Ulaanbaatar
Overview
 
Ulan Bator icon or Ulaanbaatar is the capital and largest city of Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

. An independent municipality, the city is not part of any province
Aimags of Mongolia
Mongolia is divided into 21 aimags . Each aimag is subdivided into several sums. The name aimag is derived from the Mongolian and Turkic languages word for "tribe". The modern aimags were established since 1921...

, and its population as of 2008 is over one million.

Located in north central Mongolia, the city lies at an elevation of about 1310 metres (4,297.9 ft) in a valley on the Tuul River
Tuul River
Tuul River is a river in central and northern Mongolia considered sacred by the Mongols. It is 704 km long and drains an area 49,840 square km. The river is called the "Duluo river" in the Suishu, a Chinese historical work completed in 636 AD...

. It is the cultural, industrial, and financial heart of the country. It is the center of Mongolia's road network, and is connected by rail to both the Trans-Siberian Railway
Trans-Siberian Railway
The Trans-Siberian Railway is a network of railways connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East and the Sea of Japan. It is the longest railway in the world...

 in Russia and the Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 railway system.

The city was founded in 1639 as a movable (nomadic) Buddhist
Buddhism in Mongolia
Buddhism in Mongolia derives much of its recent characteristics from Tibetan Buddhism of the Gelugpa school. Traditionally, Mongols worshiped heaven and their ancestors, and they followed ancient northern Asian practices of shamanism, in which human intermediaries went into trance and spoke to...

 monastic
Buddhist monasticism
Monasticism is one of the most fundamental institutions of Buddhism. Monks and nuns are responsible for preserving and teaching Buddhist teachings and guiding Buddhist lay followers. Earlier Buddhist monks were enlightened...

 centre.
Encyclopedia
Ulan Bator icon or Ulaanbaatar is the capital and largest city of Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

. An independent municipality, the city is not part of any province
Aimags of Mongolia
Mongolia is divided into 21 aimags . Each aimag is subdivided into several sums. The name aimag is derived from the Mongolian and Turkic languages word for "tribe". The modern aimags were established since 1921...

, and its population as of 2008 is over one million.

Located in north central Mongolia, the city lies at an elevation of about 1310 metres (4,297.9 ft) in a valley on the Tuul River
Tuul River
Tuul River is a river in central and northern Mongolia considered sacred by the Mongols. It is 704 km long and drains an area 49,840 square km. The river is called the "Duluo river" in the Suishu, a Chinese historical work completed in 636 AD...

. It is the cultural, industrial, and financial heart of the country. It is the center of Mongolia's road network, and is connected by rail to both the Trans-Siberian Railway
Trans-Siberian Railway
The Trans-Siberian Railway is a network of railways connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East and the Sea of Japan. It is the longest railway in the world...

 in Russia and the Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 railway system.

The city was founded in 1639 as a movable (nomadic) Buddhist
Buddhism in Mongolia
Buddhism in Mongolia derives much of its recent characteristics from Tibetan Buddhism of the Gelugpa school. Traditionally, Mongols worshiped heaven and their ancestors, and they followed ancient northern Asian practices of shamanism, in which human intermediaries went into trance and spoke to...

 monastic
Buddhist monasticism
Monasticism is one of the most fundamental institutions of Buddhism. Monks and nuns are responsible for preserving and teaching Buddhist teachings and guiding Buddhist lay followers. Earlier Buddhist monks were enlightened...

 centre. In 1778 it settled permanently at its present location, the junction of the Tuul and Selbe rivers. Before that it changed location twenty-eight times, with each location being chosen ceremonially. In the twentieth century, Ulan Bator grew into a major manufacturing centre.

Names

Ulan Bator has been given numerous names in its history. From 1639 to 1706, it was known as Urga , and from 1706 to 1911 as Kuren (Хүрээ, Xüree, "Camp"), Da-Kuren (Даа Хүрээ, Daa Xüree, from , , "great", translation of , Ix Xüree, "Great Camp"), or Kulun . Upon independence in 1911, with both the secular government and the Bogd Khan
Bogd Khan
The Bogd Khan was enthroned as the Great Khaan of Mongolia on 29 December 1911, when Outer Mongolia declared independence from the Qing Dynasty after the Xinhai Revolution. He was born in the Kham region of eastern Tibet, today's Sichuan province of the People's Republic of China...

's palace present, the city's name changed to Niĭslel Xüree (Нийслэл Хүрээ, "Capital Camp"). It is called Bogdiin Khuree (Богдийн Хүрээ, Bogdiĭn Xüree, "Saint's Camp") in the folk song "Praise of Bogdiin Khuree
Praise of Bogdiin Khuree
Praise of Bogdiin Khuree is a Mongolian folk song praising the city of Urga in Mongolia. The song exists in various versions with differing lyrics, the earliest of which is probably the version of Dash Khuurch published in Ts.Jamtsarano's "Obraztsy mongol'skoi narodnoi literatury", 1908,...

".

When the city became the capital of the new Mongolian People's Republic in 1924, its name was changed to Ulan Bator (Улаанбаатар, Ulaanbaatar, classical Mongolian
Mongolian script
The classical Mongolian script , also known as Uyghurjin, was the first writing system created specifically for the Mongolian language, and was the most successful until the introduction of Cyrillic in 1946...

 , literally "Red Hero") in honor of Mongolia's national hero Damdin Sükhbaatar, whose warriors, shoulder-to-shoulder with the Soviet Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

, liberated Mongolia from Roman Ungern von Sternberg
Roman Ungern von Sternberg
Baron Roman Nikolai Maximilian von Ungern-Sternberg was a Russian Yesaul , Lieutenant-general, and a hero of World War I...

's troops and Chinese occupation. His statue still adorns Ulan Bator's central square.

In Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, Ulan Bator generally continued to be known as Urga or sometimes Kuren (or Kulun) till 1924, and Ulan Bator afterwards (a spelling derived from , Ulan-Bator). The Russian spelling is different from the Mongolian because it was defined phonetically, and the Cyrillic script was only introduced in Mongolia seventeen years later. By Mongols, the city was nicknamed Aziĭn Cagaan Dagina (Азийн Цагаан Дагина, "White Fairy [Dakini
Dakini
A dakini is a tantric deity described as a female embodiment of enlightened energy. In the Tibetan language, dakini is rendered khandroma which means 'she who traverses the sky' or 'she who moves in space'. Sometimes the term is translated poetically as 'sky dancer' or 'sky walker'. The dakini, in...

] of Asia") in the late 20th century. In Mongolian it is now sometimes sarcastically called Utaanbaatar (Утаанбаатар, "Smog Hero") due to the heavy layer of smog
Smog
Smog is a type of air pollution; the word "smog" is a portmanteau of smoke and fog. Modern smog is a type of air pollution derived from vehicular emission from internal combustion engines and industrial fumes that react in the atmosphere with sunlight to form secondary pollutants that also combine...

 in winter.

Pre-1778 settlements

Human habitation at the site of Ulan Bator dates from the Lower Paleolithic
Lower Paleolithic
The Lower Paleolithic is the earliest subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. It spans the time from around 2.5 million years ago when the first evidence of craft and use of stone tools by hominids appears in the current archaeological record, until around 300,000 years ago, spanning the...

