What to See in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia)

By | July 9, 2022

According to ITYPEMBA, Ulaanbaatar is the capital of Mongolia and the largest city in the country. It is located in the northeast of the central part of Mongolia in the valley of the Tola River at an altitude of 1300-1350 m.

The city was founded at the beginning of the 17th century and almost immediately became the administrative center of Outer Mongolia, which was part of Qing China. The city received its present name in 1924. Until recently, Ulaanbaatar had little resemblance to a capital city. Now modern buildings are being built in the city, but still, more than half of its population lives in yurts.

The center of the modern city is Sukhbaatar Square. It was named after the national hero Sukhbaatar, who declared the country’s independence from China in 1921. In the center of the square stands the equestrian statue of Sukhbaatar. Next to it rises the mausoleum of Sukhbaatar and the monument of Genghis Khan. Also on the square are the Government House, the House of Culture, the State Opera and Ballet Theater and the National Museum of the History of Mongolia. In 10 galleries of the National Museum of the History of Mongolia, there are about 40,000 exhibits that tell about the history of the country, starting from the 3rd century BC. Opposite the Government House is the Museum of Natural History, which exhibits one of the world’s best collections of bones and eggs of dinosaurs found in the Gobi desert, and an extensive collection of the animal world of Mongolia.

The main street of the city passes through Sukhbaatar Square – Mira Avenue, it crosses Ulaanbaatar from west to east. On the avenue are the main shopping outlets of the city, as well as many restaurants, cafes and bars.

Be sure to visit the country’s most important and largest Buddhist monastery – Gandantegchinlen Khid, or Gandan for short. The monastery was founded in 1840. This is one of the few Mongolian monasteries that escaped destruction during the formation of socialism and continued to conduct Buddhist services. The main temple of the monastery – Zhanrai-Sing – was erected in 1911-1912. Here you can see a 20-ton gilded statue of one of the most revered representatives of the Buddhist pantheon – Avalokiteshvara. The height of the statue reaches 26 m.

Among other religious buildings in Ulaanbaatar, one can distinguish the wooden Choyzhin-Lamyn-Sum monastery of the early 20th century. Today, the monastery houses the Museum of Buddhist Art, which contains an 18th-century statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, a tanka painting, copies of commentaries on the Tibetan canon – Kangyur and Tengyur, and a collection of masks.

Also of interest in the city is the only surviving palace of the last Chinese emperor of Mongolia, Bogdykhan, the Winter Palace. Total in the period from 1893 to 1903 in Ulaanbaatar 4 similar palaces were erected. Now the Winter Palace houses the Museum of Chinese Emperors of the Qing Dynasty, where you can see furniture and household items of the late 19th century, gifts that were made to the emperor from the rulers of other countries, and even a yurt made of 150 snow leopard skins.

In addition, in Ulaanbaatar, it is worth visiting the Zaisan memorial, which was opened on a high hill in honor of Soviet soldiers who died in World War II, a huge monument to Genghis Khan 40 m high, the Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts, which presents works of art dating back to the Paleolithic era, public library with a unique collection of Sanskrit manuscripts from the 11th century and the best cashmere market in the country, Naran-tul.

Ulaanbaatar is the starting point for travel throughout the country. From here you can go to the vast steppes, the Gobi desert, the Khentei, Khangai and Altai mountains, as well as to the “Blue Pearl” of Mongolia – Lake Khubsugul.

From the west, east and south, Ulaanbaatar is bordered by endless steppes, along which trips are arranged in jeeps, camels and horses. During excursions in the steppe communities, you can see red wolves, foxes, hares, wild boars, gazelle antelopes, saigas and Przewalski’s horses. 85 km southwest of Ulaanbaatar in the steppes is located Khustai National Park, whose history is associated with the restoration of the Przewalski’s wild horse population.

To the north of Ulaanbaatar lie the majestic Khentei Mountains . The mountains of Khentei are considered sacred, as the great conqueror Genghis Khan was born and raised here. The local places are perfect for those who love nature. There are many campsites in the mountains. 70 km northeast of Ulaanbaatar on the slopes of Mount Bogdykhan (2256 m) there is a national park of the same name. In its vicinity, the Manzushir Monastery built in 1733 is of interest. The monastery was completely destroyed in 1932, today one of its churches has been restored, now it houses a museum. The monastery is open to the public from May to October. At this time, tourists are offered hiking and horseback riding on Mount Bogdykhan. In addition, in late autumn, performances with ancient Buddhist dances Tsam are arranged near the monastery. Also in the Khentei mountains are the sacred mountain Burkhan-Kaldun (it is believed that Genghis Khan was born and buried in these places) and Terelzh National Park (one of the best places to relax in this region).

Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia)