeast of Lake Baikal on the Uda River at its confluence with the Selenga...


In 1688, the ostrog was besieged by the Khalkha Mongols for two months, but they had to withdraw when their main territory was attacked by the Western Mongols
Zunghar Khanate
The Zunghar Khanate was a nomadic power on the Eurasian steppe. It covered the area called Dzungaria and stretched from the west end of the Great Wall of China to present-day eastern Kazakhstan, and from present-day northern Kyrgyzstan to southern Siberia .In 1678 Galdan received from the Dalai...

. The Khalkas, who at this time were vassals of the Manchus, attacked because the Russians had taken control of their kinsmen and vassals, the Buryats
The Buryats or Buriyads , numbering approximately 436,000, are the largest ethnic minority group in Siberia and are mainly concentrated in their homeland, the Buryat Republic, a federal subject of Russia...

 and because the Russians were giving asylum to fugitives. The defence was led by Demian Mnohohrishny
Demian Mnohohrishny
Demian Mnohohrishny was the Hetman of Left-bank Ukraine from 1669 to 1672. See The Ruin His surname literally means "of many sins"....

, an exiled Cossack who had previously played an important part in Ukrainian history. He died and was buried here in 1703. Also present was Fyodor Golovin. The Treaty of Nerchinsk
Treaty of Nerchinsk
The Treaty of Nerchinsk of 1689 was the first treaty between Russia and China. The Russians gave up the area north of the Amur River as far as the Stanovoy Mountains and kept the area between the Argun River and Lake Baikal. This border along the Argun River and Stanovoy Mountains lasted until...

 (1689) would have been negotiated here, but Golovin was forced to move east to Nerchinsk
Nerchinsk is a town and the administrative center of Nerchinsky District of Zabaykalsky Krai, Russia, located east of Lake Baikal, east of Chita, and about west of the Chinese border on the left bank of the Nercha River, above its confluence with the Shilka River, which flows into the Amur...

 so that the Manchu ambassadors could avoid the fighting in Mongolia.)

In 1727-1730, Abram Petrovich Gannibal
Abram Petrovich Gannibal
Major-General Abram Petrovich Gannibal, also Hannibal or Ganibal or Ibrahim Hannibal or Abram Petrov , was brought to Russia as a gift for Peter the Great and became major-general, military engineer, governor of Reval and nobleman of the Russian Empire...

, Alexander Pushkin's African great-grandfather, was exiled here after Peter the Great's death. He was involved in shifting the fortress to a new location.

In 1729, it was a center for the negotiation of the Treaty of Kyakhta. This led to the foundation of Kyakhta
Kyakhta is a town in the Republic of Buryatia, Russia, located on the Kyakhta River near the Russian-Mongolian border. Population: The town stands directly opposite the Mongolian border town of Altanbulag.-History:...

 on the Russo-Chinese border upstream which later became a more important town.

By 1745, it was the largest town east of Lake Baikal with 4,000 inhabitants. State caravans ran through here until 1755. Two large fires in 1783 left only fifteen houses and parts of the fort standing. Many merchants moved north to Ulan-Ude where a fair had been established in 1780.

From 1819 Selenginsk was home to Edward Stallybrass
Edward Stallybrass
Edward Stallybrass was a British Congregational missionary to the Buryat people of Siberia. He translated the Bible into Mongolian.-Biography:...

 and his fellow missionaries of the London Missionary Society
London Missionary Society
The London Missionary Society was a non-denominational missionary society formed in England in 1795 by evangelical Anglicans and Nonconformists, largely Congregationalist in outlook, with missions in the islands of the South Pacific and Africa...

, who with the blessing of Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

 sought to bring the Christian gospel to the Buryat people. The mission, which relocated to Khodon in 1828, was eventually suppressed in 1840 by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church under Alexander I's successor, Nicholas I
Nicholas I of Russia
Nicholas I , was the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855, known as one of the most reactionary of the Russian monarchs. On the eve of his death, the Russian Empire reached its historical zenith spanning over 20 million square kilometers...


The site was prone to flooding. Also, while the location between the river and the mountain spurs greatly improved the defensive capabilities of the fort, it also impeded the development of transportation links. In 1840,, after a major fire, the settlement was moved across the river to the left bank. The old site came to be called Stary Selenginsk, or Staroselenginsk, and the new one became known as Novoselenginsk.
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