. Alexey Okladnikov's archeological work in 1949 and 1960 revealed many Paleolithic sites on Mt. Bogd Khan Uul, Buyant-Ukhaa and Mt. Songinokhairkhan. In 1962 various Paleolithic tools were discovered at Mt. Songinokhairkhan as well as Buyant-Ukhaa (23 stone tools) that scholars date from 300.000 years ago to 40.000-12.000 years ago. Okladnikov also revealed an Upper Paleolithic
Upper Paleolithic
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. Very broadly it dates to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, roughly coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of...

 (40.000-12.000 years ago) site on the south-east base of the Zaisan Hill north of Mt. Bogd Khan Uul. Byambyn Rinchen
Byambyn Rinchen
Yünsiyebü Byambyn Rinchen was one of the founders of modern Mongolian literature, a translator of literature and a scientist in various areas of Mongolian studies, especially linguistics.- Descent :Like Dashdorjiin Natsagdorj, he was a direct descendant of Genghis Khan on both his...

 mentions it as an inspiration for his prehistoric novel Zaan Zaluudai. The lower strata of this bistratified settlement located at the present-day Zaisan Memorial
Zaisan Memorial
The Zaisan Memorial is a memorial south of the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar that honors Soviet soldiers killed in World War II. Located on a hill south of the city, the memorial features a circular memorial painting that depicts scenes of friendship between the peoples of the USSR and Mongolia...

 revealed tools and materials fashioned according to the Levallois technique
Levallois technique
The Levallois technique is a name given by archaeologists to a distinctive type of stone knapping developed by precursors to modern humans during the Palaeolithic period....

. These Upper Paleolithic people hunted mammoth
Mammoth
A mammoth is any species of the extinct genus Mammuthus. These proboscideans are members of Elephantidae, the family of elephants and mammoths, and close relatives of modern elephants. They were often equipped with long curved tusks and, in northern species, a covering of long hair...

 and wooly rhinoceros, the bones of which are found abundantly around Ulan Bator.

Red ochre rock paintings from the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 (3000 years ago) are to be found at Ikh Tenger Gorge on the north side of Mt. Bogd Khan Uul facing the city. The paintings show human figures, horses, eagles and abstract designs like horizontal lines and large squares with over a hundred dots within them. The same style of painting from the same era is found very close to the west of the city at Gachuurt, as well as in Khovsgol Aimag and southern Siberia, indicating a common South Siberian nomadic pastoral culture. Mt. Bogd Khan Uul was probably an important religious cult location for these people.

To the north of Ulan Bator there are the vast Noin-Ula Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

 royal tombs which are over 2000 years old. A Xiongnu tomb has been found in Chingeltei district. The Xiongnu tombs of Belkh Gorge near Dambadarjaalin monastery are under city protection. Located on the banks of the sacred Tuul River
Tuul River
Tuul River is a river in central and northern Mongolia considered sacred by the Mongols. It is 704 km long and drains an area 49,840 square km. The river is called the "Duluo river" in the Suishu, a Chinese historical work completed in 636 AD...

 ("Khatun
Khatun
Khatun is a female title of nobility and alternative to male "khan" prominently used in the First Turkic Empire and in the subsequent Mongol Empire...

 Tuul" or Queen Tuul in legend), the area of Ulan Bator was well within the sphere of nomadic empires such as the Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

 (209BC-93AD), Xianbei
Xianbei
The Xianbei were a significant Mongolic nomadic people residing in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia and eastern Mongolia. The title “Khan” was first used among the Xianbei.-Origins:...

 (93AD-4th century), Rouran
Rouran
Rouran , Mongolia name Jujan or Nirun Ruanruan/Ruru , Tan Tan , Juan-Juan or Zhu-Zhuwas the name of a confederation of nomadic tribes on the northern borders of Inner China from the late 4th century until the middle 6th century...

 (402-555), Gokturk (555-745), Uighur (745-840), Khitan
Khitan people
thumb|250px|Khitans [[Eagle hunting|using eagles to hunt]], painted during the Chinese [[Song Dynasty]].The Khitan people , or Khitai, Kitan, or Kidan, were a nomadic Mongolic people, originally located at Mongolia and Manchuria from the 4th century...

 (907-1125) and Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 (1206–1368). At Nalaikh District there is the important Stele of Tonyukuk
Tonyukuk
Tonyukuk Tonyukuk Tonyukuk (Old Turkic: , Bilge Tuňuquq, died c. 724 AD, (暾欲穀/暾欲谷, Pinyin: tūnyùgǔ, personal name: Ashide Yuanzhen 阿史德元珍, āshǐdé yuánzhēn, a-shih-te yüan-chen) was the yabgu and commander-in-chief of four Göktürk khagans, the best known of whom is Bilge Khan. He played a major role...

 (c. 697 AD) inscribed with Turkic Rune script. The inscription is lengthy and it is worth noting that here one can find mentions of a people called "Khitans" who were a Mongolic speaking people of the east. A balbal or ancient human statue was chosen as the ceremonial foundation site (Shav) of the city when it settled in 1778 at its current location. Now a modern stone turtle sits atop the spot of the ancient balbal near Sukhbaatar Square
Sükhbaatar Square
Sükhbaatar Square is the central square of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It is named after and features a statue of Damdin Sükhbaatar, leader of Mongolia's 1921 revolution...

 in the city center.

Wang Khan
Wang Khan
Wang Khan, also Ong Khan, was the title given to the Kerait ruler Toghrul by the Jurchen Jin Dynasty of China. Like the rest of their tribe he may have been Nestorian Christian...

 Toghrul of the Kerait
Kerait
The Kereit tribe was one of the five major tribal confederations in Mongolian plateau in the 12th century, and dominant in the area and, as allies of Genghis Khan, influential in the rise of the Mongol Empire...

, a Nestorian Christian monarch who was identified as the legendary Prester John
Prester John
The legends of Prester John were popular in Europe from the 12th through the 17th centuries, and told of a Christian patriarch and king said to rule over a Christian nation lost amidst the Muslims and pagans in the Orient. Written accounts of this kingdom are variegated collections of medieval...

 by Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

, is said to have had his palace here (the Black Forest of the Tuul River) and forbade hunting in the holy mountain Bogd Uul. The ruins of his palace (15x27 metres with a gate facing south) was found in Songinokhairkhan District in 1949 and excavated by D.Navaan in 2006. This brick palace influenced by Chinese architecture, later also called the Third Palace of Genghis Khan or Yesui Khatun
Khatun
Khatun is a female title of nobility and alternative to male "khan" prominently used in the First Turkic Empire and in the subsequent Mongol Empire...

