Siberia was methodically explored by Cossacks during the 17th century. A fortress was built in place of today’s Selenginsk, and then it developed into a town. Thanks to its fortunate placement it became the main military center of Transbaikalia. But its military past isn’t the only glorious period for this town. A.S. Pushkin’s grandfather, general A.P. Gannibal, was here, as were notable Decembrists brothers Mikhail and Nikolay Bestuzhevs and Konstantin Torson. Nikolay Bestuzhev had a son in Novoselenginsk, Alexey Startsev, who later became a millionaire, owner of a few large factories, philanthropist and one of the founders of Vladivostok. Today their house in Novoselenginsk serves as a museum of Decembrists. During the excursion you will be told why their exile here wasn’t exactly hard labor, how Konstantin Torson, a sailor who took part in the discovery of Antarctica, felt during his stay here, and where did a stuffed 100-year old parrot get to the Local History Museum in Kyakhta.