Ulaanbaatar - capital city of Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar (UB), the capital city of Mongolia is the cultural, political, and financial heart of the country, located in the Tuul River valley and surrounded by 4 sacred mountains. UB elevated at 1,300m above sea level. UB has become a main tourist hub for foreign tourism in Mongolia. UB has numerous museums with world famous valuable exhibits and Buddhist heritage sights. In UB there are 14 historical and cultural sites that are listed under State Protection including Gandantegchinlen Monastery, Megjid Janraisig Statue, Bogd Khan's Winter Palace, Ger Shaped small temples, Dari Ekh Temple's two stone columns, Geser Temple, Choijin Lama Temple dedicated to the brother of the Bogd Khan, Dambadarjaalin Monastery, petroglyphs at IkhTenger and Gachuurt Mountain range, numerious tombs at Songinokhairkhan Mountain, and Chin Van Khanddorj's house. Also, there are 11 places under the city's preservation and protection: Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum building, the first European style 2 storey apartment building, two stone lion statues on the Arslantai Bridge, two stone lion statues in front of the national history museum, some buildings of the Bogd Khan's summer complex, Khunnu tombs in Belkhiin Am, two stone lion statues in front of the National University of Mongolia, rock scripts in Nukhtiin Am, where the patriotic lords held a secret meeting regarding the separation from the Manchu dominance and the Tsogtbadamjav's house.
Gandantegchinlen Monastery (full name), located in the north of the city, is the center of Mongolian Buddhism, constructed by order of the 5th Bogd Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, the highest reincarnated lama of Mongolia, in 1809, currently has over 150 monks in residence.In the beginning of the 20th century Gandan Monastery was the center of Buddhist learning in Mongolia. Many prominent Buddhist scholars in Mongolia as well as in Buddhist world were educated and trained by its various colleges and their works on Buddhist philosophy, linguistics, medicine, astrology and tantric practice became the most authoritative and accurate Buddhist texts. During 30s the socialist government adopted a policy of banning all religious activities in Mongolia. As a consequence all monasteries were closed and monks were executed, jailed and disrobed all over Mongolia. In 1938, Gandan Monastery was closed, but reopened in 1944 as the only functioning monastery during the socialist regime. After the democratic change took place in 1990 Buddhism regained its full right of worship. Gandan Monastery has, as being the Center of Mongolian Buddhists, been striving to propagate peaceful teaching of Lord Buddha among family and society. In the whole country 140 monasteries and temples have been (re)established and many sacred statues were reconstructed so far. Monastery came under state protection in 1994. Gandan Monasteries main temple is 39m tall, as tall as a 13 storey building. The four columns of the temple are made out of one solid single piece. It is amazing that Mongolians had managed to build this 13 storey building back in the 1910s. Especially considering that each of the 30m tall columns were erected with no use of modern machinery. Inside is a statue of Magjid Janraisig (the lord who looks in every direction), main attraction of Gandan Monastery. It is about 25 meters tall and is covered by a huge number of precious stones. To build the statue were used 19 tons of copper which is covered by 75926 lists of gold; each list is about 2x2 inches. The 2590 pieces of precious stones were brought from each province of Mongolia and to sew the clothing were used over 100 meters of silk and brocade which were a special order from India.
Genghis Khan's Square & Parliament House of Mongolia
Located at the heart of Ulaanbaatar Genghis Khan's Square is one of the famous tourist attractions, comprised of a statue of National hero Damdin Sukhbaatar (leader of Mongolian People's Revolution in 1921) and a huge statue of Genghis Khan (reminiscent of the Lincoln Memorial) at the front of the Parliament House. Before Sukhbaatar, this place was a large empty area surrounded on all sides by temples, residences of the nobility and clergy as well as the Baruun Damnuurchin markets. During the socialist era, D.Sukhbaatar's Tomb stood in front of Government House on the square, but in 2004, the tomb had been moved to a cemetery. In 2006, dedicated to Genghis Khan's 800th anniversary, National Historical Gallery and Genghis Khan's Statue were put there instead of the tomb. Major buildings on the square include the Government Palace (built in 1951 on the spot of the Green Domed Theatre), the Golomt Bank, the Central Post Office, the Culture Palace, until 2005. The Green Domed Theatre was built in 1926 and burned down unexpectedly in 1949. The City Administration building was formerly a hotel and was built in 1936. Other buildings surrounding the square include the Lenin Club building (1929), Printing Press (1929), State Ballet and Opera House (1946–1949) and the Stock Exchange building formerly the Eldev-Ochir Cinema (1946–1948). Besides the Sukhbaatar monument in the middle of the square, you can find other statues at the square: those of Genghis Khan and two of his generals in front of the Government House.This statue became one of the largest Genghis Khan statues within the city zone. Genghis Khan's Square is still the scene of major state ceremonies, parades, cultural events and exhibitions. The Democratic Revolution of 1990 featured massive demonstrations and hunger strikes at the square. Heads of state of foreign countries generally pay respects in front of the statue of Sukhbaatar.
Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs
The Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs (CMMD) was established in 2013. The museum located near the Independence Square, about 1.5 km west of Genghis Khan's Square (center of Ulaanbaatar). Items on display in the CMMDinclude rare collections of Dinosaurs fossils, fossilized skeletons, eggs excavated largely from Mongolian Gobi Desert in the 20th century, featuring different categories of Dinosaurs.
Mongolian National History Museum
Natural History Museum, one of the leading museums in Mongolia, was established in 1924, located near the Genghis Khan's Square in Ulaanbaatar. Exhibitions cover prehistory, pre-Mongol Empire history, Mongol Empire, Mongolia during Qing rule, ethnography and traditional life, and twentieth-century history. The ethnographic collection has significant displays of the traditional dress of various Mongolian ethnic groups and of snuff bottles. Most exhibits have labels in both Mongolian and English.
Bogd Khan Winter Palace Museum
Bogd Khan Winter Palace Museum, one of main tourist attractions in Ulaanbaatar, was constructedin 1893 as the Winter Palace (residence) dedicated to the 8th Bogd Jebtsundamba (1869–1924), the last king of Mongolia and the spiritual leader of Mongolia's Tibetan Buddhism, was also known as the eighth living Buddha. Winter Palace creation was completed in 1903. Later the palace was spared destruction and turned into a museum. In 2013 the museum stands under state protection. Museum is about 3 km south of Genghis Khan's Square. Museum consisted of six temples and Winter Palace of 8th Bogd Jebtsundamba. Items on display in the Museum include collection of art and stuffed animals, sculptures, musical instruments and many religious items, bed, throne and carriage of Bogd Khan, collection of gifts received from foreign kings, such as armchair with ringtone and a pair of ceremonial golden boots from a Russian tsar Nikolai II, a robe made from 80 fox skins, a ceremonial leopard ger covered with the skins of 150 snow leopards and others (total over 8,000 exhibits). This is a nice place to explore the Mongolian history.
Choijin Lama Museum
Choijin Lama Monastery built in 1904-1908 by the 8th Bogd Jebtsundamba (the last king of Mongolia and the spiritual leader of Outer Mongolia's Tibetan Buddhism) and dedicated to his brother the Choijin Lama Luvsankhaidav. Now monastery turned into a museum. There are five temples within the grounds preserving the elaborately decorated interiors and containing a rich collection of other Mongolian Buddhist sculpture and painting. Museum located in the center of Ulaanbaatar city directly south of the Genghis Khan's Square.
Zaisan Hill Memorial
One of the places that Mongolians like to go and spend their free time is Zaisan Hill (Zaisan Tolgoi). It's a small mountain where on the top was built 24 meters height monument due to the 40th anniversary of victory at the Khalkh river (Khalk Gol) in 1979. Memorial honors soldiers who died and were unaccounted for (missing in war) during the World War II (WWII 1939-1945). This place is famous for its sightseeing, because many just married young couples visit the Zaisan Hill to show the respect to the soldiers and it is one of the favorite places for students to celebrate their graduation, school outings. Nowadays it becomes a crowded place, especially in the evening to see the night lights of UB and breathe fresh air. To get on the top of this mountain you need to go through 620 steps, when approach to the Zaisan Hill you will see the Tank monument, that replaced from downtown a decade before. The tank was used during WWII.
Tumen Ekh Ensemble - Mongolia's premier traditional performance group
Tumen Ekh Ensemble is the best Mongolia's premier traditional performance group. Featuring folk and traditional music, song, dance and contortion, Tumen Ekh is a must-see for visitors of the capital city Ulaanbaatar, who interested in colorful art and culture of the land of the blue sky. The music of Mongolia expresses vastness, freedom and life in harmony with nature and the environment. The Tumen Ekh ensemble is one of the most successful folk art groups to share traditional Mongolian music with the world, having traveled to over 40 countries to introduce the unique, vibrant and astonishing art of Mongolia. They have successfully performed at the World Music Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and Buckingham Palace in the UK among others.