's palace, is where Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

 stayed with Yesui Khatun before attacking the Tangut. Japanese and Koreans made special programs about this palace where many important events of Genghis Khan's life took place. In 1984 a rich 13th century tomb of a 50-60 year old, 175 cm tall warrior with an ornate golden belt was excavated at Dadart Uul of Mt.Songinokhairkhan. A simple 13th century rock painting of a Mongolian woman with distinct Mongolian headdress can be seen on the north side of Mt Bogd Khan Uul. Abtai Sain Khan is said to have worshipped the mountain in the 16th century as well. The Manchu envoy Toulischen wrote an account of his travels through this region in 1712, describing how his party rested and fished ten to twenty salmon and pike in the river "Tu-la" while one Ko-tcha-eur-too killed a deer with a gun in the "Han-shan" (i.e., Khan Uul). He also describes the "rich and luxuriant" nature around the "Sung-kee-na" mountains (i.e., Mount Songino Khairkhan).

Mobile monastery

Founded in 1639 as a yurt
Yurt
A yurt is a portable, bent wood-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by Turkic nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises a crown or compression wheel usually steam bent, supported by roof ribs which are bent down at the end where they meet the lattice wall...

 monastery, Ulan Bator, then Örgöö (palace-yurt
Yurt
A yurt is a portable, bent wood-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by Turkic nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises a crown or compression wheel usually steam bent, supported by roof ribs which are bent down at the end where they meet the lattice wall...

), was first located at the lake Shireet Tsagaan nuur in what is now Övörkhangai, around 250 km from the present site of Ulan Bator, and was mainly intended to be the seat of the first Jebtsundamba Khutughtu, Zanabazar.

As a mobile monastery-town, it was often moved to various places along the Selenge
Selenga
The Selenge is a major river in Mongolia and Buryatia, Russia. Its source rivers are the Ider River and the Delgermörön river. It flows into Lake Baikal and has a length of 616 miles...

, Orkhon and Tuul
Tuul River
Tuul River is a river in central and northern Mongolia considered sacred by the Mongols. It is 704 km long and drains an area 49,840 square km. The river is called the "Duluo river" in the Suishu, a Chinese historical work completed in 636 AD...

 rivers, as supply and other needs would demand. During the Dzungar wars of the late 17th century, it was even moved to Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the northern region of the country. Inner Mongolia shares an international border with the countries of Mongolia and the Russian Federation...

. As the city grew, it moved less and less. In 1778, the city settled for good at its current location, near the confluence of the Selbe and Tuul rivers and beneath Bogd Khan Uul
Bogd Khan Uul
The Bogd Khan Mountain is a mountain in Mongolia that overlooks the nation's capital, Ulaanbaatar, from a height of 3000 feet above and to the south of the city.- World Heritage Status :...

, back then also on the caravan route from Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 to Kyakhta
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:...

. Based on Yundendorji's petition the Qianlong emperor had officially recognized an annual ceremony on Mt. Bogd Khan Uul in 1778 and provided the annual imperial donations. The city became the seat not only of the Jebtsundamba Khutugtus, but also of two Qing
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 amban
Amban
Amban is a Manchu word meaning "high official," which corresponds to a number of different official titles in the Qing imperial government...

s, and a Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 trade town grew "four trees" or 4.24 kilometers east of the city center. A pair of highly ornate 11 metre tall inscribed columns remaining from the Guanyin Temple in the former Maimaicheng district is now under national protection. Since 1778 Urga may have had around 10,000 monks. They were regulated by a monastic rule called the Internal Rule of the Grand Monastery or Yeke Kuriyen-u Doto'adu Durem (for example, in 1797 or the second year of Jiaqing a decree of the 4th Jebtsundamba
Jebtsundamba
The Khalkha Jebtsundamba Khutuktus were the spiritual heads of the Gelug lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in Mongolia. They also held the title of Bogd Gegeen, making them the top-ranked lamas in Mongolia.- History :...

 forbade "singing, playing with archery, myagman, chess, usury and smoking"). Urga was visited by many foreign envoys and travelers, including Egor Fedorovich Timkovskii (1820), N.M.Przhevalsky, Pyotr Kozlov
Pyotr Kozlov
Pyotr Kuzmich Kozlov was a Russian and Soviet traveler and explorer who continued the studies of Nikolai Przhevalsky in Mongolia and Tibet.Although prepared by his parents for military career, Kozlov chose to join Przhevalsky's expedition. After his mentor's death, Kozlov continued travelling in...

, M. De Bourbolon (1860) and A.M.Pozdneev. The Russian embassy of 130 persons which arrived in Urga in January 1806 included Count Yury Golovkin, Count Jan Potocki
Jan Potocki
Count Jan Nepomucen Potocki was a Polish nobleman, Polish Army Captain of Engineers, ethnologist, Egyptologist, linguist, traveler, adventurer and popular author of the Enlightenment period, whose life and exploits made him a legendary figure in his homeland...

, Julius Klaproth
Julius Klaproth
Julius Heinrich Klaproth , German linguist, historian, ethnographer, author, Orientalist and explorer. As a scholar, he is credited along with Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat, with being instrumental in turning East Asian Studies into scientific disciplines with critical methods.-Chronology:Klaproth was...

 and Andrey Yefimovich Martynov
Andrey Yefimovich Martynov
Andrey Yefimovich Martynov was a Russian painter and engraver.Born in St. Petersburg to the family of a sergeant in the Preobrazhensky Guards regiment, Martynov graduated from the St Petersburg Academy of Art in 1788. In St. Petersburg Martynov studied landscape painting under Semion Shchedrin...

. In 1863 the Russian Consulate of Urga was opened in a newly built two-storey building. A small onion-domed Chapel of the Holy Trinity was opened the same year.

Revolutions of 1911 and 1921 and Communist era

By the early 20th century, Ikh Khüree had a population of 25,000, of whom some 10,000 were Buddhist monks or monastery workers. In 1911, with the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 in China headed for total collapse, Mongolian leaders in Ikh Khüree for Naadam
Naadam
Naadam is a traditional type of festival in Mongolia. The festival is also locally termed "eriin gurvan naadam" "the three games of men". The games are Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery and are held throughout the country during the midsummer holidays...

 met in secret and resolved to end more than 200 years of Manchu
Manchu
The Manchu people or Man are an ethnic minority of China who originated in Manchuria . During their rise in the 17th century, with the help of the Ming dynasty rebels , they came to power in China and founded the Qing Dynasty, which ruled China until the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, which...

 control of their country. On December 29, 1911 the 8th Jeptsundamba Khutughtu
Bogd Khan
The Bogd Khan was enthroned as the Great Khaan of Mongolia on 29 December 1911, when Outer Mongolia declared independence from the Qing Dynasty after the Xinhai Revolution. He was born in the Kham region of eastern Tibet, today's Sichuan province of the People's Republic of China...

 was declared ruler of an independent Mongolia and assumed the title Bogd Khan. Khüree as the seat of the Jebtsundamba Khutugtu was the logical choice for the capital of the new state. However, in the tripartite Kyakhta agreement of 1915 (between Russia, China, Mongolia), Mongolia's status was changed to mere autonomy. In 1919, Mongolian nobles, over the opposition of the Bogd Khan, agreed with the Chinese resident Chen Yi on a settlement of the "Mongolian question" along Qing-era lines, but before this settlement could be put into effect, Khüree was occupied by the troops of Chinese warlord Xu Shuzheng
Xu Shuzheng
Hsu Seu-Cheng or Xu Shuzheng , was a Chinese warlord in Republican China. A subordinate and right-hand man of Duan Qirui, he was a prominent member of the Anhui Clique....

