The capital city of Mongolia is Ulaanbaatar, city with a long and rich history. Set in the rolling foothills of the Bogd Mountain range, on the banks of the majestic Tuul River, Ulaanbaatar is the gateway to Mongolia. Ulaanbaatar, historically know as Urga, was originally established in 1639 as a nomadic encampment, which shifted from place until it settled at an altitude of 1,351 meters above sea level, stretches from east to west across the Tuul River valley, it has a population of 135,800 hectares. Holy mountains surround it; the Bogd uul, mountain to the south, the Songino mountain to the west, the Bayanzurkh Mountain to the east and the Chingeltei Mountain to the north. The city has the only international airport in the country and the Trans-Siberian railway crosses Mongolia from north to south stopping in Ulaanbaatar, connecting Moscow and Beijing.
Gandan is the largest and most significant monastery in Mongolia and one of Ulaanbaatar,s most interesting sights. Built in the mid 19th century, it is the only monastery where Buddhist services continued during the communist years. Temples are flocked by visitors during religious services that start at 10a.m. and last until mid day. Most important part of a monastery is the Megjid Janraiseg temple. The Megjid Janraiseg (Avalokiteshvara ) Temple was built in 1911-1912 to celebrate the end of Manchu domination and, it is said, to heal Bogd Gegeen from blindness. It is a nixed Chinese and Tibetan style and inside is the 25.6 meter and 20 ton Avalokiteshvara Janraiseg statue. The deity was consecrated in 1996, is hollow and contains a storehouse of precious items including sutras, medicinal herbs, bundles of Buddhist mantras and even a fully furnished ger. The statue was built with donations of Mongolian people as symbol of Buddhist revival in the mid 1990,s.
Zaisan Hill Memorial
Located to the south of Ulaanbaatar, Zaisan Hill Memorial was erected on 50th anniversary of the Communist Revolution and honors the Soviet and Mongolian soldiers who died in WWII in the fight against Japan and Nazi Germany. Next to the monumental statue of the soldier, a mosaic composition on a large circular panel in reinforced concrete illustrates the theme of friendships between Mongol and Soviet peoples. In the center of it a large granite bowl holds an eternal flame. A good view can be had over the capital.
Winter Palace of Bogd khan
Built between 1893 and 1903, the Winter palace Bogd Khan was the home of the Mongolia’s last king Javzun Damba Khutagt Vlll. This complex of temples and houses contains a number of Buddhist artworks and the private collection of the Bogd Khan, composed of gifts from rulers and kings from all over the world. The artworks displayed here were made by the top Mongolian, Tibetan and Chinese master-sculptors of the 18th and 19th centuries and represent the gods of the Buddhist pantheon.
Natural History Museum
Located near the city center the museum displays exhibits on the geography, geology, botany, fauna and paleontology of Mongolia. Among the treasure on display are 800 objects from the lower Cambrian Age (500 million years ago) to the Quaternary Age (10,000 to 15,000 years ago), including fossils of vertebrates, plants, leaf prints dinosaurs and mammals. The specimens of dinosaur skeletons and bones vary in size from a few centimeters to over 30 meters tall, and several are to be found only in Mongolia.
National History museum
The museum has excellent displays on several millennia of the history of Mongolia-beginning with the stone age, running through the Turkic and Mongol empires, the rise of Buddhism, the communist regime and ends with a colorful display of contemporary society & historical and ethnological exhibits. Opposite of the National Museum of Mongolian history.
Choijin Lama Temple Museum
This complex of temples was built between 1904 and 1908 for the Choijin lama (a monastic title) Lubsankhaidav, the State Oracle and younger brother of the eighth Bogd Gegeen, and is one of the most beautiful monasteries in Mongolia. This is the only museum where all religious objects are kept ready for Buddhist chanting ceremonies and this is why it is called a temple museum. The museum is famous for its collection of Buddhist artworks, original silk icons and tsam dancing marks.
Mandshir Monastery is located in the southern entrance of Bogd Khaan National Park. This 18th century monastic complex was left in ruins after the communist purges of the 1930s. A new temple has been built next to the ruins of the old temples and serves as a museum with pictures and artifacts from the original Monastery. By the ruins there are also some gers, a restaurant and a natural museum. The surrounding area is perfect for walking in green woods, meadows and clear water mountain streams.