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Ulan Bator

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, September 06, 2009 at 11:04:53 :: Mongolia

Ulan Bator, or Ulaanbaatar (Mongolian: Улаанбаатар), is the capital and largest city of Mongolia. The city is an independent municipality not part of any province, and its population as of 2008 is just over 1 million.

Located in the north central part of the country, the city lies at an elevation of about 1,310 metres (4,300 ft) in a valley on the Tuul River. It is the cultural, industrial, and financial heart of the country. It is also the center of Mongolia's road network, and connected by rail to the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Chinese railway network.

The city was founded in 1639 as an initially nomadic Buddhist monastic centre. Since 1778 it has been located in the Tuul river valley. In the 20th century, Ulaanbaatar grew into a major manufacturing centre.

The Government Palace (Saaral Ordon - Mongolian: Засгын газрын ордон), with statue of Genghis Khan sitting in front of it and Sukhbaatar statue on top of the rock - located on the north side of Sükhbaatar Square, Ulan Bator, Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, which has an international airport, is the junction point of the country's major roads and caravan routes and lies on the Trans-Siberian RR, which links (since 1955) Russia with Beijing. The city has the only university (founded 1942) in the country and a library with ancient Mongolian, Chinese, and Tibetan manuscripts. In the center of the city is the Sühbaatar Square (with an equestrian statue of the Mongolian revolutionary leader for whom the city is named).

Founded in 1649 as a monastery town, Ulaanbaatar still preserves the monastery section, the former center of the city, and the residence of the Living Buddha, once Mongolia's spiritual leader. In the 1860s the town prospered as a commercial center on the tea route between Russia and China. There in 1911 autonomous Mongolia was first proclaimed. During the Russian civil war the city was (1921) the headquarters of the White army of Baron von Ungern-Sternberg. It was made capital of the Mongolian republic in 1924, when its name was changed from Urga [palace] to Ulaanbaatar. The city was developed with aid from the Soviet government, and the first industrial combine was established there in 1934.

Sights of Ulan Bator:


Among the notable older monasteries is the Choijin Lama Monastery, 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. 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, 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 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 (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.

Genghis Khan (Чингис Хан) statue downtown Ulan Bator, Mongolia


Ulaanbaatar 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 includes exhibits from prehistoric times through the Mongol Empire 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.

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).

Opera House

The Ulaanbaatar Opera House hosts concerts and musical performances.

Sükhbaatar Square

Sükhbaatar Square, in the government district, is the center of Ulaanbaatar. 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 peed (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 at the top of the front steps. Peace Avenue (Enkh Taivny Örgön Chölöö), the main thoroughfare through town, runs along the south side of the square.

Zaisan Memorial

The Zaisan Memorial, 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 style depicts scenes of friendship between the peoples of Soviet Union 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.

Visit Ulan Bator and Mongolia, now on Landolia.
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UNESCO World Heritage

Mongolia, Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, September 30, 2013 at 05:49:01

Location Orkhon-Kharkorin Region, Mongolia
Coordinates N47 33 24 E102 49 53
Property 121,967 ha
Date of Inscription 2004

Brief Description ( )

The 121,967-ha Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape encompasses an extensive area of pastureland on both banks of the Orkhon River and includes numerous archaeological remains dating back to the 6th century. The site also includes Kharkhorum, the 13th- and 14th-century capital of Chingis (Genghis) Khan’s vast Empire. Collectively the remains in the site reflect the symbiotic links between nomadic, pastoral societies and their administrative and religious centres, and the importance of the Orkhon valley in the history of central Asia. The grassland is still grazed by Mongolian nomadic pastoralists.

Photos from TWIP

Orkhon river, Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape

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Mongolia, Russia, Uvs Nuur Basin

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, September 30, 2013 at 05:35:06

Location Uvs Aimag, Zavhan Aimag, Huvsgul Aimag (Mongolia); Mongun-Taiga Kojuun, Ovur Kojuun, Tes-Khem Kojuun, Ersin Kojuun (Tuva, Russia)
Coordinates N50 16 30 E92 43 11
Property 898,064 ha
Date of Inscription 2003

Brief Description ( )

The Uvs Nuur Basin (1,068,853 ha), is the northernmost of the enclosed basins of Central Asia. It takes its name from Uvs Nuur Lake, a large, shallow and very saline lake, important for migrating birds, waterfowl and seabirds. The site is made up of twelve protected areas representing the major biomes of eastern Eurasia. The steppe ecosystem supports a rich diversity of birds and the desert is home to a number of rare gerbil, jerboas and the marbled polecat. The mountains are an important refuge for the globally endangered snow leopard, mountain sheep (argali) and the Asiatic ibex.

Photos from Landolia

Uvs Lake, Uvs Lake Basin Mongolian steppe, Uvs Lake Basin

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