, who forced the Mongolian nobles and clergy to renounce autonomy completely.

In 1921 the city changed hands twice. First, in February 1921, a mixed Russian/Mongolian force led by White Russian
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 warlord Baron Ungern von Sternberg
Roman Ungern von Sternberg
Baron Roman Nikolai Maximilian von Ungern-Sternberg was a Russian Yesaul , Lieutenant-general, and a hero of World War I...

 captured the city, freeing the Bogd Khan
Bogd Khan
The Bogd Khan was enthroned as the Great Khaan of Mongolia on 29 December 1911, when Outer Mongolia declared independence from the Qing Dynasty after the Xinhai Revolution. He was born in the Kham region of eastern Tibet, today's Sichuan province of the People's Republic of China...

 from Chinese imprisonment and killing most of the Chinese garrison. Baron Ungern's capture of Urga was followed by a spree of looting and murder (not much better than what the Chinese had engaged in before they lost the city) and the massacre of Urga's small Jewish community. On February 22, 1921 the Bogd Khan was once again crowned Khan of Mongolia in Urga. However, at the same time Baron Ungern was taking control of Urga, a Soviet-supported Communist Mongolian force led by Damdin Sükhbaatar was forming up in Russia, and in March they crossed the border. Ungern and his men rode out in May to meet them but suffered a disastrous defeat in June. In July the Communist Russo-Mongolian army became the second conquering force in six months to enter Urga. On October 29, 1924 the town was renamed to Ulan Bator ("red hero") as reference to Sükhbaatar, who had died the year before.

In the socialist period, and especially following the Second World War, most of the old yurt quarter
Yurt quarter
A yurt quarter or ger quarter is a form of residential quarter in Mongolian settlements. They usually consist of parcels with one or more detached houses or yurts , surrounded by two-metre high wooden fences....

s were replaced by Soviet-style blocks of flats
Ugsarmal bair
Ugsarmal bair , or just Ugsarmal is the Mongolian term for high rise panel buildings. Most of these buildings were built in the 1970s and 1980s with Soviet funding and Soviet designs, in order to supply a greater share of Mongolia's population with flats equipped with modern amenities...

, often financed by the Soviet Union. Urban planning
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

 began in the 1950s, and most of the city today is the result of construction from 1960 to 1985. The Transmongolian Railway, connecting Ulan Bator with Moscow and Beijing, was completed in 1956, and cinemas, theatres, museums etc. were erected. On the other hand, many of the temples and monasteries of pre-socialist Khüree were destroyed following the anti-religious purges
Stalinist purges in Mongolia
The Stalinist repressions in Mongolia had their climax between 1937 and 1939 , under the leadership of Khorloogiin Choibalsan. The purges affected the whole country, although the main focus was on upper party and government ranks, the army, and especially the Buddhist clergy. One very common...

 of the late 1930s.

Democratic protests of 1989-1990

Ulan Bator was the site of demonstrations that led to Mongolia's transition to democracy and market economy in 1990
1990 Democratic Revolution in Mongolia
The 1990 Peaceful Democratic Revolution in Mongolia was a democratic revolution that started with hunger strikes to overthrow the Mongolian People's Republic and eventually moved towards the democratic present day Mongolia and the writing of the new constitution. It was spearheaded by mostly...

. On December 10, 1989, protesters outside the Youth Culture Centre called for Mongolia to implement perestroika
Perestroika
Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev...

 and glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

 in their full sense. Dissident leaders demanded free elections and economic reform. On January 14, 1990 the protesters, having grown from two hundred to over a thousand, met at the Lenin Museum in Ulan Bator. A demonstration in Sukhbaatar Square on Jan. 21 followed. Afterwards, weekend demonstrations in January and February were held accompanied by the forming of Mongolia's first opposition parties. On March 7, ten dissidents assembled in Sukhbaatar Square and went on a hunger strike. Thousands of supporters joined them. More came on March 8, and the crowd grew more unruly; seventy people were injured and one killed. On March 9 the communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party
Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party
The Mongolian People's Party formerly the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party is an ex-communist political party in Mongolia. The party is abbreviated MPP in English and ' in Mongolian...

 government resigned. The provisional government announced Mongolia's first free elections, which were held in July. The MPRP
Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party
The Mongolian People's Party formerly the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party is an ex-communist political party in Mongolia. The party is abbreviated MPP in English and ' in Mongolian...

 won the election and resumed power.

Since Mongolia's transition to a market economy in 1990, the city has experienced further growth - especially in the yurt quarters, as construction of new blocks of flats had basically broken down in the 1990s. The population has more than doubled to over one million inhabitants, about 50% of Mongolia's entire population. This causes a number of social, environmental, and transportation problems. In recent years, construction of new buildings has gained new momentum, especially in the city center, and apartment prices have skyrocketed.

2008 protests

In 2008, Ulan Bator was the scene of riots after the Mongolian Democratic
Democratic Party (Mongolia)
The Democratic Party is a conservative liberal and libertarian political party in Mongolia. Its primary goals are the continued transformation of Mongolia into an open and democratic society.- History :...

, Civic Will Party and Republican
Republican Party (Mongolia)
The Mongolian Republican Party , also known as Jargalsaikhan's Party , is a political party in Mongolia.In Mongolia's 2004 legislative elections, the party won one of the 76 seat in the State Great Khural, but it failed to win any seats in the most recent elections, on June 29th, 2008.-External...

 parties disputed the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party
Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party
The Mongolian People's Party formerly the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party is an ex-communist political party in Mongolia. The party is abbreviated MPP in English and ' in Mongolian...

's victory in the parliamentary elections
Mongolian legislative election, 2008
A legislative election in Mongolia was held on June 29, 2008. A total of 356 candidates were running for 76 seats in the State Great Khural. According to official results published on July 14, at least 39 seats went to the ruling Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party , and at least 25 seats went...

. Approximately 30,000 people took part in a public meeting led by the opposition parties. After the meeting was over some protestors left the central square and moved on to the nearby headquarters of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, attacking and burning the building. A police station was also attacked. At night rioters set fire to the Cultural Palace, where a theatre, museum and National art gallery were vandalised and burned. Torched cars, bank robberies and looting were reported. The organisations in the burning buildings were vandalised and looted. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons against stone-throwing protestors. A four-day state of emergency was declared, the capital was placed under a 22:00 to 08:00 curfew, and alcohol sales banned, following which measures rioting did not resume. Five people were killed and hundreds arrested by the police during the suppression of the riots. Human rights groups expressed concerns about the handling of this unprecedented incident by the authorities.

Geography and climate

Ulan Bator is located at about 1350 metres (4,429.1 ft) above mean sea level, slightly east of the centre of Mongolia on the Tuul River
Tuul River
Tuul River is a river in central and northern Mongolia considered sacred by the Mongols. It is 704 km long and drains an area 49,840 square km. The river is called the "Duluo river" in the Suishu, a Chinese historical work completed in 636 AD...

, a subtributary
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 of the Selenge
Selenga
The Selenge is a major river in Mongolia and Buryatia, Russia. Its source rivers are the Ider River and the Delgermörön river. It flows into Lake Baikal and has a length of 616 miles...

, in a valley at the foot of the mountain Bogd Khan Uul
Bogd Khan Uul
The Bogd Khan Mountain is a mountain in Mongolia that overlooks the nation's capital, Ulaanbaatar, from a height of 3000 feet above and to the south of the city.- World Heritage Status :...

. Ulan Bator is noted for its extreme isolation.

Due to its high elevation, relatively high latitude location hundreds of kilometres from any coast, and the effects of the Siberian anticyclone, Ulan Bator is the coldest national capital in the world, with a monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

-influenced, cold semi-arid climate (Köppen
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 BSk) that closely borders a subarctic climate
Subarctic climate
The subarctic climate is a climate characterized by long, usually very cold winters, and short, cool to mild summers. It is found on large landmasses, away from the moderating effects of an ocean, generally at latitudes from 50° to 70°N poleward of the humid continental climates...

. The city features brief, warm summers and long, bitterly cold and dry winters. Most of the annual precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

 of 216 millimetres (8.5 in) falls from June to September. It has an average annual temperature of -2.4 °C. The city lies in the zone of discontinuous permafrost, which means that building is difficult in sheltered aspects that preclude thawing in the summer, but easier on more exposed ones where soils fully thaw. Suburban residents live in traditional yurts that do not protrude into the soil.

Panoramas

Administration and subdivisions

Ulan Bator is divided into nine districts (Düüreg
Düüreg
A düüreg is a municipal district in the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar. Each of the nine düüregs is subdivided into khoroos.Each düüreg also serves as a constituency that elects one or more representatives into the State Great Khural, the national parliament.Although administratively part of...

s): Baganuur
Baganuur
Baganuur is one of nine düüregs of the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. It is subdivided into four khoroos .Baganuur is actually a separate city, located as an exclave of 620 km² at the border between the Töv and Khentii aimags. It was created as a Soviet military base.Later Soviet Union...

, Bagakhangai
Bagakhangai
Bagakhangai is one of nine düüregs of the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator. It is subdivided into two khoroos , Ondor Tolgoi khoroo and Bagakhangai khoroo....

, Bayangol, Bayanzürkh
Bayanzürkh
Bayanzürkh is one of nine Düüregs of the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. It is subdivided into 20 Khoroos .It is the largest district in the capital and lies in the southeast of the city. It was established in 1965. In 2006 it had an approximate population of 184,690 in 44,138 households...

, Chingeltei
Chingeltei
Chingeltei is one of nine Düüregs of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar. It is subdivided into 18 Khoroos .Chingeltei is located in the north, at the foot of one of the four mountains of Ulaanbaatar, the Chingeltei Uul....

, Khan Uul
Khan Uul
Khan Uul is one of nine Düüregs of the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. It is subdivided into 14 Khoroos .Khan Uul is located in the south, at the foot of one of the four mountains of Ulaanbaatar, the Bogd Khan Uul....

, Nalaikh
Nalaikh
Nalaikh is one of nine Düüregs of the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. It is subdivided into 6 Khoroos .Other than most other düüregs, Nalaikh is technically a separate city, but still under the common administration of the capital....

, Songino Khairkhan
Songino Khairkhan
Songino Khairkhan is one of nine Düüregs of the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar. It is subdivided into 21 Khoroos ....

, and Sükhbaatar
Sükhbaatar (district)
Sükhbaatar is one of nine Düüregs of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar. It is subdivided into 18 Khoroos . The district was established in 1965 and named after Damdin Sükhbaatar, a Mongolian military leader and revolutionary hero. As of 2004, it had an approximate population of 112,533 in 24,568...

. Each district is subdivided into Khoroo
Khoroo
A khoroo is an administrative subdivision of Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. The term is often translated as subdistrict or microdistrict, although the latter might lead to confusion with khoroolols. A khoroo is below the level of a düüreg .There were 121 khoroo until 2007, when the number...

s, of which there are 121.

The capital is governed by a city council (the Citizen's Representatives Hural) with forty members, elected every four years. The city council appoints the mayor. When his predecessor became prime minister in January 2006, former city manager Gombosuren Monkhbayar was elected mayor. Ulan Bator is governed as an independent first-level region, separate from the surrounding Töv Aimag
Töv Province
Töv is one of the 21 aimags of Mongolia. The national capital Ulaanbaatar is located roughly at its center, but the city itself is administrated as an independent municipality.- Geography :...

.

The city consists of a central district built in Soviet 1940s and 1950s-style architecture, surrounded by and mingled with residential concrete towerblocks and large yurt quarters. In recent years, many of the towerblock's ground floors have been modified and upgraded to small shops, and many new buildings have been erected, some of them illegally (some private companies erect buildings without the legal licenses or in forbidden places).

Sights

Ulan Bator has not seen any war-related destruction except the February 1921 Battle of Urga in which Baron Ungern von Sternberg defeated the 10,000 strong Chinese garrison (who had themselves occupied Urga without a battle). During the Battle of Urga it was mainly the outskirts of the city that suffered damage on the large part due to fires. It was instead Prime Minister Choibalsan's harsh policies in 1937 that led to the destruction of entire sections of the city. The Zuun khuree central palace-temple complex, the nobles' residences, many ger districts as well as the main markets were completely destroyed to make way for more modern buildings. Therefore few buildings survive from before 1937.

Pre-1937 buildings that survive include: Dambadarjaalin monastery in Sukhbaatar District (1765), Dashchoilin monastery's large yurt chapels (built in 1778), Gandan monastery's golden-roofed Gandantegchinlen temple also called the Tsogchin dugan (1838), Vajradhara temple (1841), Zuu temple (1869), Didan Laviran temple (19th century), the restored Russian Consulate building (1863), Erdem Itgemjit temple (1893) at the Bogd Khan's Winter Palace, rest of the buildings at the same Palace (1893–1906), the Museum of Ulaanbaatar's History which was formerly the private residence of the rich Buryat merchant Tsogt Badamjav (1904), Zanabazar's Art Museum building which was formerly called the Ondor Khorshoo (1905), the two-storey brick headquarters of the mining company "Mongolore" (1905), the tall Megjid Janraisig temple (1913–1914), the residence of Chin Wang Khanddorj, a prominent noble and politician in the early years of Mongolia's independence (1913), the first telephone building where Russian Orthodox choir singers stayed (1914), Marshal Zhukov
Georgy Zhukov
Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov , was a Russian career officer in the Red Army who, in the course of World War II, played a pivotal role in leading the Red Army through much of Eastern Europe to liberate the Soviet Union and other nations from the Axis Powers' occupation...

 Museum etc. The building of the Teacher's College was originally the government headquarters and dates from 1930. Prime Minister Genden's residence was built in 1930.




