Ulaanbaatar Mongolia

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Description: Open source travel guide to Ulaanbaatar, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more. Free and reliable advice written by Wikitravellers from around the globe.

In the history of the Mongolian people, there have been several well-known cities built as capital cities such as Kharakhorum during the 13th century Great Mongolian Empire. But none of them survived as an active capital city until the 16th century. With the active introduction of Lamaism in Mongolia from the 16th century, permanent monastic establishments started to emerge when Tibetan Buddhism flourished. The most important of such settlements was the residency palace of Mongolia’s first spiritual leader named Zanabazar or Jebtsundamba Khutuktu in the year 1649. The year is now considered as the founding date of Mongolia’s modern capital city, Ulaanbaatar. [2] The city was first named Ikh Khuree, literally meaning “large circle” as the city was circular shaped. After changing locations in the central part of Mongolia over 20 times, it settled at its current location in the year of 1778.

Much of the modern architecture of Ulaanbaatar started to shape in the 20th century with the influence from Russian architecture. The modern day UB showcases a mix of Soviet architecture, ger settlements, Buddhist monasteries and 21st century high rises. Among Buddhist temples, most notables are the Among Buddhist temples, most notables are the Gandan Tegchinlen Monastery . Choijin Lama Temple and Bogd Khan Winter Palace Museum .

Travelers who take the time to get to explore the city will discover a hospitable and warm-hearted people. The demographics of city are divided into two major parts. One part of the population lives in condominiums in the central part of the city while the majority of the population lives in what is called as ger districts . These districts, traditionally a home to many of the city’s blue and white collared workers, became lately a home to many migrating ex-nomads who in recent years have come to the city to find work after severe winters have killed their livestock. [3]

Peace Avenue (Enkh Taivny Örgön Chölöö) is the main street and it stretches from east to west through the center. It's the main shopping street and many of the restaurants are found alongside it. The street also passes by the southern edge of the central square, Chinggis Square. Tourist Information Centers are located on the first floor of Ulaanbaatar Bank Small Ring#15 and at Seoul Street.

Although summer temperatures can be over 30°C, the city shivers in sub-zero temperatures for five months of the year, with January and February being the coldest months with temps hovering between -15°C to -40°C. The duration of heating season is 180 days. As a result of these prolonged periods of intense cold, the city has an average annual temperature of -1.3°C, giving it the dubious distinction of being the world's coldest capital. If you have breathing problems, be aware that Ulaanbaatar has high levels of Air Pollution [2]. UB has a population just over a twentieth of Beijing; yet according to the World Health Organization, UB is considered the second most polluted city in the world in 2013 - behind Ahvaz, Iran. But the countryside air, away from the cities, is gorgeous. The majority of the pollution comes from coal burning as 92% of households use stove for heating and cooking. [4]

Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia’s largest city. In 1956, it had 14.4% of total population of Mongolia. As of 2012, around 45.8% of the Mongolian total population was living in the capital. [5] It has a density rate of 272/km2. [6] Ger district in Ulaanbaatar city has been expanding due to income level of families moved from rural areas to the city and newly established family, and also a lack of apartments connected with centralized sub-structure. [7] According to the statistical information, 47.2% of Ulaanbaatar’s total population were born and raised in the city without moving and living anywhere else, indicating that almost 50% of the other part have migrated to the city after 1990. About 40% of the city’s population lives in the housing districts and remaining 60% live in ger districts. [8]

Ulaanbaatar city is a center of Mongolian political, economic, society and culture. Around 45% of total population and 65% of total companies are only in Ulaanbaatar. Therefore, majority of deposits and loans granted to individuals and companies, cars and doctors are in Ulaanbaatar city. Role of Ulaanbaatar to Mongolian economy is massive as the country’s best health, education, production and financial operations are centered in the city. 88.5% of total universities of Mongolia locate in Ulaanbaatar city and 95.3% of total students of the country study also in the city. Thus, the city is the center of social, economic, administrative and cultural activities.

Photogallery Ulaanbaatar Mongolia:

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia - Matador Network
Architecture of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia — Stock Photo © merial #5846828
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Feeding Center in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
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Ulaanbaatar | Franck Simonnet

FIG News 2011
Tent In The Desert Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia by David DuChemin
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Ulaanbaatar city, Mongolia | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
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Wrestlers at the Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar | Bridgette Auger
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Feeding Center in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia