Interesting facts about Ulaanbaatar

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Ulaanbaatar, formerly anglicised and still called as Ulan Bator, is the capital and largest city of Mongolia.

The city is located slightly east of the centre of Mongolia on the Tuul River, a sub-tributary of the Selenge, in a valley at the foot of the mountain Bogd Khan Uul.

As of October 2020, the population of Ulaanbaatar is about 1.5 million people.

The city covers a total area of 4,704 square kilometers (1,816 square miles).

The average altitude is 1,350 metres (4,429 feet) above sea level.

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Human habitation at the site of Ulaanbaatar dates from the Lower Paleolithic, with a number of sites on Bogd Khan, Buyant-Ukhaa and Songinokhairkhan mountains, revealing tools which date from 300,000 years ago to 40,000–12,000 years ago. These Upper Paleolithic people hunted mammoth and woolly rhinoceros, the bones of which are found abundantly around Ulaanbaatar.

The city was founded in 1639 as a nomadic Buddhist monastic centre.

It settled permanently at its present location, the junction of the Tuul and Selbe rivers, in 1778.

ulaanbaatar history

In 1911 when Mongolia first proclaimed its independence from China, the city became the capital of Outer Mongolia and was renamed Niislel Khuree (Capital Camp).

In 1918 it was invaded by the Chinese and three years later by the Russians.

When Mongolia was declared a people’s republic in 1924, the city was renamed Ulaanbaatar, which means “Red Hero.”

With Soviet help, a new city was planned, and its central feature was Sühbaatar Square, site of a Neoclassic government building, a history museum, and the national theatre.

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Tragically, the Soviets also destroyed many old Russian buildings as well as Mongolian monasteries and temples.

Today, the city booms with new private construction projects although a comprehensive infrastructure plan has been slow to implement. It has also enjoyed cultural resurgence with lots of museums, galleries, theatre performances and clubs bringing out the best in traditional Mongolian culture.

Sükhbaatar Square is the central square of Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar. The square was named for Mongolian’s revolutionary hero Damdin Sükhbaatar shortly after his death in 1923. The square’s name was changed to Chinggis Square in 2013 in honor of Genghis Khan, considered the founding father of Mongolia, but the original name was restored in 2016. The center of the plaza features an equestrian statue of Damdin Sükhbaatar, while a large colonnade monument dedicated to Genghis Khan, as well as to Ögedei Khan and Kublai Khan, dominates the square’s north face directly in front of the Saaral Ordon.

sükhbaatar square

The National Museum of Mongolia is located in Ulaanbaatar. It characterizes itself as ” a cultural, scientific, and educational organization, which is responsible for the collection, care and interpretation of the objects.” The museum was established in 1924.

national museum of mongolia

The Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan or the Bogd Khan Palace Museum is a museum complex located in Ulan Bataar, Mongolia. It was the Green Palace of the eighth Jebtsundamba Khutughtu, who was later proclaimed Bogd Khan, or ruler of Mongolia. Alongside being the oldest museum, it is also considered as one with the biggest collection in Mongolia. The palace is the only one left from originally four residences of the Bogd Khan.

winter palace of the bogd khan

The Gandantegchinlen Monastery is a Mongolian Buddhist monastery in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar that has been restored and revitalized since 1990. The Tibetan name translates to the “Great Place of Complete Joy”. It currently has over 150 monks in residence. It features a 26.5-meter (87 feet) -high statue of Avalokiteśvara. It came under state protection in 1994.

gandantegchinlen monastery

The Holy Trinity Church also called Trinity Church is a Russian Orthodox church in Ulaanbaatar. In 1860, as a result of the signing of the Convention of Peking, the Russian Empire was granted the right to open a consulate in Urga, the capital of Outer Mongolia. In 1863 the consulate staff with a convoy of twenty Cossacks came to Urga and opened its own building for the consulate that bound directly to the Orthodox Church in honour of the Holy Trinity. On 22 March 1864 it was sent the first priest who offered a religious service. Since 1927, the church had no priest and was closed for religious use since it was used for other purposes. It was demolished in the 1930s. After the Mongolian Revolution of 1990, the local Orthodox church reemerged. In the summer of 2001 the foundation stone of a new temple in honour of the Holy Trinity was laid. Its construction began in 2005 and ended in 2009.

Holy Trinity Church

The Zaisan Memorial is a memorial in the southern area of the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar that honors allied Mongolian and Soviet soldiers killed in World War II. Located on a hill in the southern part of the city, the memorial features a circular memorial painting that depicts scenes of friendship between the people of the USSR and Mongolia.

zaisan memorial

Ulaanbaatar is the centre of Mongolia’s road network and connected by rail to both the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia and the Chinese railway system.

Owing to its high elevation, its relatively high latitude, its location hundreds of kilometres from any coast, and the effects of the Siberian anticyclone, Ulaanbaatar is the coldest national capital in the world.

The city’s official website lists Moscow, Hohhot, Seoul, Sapporo and Denver as sister cities.

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