Monasteries

Among the notable older monasteries is the Choijin Lama Monastery
Choijin Lama Monastery
The Choijin Lama Temple is a Buddhist monastery in Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia.Actually a group of four temples originally occupied by the Choijin Lama Luvsankhaidav, the brother of the ruler Bogd Khan, who was the state oracle at the same time. The complex was begun in 1904 and completed...

, a Buddhist monastery that was completed in 1908. It escaped the destruction of Mongolian monasteries when it was turned into a museum in 1942. Another is the Gandan Monastery, which dates to the 19th century. Its most famous attraction is a 26.5-meter-high golden statue of Migjid Janraisig
Avalokitesvara
Avalokiteśvara is a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. He is one of the more widely revered bodhisattvas in mainstream Mahayana Buddhism....

. These monasteries are among the very few in Mongolia to escape the wholesale destruction of Mongolian monasteries under Khorloogiin Choibalsan.

Winter Palace

Old Ikh Khüree, once the city was set up as a permanent capital, had a number of palaces and noble residences in an area called Öndgiin sürgiin nutag. The Jebtsundamba Khutughtu, who was later crowned Bogd Khan
Bogd Khan
The Bogd Khan was enthroned as the Great Khaan of Mongolia on 29 December 1911, when Outer Mongolia declared independence from the Qing Dynasty after the Xinhai Revolution. He was born in the Kham region of eastern Tibet, today's Sichuan province of the People's Republic of China...

, had four main imperial residences, which were located between the Middle (Dund gol) and Tuul rivers. The summer palace was called Erdmiin dalai buyan chuulgan süm or Bogd khaanii serüün ord. Other palaces were the White palace (Tsagaan süm or Gьngaa dejidlin), and the Pandelin palace (also called Naro Kha Chod
Narodakini
Nãrodãkinĩ is a Tibetan deity similar to Vajrayogini , which no longer appears in the active Tantric pantheon, despite its importance in late Indian Buddhism. In the Sadhanamala, a sacred text, she is said to be a transformation/emanation of Vajrayogini...

 süm
), which was situated in the left bank of Tuul River. Some of the palaces were also used for religious purposes. The only palace that remains is the winter palace. The Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan
Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan
The Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan is located in southern Ulan Bator, on the road to Zaisan. It is now a museum. The palace is the only one left from originally four residences of the eighth Jebtsundamba Khutughtu, who was later proclaimed Bogd Khan, or emperor of Mongolia.The complex includes six...

 (Bogd khaanii nogoon süm or Bogd khaanii öwliin ordon) remains as a museum of the last monarch. The complex includes six temples, many of the Bogd Khan's and his wife's possessions are on display in the main building.

Museums

Ulan Bator has several museums dedicated to Mongolian history and culture. The Natural History Museum features many dinosaur fossils and meteorites found in Mongolia. The National Museum of Mongolian History
National Museum of Mongolian History
National Museum of Mongolian History is one of the national museums of Mongolia located in the capital Ulan Bator. The National Museum of Mongolian History is a cultural, scientific, and educational organization, which is responsible for the collection, care and interpretation of the objects.The...

 includes exhibits from prehistoric times through the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 to the present day. The Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts contains a large collection of Mongolian art, including works of the 17th century sculptor/artist Zanabazar, as well as Mongolia's most famous painting, One Day In Mongolia by B. Sharav
Marzan Sharav
Baldugiin 'Marzan' Sharav , was a Mongolian painter. He is often credited with the introduction of modern painting styles to Mongolia, but his most famous work, One day in Mongolia , is done in a more traditional zurag style. His other well-known work includes portraits of the Bogd Khan and his...

.

Pre-1778 artifacts that never left the city since its founding include the Vajradhara statue made by Zanabazar himself in 1683 (the city's main deity kept at the Vajradhara temple), a highly ornate throne presented to Zanabazar by the Kangxi Emperor (before 1723), a sandalwood hat presented to Zanabazar by the Dalai Lama (c. 1663), Zanabazar's large fur coat which was also presented by the Kangxi Emperor and a great number of original statues made by Zanabazar himself (e.g. the Green Tara).

Puzzle Toys Museum displays a comprehensive collection of complex wooden toys to be assembled by players using sophisticated methods.

Opera house

The Ulaanbaatar Opera House
National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Mongolia
The National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Mongolia opened on 15 May 1963 and made its opening ceremony on 18 May 1963 with Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin....

, situated in the center of the city, hosts concerts and musical performances.

Sukhbaatar Square

Sukhbaatar Square
Sükhbaatar Square
Sükhbaatar Square is the central square of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It is named after and features a statue of Damdin Sükhbaatar, leader of Mongolia's 1921 revolution...

, in the government district, is the center of Ulan Bator. The square is 31,068 square meters in size. In the middle of Sükhbaatar Square, there is a statue of Damdin Sükhbaatar on horseback. The spot was chosen because that was where Sukhbaatar's horse had urinated (a good omen) on July 8, 1921 during a gathering of the Red Army. On the north side of Sükhbaatar Square is the Mongolian Parliament building, featuring a large statue of Chinggis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

 at the top of the front steps. Peace Avenue (Enkh Taivny Urgon Chuloo), the main thoroughfare through town, runs along the south side of the square.

Zaisan Memorial

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

, a memorial to Soviet soldiers killed in World War II, sits on a hill south of the city. The Zaisan Memorial includes a Soviet tank paid for by the Mongolian people and a circular memorial painting which in the socialist realism
Socialist realism
Socialist realism is a style of realistic art which was developed in the Soviet Union and became a dominant style in other communist countries. Socialist realism is a teleologically-oriented style having its purpose the furtherance of the goals of socialism and communism...

 style depicts scenes of friendship between the peoples of Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and Mongolia. Visitors who make the long climb to the top are rewarded with a panoramic view of the whole city down in the valley.

National Sport Stadium

National Sports Stadium
National Sports Stadium (Mongolia)
National Sports Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It is currently used mostly for football matches and has a capacity 20,000. The Naadam festival, which celebrates Mongolian independence, is held there every July....

 is the main sporting venue. The Naadam
Naadam
Naadam is a traditional type of festival in Mongolia. The festival is also locally termed "eriin gurvan naadam" "the three games of men". The games are Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery and are held throughout the country during the midsummer holidays...

 festival is held here every July.

Artificial Lake Castle

Artificial Lake Castle
Artificial Lake Castle
The Artificial Lake Castle was built in 1969, when the National Amusement Park was established in the centre of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar....

 was built in 1969, when the National Amusement Park was established in the centre of the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator.

Surroundings

Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
Gorkhi-Terelj National Park is one of the national parks of Mongolia. The Terelj tourist zone has a number of "tourist camps" . It is connected with Ulan Bator by a paved road...

, a nature preserve with many tourist facilities, is approximately 70 km from Ulan Bator. Accessible via paved road. The 40 meter high Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue
Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue
The Genghis Khan Statue is a 40-metre tall statue of Ghengis Khan on horseback, on the bank of the Tuul River at Tsonjin Boldog , where according to legend, he found a golden whip. The statue is coverered in 250 ton of stainless steel is symbolically pointed south towards China...

, 54 km from Ulan Bator, is the largest equestrian statue in the world.

Embassies and Consulates

Among the countries that have diplomatic facilities in Ulan Bator are Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Russia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.

Symbols

The official symbol of Ulan Bator is the , a mythical bird in both Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 scriptures called Khan
Khan (title)
Khan is an originally Altaic and subsequently Central Asian title for a sovereign or military ruler, widely used by medieval nomadic Turko-Mongol tribes living to the north of China. 'Khan' is also seen as a title in the Xianbei confederation for their chief between 283 and 289...

 Garuda or Khangar'd by Mongols.

Emblem

The appears on Ulan Bator's emblem
Emblem
An emblem is a pictorial image, abstract or representational, that epitomizes a concept — e.g., a moral truth, or an allegory — or that represents a person, such as a king or saint.-Distinction: emblem and symbol:...

. In its right hand is a key, a symbol of prosperity and openness, and in its left is a lotus
Nelumbo
Nelumbo is a genus of aquatic plants with large, showy flowers resembling water lilies, commonly known as lotus. The generic name is derived from the Sinhalese word Nelum. There are only two known living species in the genus. The sacred lotus is native to Asia, and is the better known of the two...

 flower, a symbol of peace, equality, and purity. In its talons it is holding a snake, a symbol of evil of which it is intolerant. On the 's forehead is the soyombo symbol
Soyombo symbol
The Soyombo symbol is a special character out of the Mongolian Soyombo script. It serves as a national symbol of Mongolia, to be found on the Flag of Mongolia, the Coat of arms of Mongolia, and on many other official documents....

, which is featured on the flag of Mongolia
Flag of Mongolia
The current flag of Mongolia was adopted on February 12, 1992. It is similar to the flag of 1949, except for the removal of the socialist star....

.

Education

Ulan Bator has six major universities:
  • National University of Mongolia
    National University of Mongolia
    The National University of Mongolia is the oldest university in Mongolia. It hosts twelve schools and faculties in Ulaanbaatar, and runs branches in the Zavkhan and Orkhon Aimags...

  • Science and Technological University of Mongolia
  • Mongolian State University of Agriculture
    Mongolian State University of Agriculture
    Mongolian State University of Agriculture is a national university of Mongolia, with the main branch situated in the capital of Ulan Bator...

  • Health Science University of Mongolia
  • Mongolian State Pedagogical University
  • Mongolian University of Art and Culture.


Even though relatively small, the Institute of Finance and Economics is popular as a business school in Mongolia.

The National Library of Mongolia
National Library of Mongolia
The Mongolian National Library in Ulan Bator has a collection of about 4 million items including materials in numerous other languages. The collection includes historical materials in Mongolian, Manchu, Tibetan, and Chinese...

 has a wide selection of English-language texts on Mongolian subjects.

The American School of Ulaanbaatar and the International School of Ulaanbaatar
International School of Ulaanbaatar
The International School of Ulaanbaatar, usually referred to as ISU, or Улаанбаатар дахь Олон Улсын Дунд Сургууль, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, is a private, coeducational day school, which offers an educational program from preschool through grade 12 for students of all nationalities...

 both offer Western-style K-12 education in English for Mongolian nationals and foreign residents.

National Library

The National Library of Mongolia
National Library of Mongolia
The Mongolian National Library in Ulan Bator has a collection of about 4 million items including materials in numerous other languages. The collection includes historical materials in Mongolian, Manchu, Tibetan, and Chinese...

 is located in Ulan Bator and includes an extensive historical collection, items in non-Mongolian languages, and a special children's collection.

Public libraries

The Metropolitan Central Library of Ulaanbataar, sometimes also referred to as the Ulan Bator Public Library, is a public library
Public library
A public library is a library that is accessible by the public and is generally funded from public sources and operated by civil servants. There are five fundamental characteristics shared by public libraries...

 with a collection of about 500,000 items. It has an impressive 232,097 annual users and a total of 497,298 loans per year. It does charge users a registration fee of 3800 to 4250 tugrik, or about USD 3.29 to 3.68. The fees may be the result of operating on a budget under $176,000 per year. They also host websites on classical and modern Mongolian literature and food, in addition to providing free Internet access.

In 1986 the Ulan Bator government created a centralized system for all public libraries in the city, known as the Metropolitan Library System of Ulan Bator (MLSU). It is also known by its official name, Dashdorjiin Natsagdorj
Dashdorjiin Natsagdorj
Borjigin Dashdorjiin Natsagdorj , was a Mongolian poet, writer, and playwright, and founder of the Mongolian Writer's Union. He is considered one of the founding fathers of modern Mongolian literature and Mongolia's first "classic Socialist" writer.- Life :...

, who was the founder of modern Mongolian literature. This system coordinates management, acquisitions, finances, and policy among public libraries in the capital, in addition to providing support to school and children's libraries. Other than the Metropolitan Central Library, the MLSU has four branch libraries. They are in the Chingeltei District (established in 1946), in the Han-Uul District (established in 1948), in the Bayanzurkh District (established in 1968), and in the Songino-Hairkhan District (established in 1991). There is also a Children's Central Library, which was established in 1979.

University libraries


  • Library of the Agriculture University

Mobile libraries

There are "nomadic libraries," a variation on mobile libraries
Bookmobile
A bookmobile or mobile library is a large vehicle designed for use as a library. It is designed to hold books on shelves so that when the vehicle is parked the books can be accessed by readers. It usually has enough space for people to sit and read books inside. Mobile libraries are often used to...

, that serve the districts around Ulan Bator. They are funded by the Children's Friendship Center of Japan, and also do health checks and dispense vitamins when they distribute books to rural children.

The Books for Asia program, sponsored by the Asia Foundation, has a mobile library that has traveled over 16,000 kilometers through every Mongolian province to distribute books.

Digital libraries

The International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) is an organization that publishes numerous children's books in different languages on the web in child-friendly formats. In 2006 they began service in Mongolia and have made efforts to provide access to the library in rural areas. The ICDL effort in Mongolia is part of a larger project funded by the World Bank, and administered by the Mongolian Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, called the Rural Education And Development Project (READ). Because Mongolia lacks a publishing industry, and few children's books, the idea has been to “spur the publishing industry to create 200 new children’s books for classroom libraries in grades 1-5.” After these books were published and distributed to teachers they were also published online with the rest of the ICDL collection. While a significant portion of this project is supported by outside sources, an important component is to include training of Mongolian staff in order to make it continue in an effective way. The project is also designed to show Mongolia’s youth that they can take part in the larger digital culture.

The Press Institute in Ulaanbataar oversees the Digital Archive of Mongolian Newspapers. It is a collection of 45 newspaper titles with a particular focus on the years after the fall of communism in Mongolia. The project was supported by the British Library
British Library
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom, and is the world's largest library in terms of total number of items. The library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from every country in the world, in virtually all known languages and in many formats,...

's Endangered Archives Programme.

The Metropolitan Central Library in Ulan Bator maintains a digital Monthly News Archive.

Special libraries

An important resource for academics is the American Center for Mongolian Studies (ACMS), also based in Ulan Bator. Its goal is to facilitate research between Mongolia and the rest of the world and to foster academic partnerships. To help achieve this end, it operates a research library with a reading room and computers for Internet access. ACMS has 1,500 volumes related to Mongolia in numerous languages that may be borrowed with a deposit. It also hosts an online library that includes special reference resources and access to digital databases, including a digital book collection.

There is a Speaking Library at School 116 for the visually impaired. This is a project funded by the Zorig Foundation
Zorig Foundation
The Zorig Foundation is a Mongolian non-profit, non-governmental organization which was established in October 1998 by close friends, collaborators and family members of Zorig Sanjaasuren. Zorig Sanjaasuren was a prominent Mongolian pro-democracy politician who in 1998 became the Minister of...

, and the collection is largely based on materials donated by Mongolian National Radio. “A sizable collection of literature, know-how topics, training materials, music, plays, science broadcasts are now available to the visually impaired at the school.”

The Mongolia-Japan Center for Human Resources Development maintains a library in Ulan Bator consisting of about 7,800 items. The materials in the collection have a strong focus on both aiding Mongolians studying Japanese and books in Japanese about Mongolia. It includes a number of periodicals, textbooks, dictionaries, and audio-visual materials. Access to the collection does require payment of a 500 Tugrug fee, though materials are available for loan. They also provide audio-visual equipment for collection use and internet access for an hourly fee. There is also an information retrieval reference service for questions that cannot be answered by their collection.

Archives

There is a manuscript collection at the Danzan Ravjaa Museum of theological, poetic
Poetic
Poetic may refer to:* Poetry, or a relation thereof.* Too Poetic, a deceased rapper and hip hop producer....

, medicinal, astrological, and theatrical works. It consists of literature written and collected by the monk Danzan Ravjaa, who is famous for his poetry. The British Library's Endangered Archives Programme funded a project to take digital images of unique literature in the collection, however, it is not clear where the images are stored today.

Transport

Interurban and international: Ulan Bator is served by the Chinggis Khaan International Airport
Chinggis Khaan International Airport
Chinggis Khaan International Airport is the international airport serving Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It is 18 km southwest of the capital. It is the largest international air facility in the country...

 (formerly Buyant Ukhaa Airport). It is 18 km southwest of the city. Chinggis Khaan airport is the only airport in Mongolia that offers international flights. Flights to Ulan Bator are available from Tokyo, Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

, Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Irkutsk
Irkutsk
Irkutsk is a city and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, one of the largest cities in Siberia. Population: .-History:In 1652, Ivan Pokhabov built a zimovye near the site of Irkutsk for gold trading and for the collection of fur taxes from the Buryats. In 1661, Yakov Pokhabov...

, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 and Beijing. There are rail connections to the Trans-Siberian railway
Trans-Siberian Railway
The Trans-Siberian Railway is a network of railways connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East and the Sea of Japan. It is the longest railway in the world...

 via Naushki and to the Chinese railway system via Jining
Jining, Inner Mongolia
Jining District is an urban district that serves as the administrative seat of Ulaan Chab, a prefecture-level city in the mid-western part of Inner Mongolia, China. It has an area of approximately 114.2 km² and is in the southern foothills of the Yinshan mountains...

. Ulan Bator is connected by road to most of the major towns in Mongolia, but most roads in Mongolia are unpaved and unmarked and road travel can be difficult. Even within the city, not all roads are paved and some of the ones that are paved are not in good condition.

Intra-urban: The national and municipal governments regulate a wide system of private transit providers which operate numerous bus lines around the city. There is also a Ulan Bator trolleybus system
Trolleybuses in Ulan Bator
The Ulan Bator trolleybus system forms part of the public transport network in Ulan Bator, the capital city of Mongolia. It is Mongolia's only trolleybus system.-History:...

. A secondary transit system of privately owned microbuses (passenger vans) operates alongside these bus lines. Additionally, Ulan Bator has over 4000 taxis. The capital has 418.2 km of road, of which 76.5 are paved.

Sister cities

According to the city's official website: Adana
Adana
Adana is a city in southern Turkey and a major agricultural and commercial center. The city is situated on the Seyhan River, 30 kilometres inland from the Mediterranean, in south-central Anatolia...

, Turkey Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

, South Korea (1995) Irkutsk
Irkutsk
Irkutsk is a city and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, one of the largest cities in Siberia. Population: .-History:In 1652, Ivan Pokhabov built a zimovye near the site of Irkutsk for gold trading and for the collection of fur taxes from the Buryats. In 1661, Yakov Pokhabov...

, Russia Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Russia Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, Russia Ulan Ude, Russia Denver, United States Bangkok
Bangkok
Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...

, Thailand Sapporo, Japan Taipei
Taipei
Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River, and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean...

, Republic of China (Taiwan) Hohhot
Hohhot
Hohhot , is a city in north-central China and the capital of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, serving as the region's administrative, economic, and cultural centre....

, Inner Mongolia, People's Republic of China San Francisco, United States Bonn
Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

, Germany Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

, Vietnam Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, Japan Gold Coast
Gold Coast, Queensland
Gold Coast is a coastal city of Australia located in South East Queensland, 94km south of the state capital Brisbane. With a population approximately 540,000 in 2010, it is the second most populous city in the state, the sixth most populous city in the country, and also the most populous...

, Australia Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

, India Leeds
Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

, United Kingdom Most
Most
Most is the capital city of the Most District, situated between the Czech Central Mountains and the Ore Mountains, approximately northwest of Prague along the Bílina River and southwest of Ústí nad Labem.-Etymology:...

, Czech Republic Colombo
Colombo
Colombo is the largest city of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is often referred to as the capital of the country, since Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is a satellite city of Colombo...

, Sri Lanka From 2012-2016

Notable individuals

  1. Asashoryu
    Asashōryū Akinori
    is a former sumo wrestler from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. He was the 68th yokozuna in the history of the sport in Japan and became the first Mongol to reach sumo's highest rank in January 2003. He was one of the most successful yokozuna ever. In 2005 he became the first man to win all six official...

  2. Hakuho
    Hakuho Sho
    is a professional sumo wrestler from Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Making his debut in March 2001, he reached the top makuuchi division in May 2004. On May 30, 2007 at the age of 22 he became the second native of Mongolia, and the fourth non-Japanese overall, to be promoted to the highest rank in sumo,...

  3. Mungonzazal Janshindulam
    Mungonzazal Janshindulam
    Mungonzazal Janshindulam , also known as "Mungo", was a Mongolian pianist and music teacher who lived and taught up until her death in Düsseldorf and Dortmund, Germany...

  4. Sanjaasurengiin Zorig
    Sanjaasürengiin Zorig
    Zorig Sanjaasuren was a prominent Mongolian politician and leader of the country's 1990 democratic revolution. He was called the "Golden Magpie of Democracy". His murder remains unsolved...

  5. Nambaryn Enkhbayar
    Nambaryn Enkhbayar
    Nambaryn Enkhbayar is a Mongolian political figure. He was the Prime Minister of Mongolia from 2000 to 2004, the Speaker of Parliament from 2004 to 2005, and the President of Mongolia from 2005 to 2009...


External links

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