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Ulaanbaatar History, Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar is the capital and the largest city in Mongolia. As strange as it may sound, the capital is inhabited by over one third of Mongolia’s entire population. Naturally, Ulaanbaatar is the cultural, political and financial centre of the country. Ulaanbaatar is an interesting combination between modern and traditional nomadic values. Despite its rich and long history, the city is still in development, but its mystery and exotic atmosphere does not fail to attract thousands of tourists every year, especially since good transport links were established between the capital and other Asian cities such as Irkutsk, Beijing or Seoul. This Ulaanbaatar History Guide offers a brief outline of the city’s fascinating history.

Ulaanbaatar History Guide - Early History

The site of modern Ulaanbaatar has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, as proved by the numerous paintings found at the nearby Mt. Bogd Khan Uul. What is known about the early history of the city is more speculation that fact. The early inhabitants of the region are thought to be migrants from Siberia, since the same style of rock paintings were found at several Siberian archaeological sites. Judging by the numerous burial sites found in the area, it was concluded that Ulaanbaatar has once belonged to a nomadic empire. Wang Khan, the ruler of the Kerait tribes has built himself a castle near the settlement, and the ruins can still be seen and visited today.

Ulaanbaatar History Guide - Foundation

Ulaanbaatar was founded as a mobile monastery, that is, a monastery housed in a yurt which could be easily taken apart and moved to another place. The monastery was founded under the name of Orgoo in 1639 at about 250 kilometers from the present site of the Mongol capital. The yurt town was moved to several places in the country, and at one point it even reached Inner Mongolia, not far from Hohhot. This nomadic city started to unavoidably grow, and moving became more and more difficult. Ulaanbaatar settled on its current site in 1778, on a busy trading route that linked Beijing to Kyakhta. The original monastery had, by this time, over 1000 monks. In 1863, the Russians established a consulate in the city. This Ulaanbaatar History Guide recommends that you visit the beautiful Chapel of Holy Trinity built in the same year.

Ulaanbaatar History Guide - Modern Period

Until the 20th century, Mongolia was under the rule of the Qing dynasty of China. In 1911, the Manchu Empire collapsed, and this was the perfect opportunity for Mongolia to proclaim its independence. Until 1989, when the country became democratic, it passed from hand to hand between the Russians and the Chinese. After the Russo-Mongolian forces reclaimed the capital in 1924, the city became known as Ulaanbaatar, or the Red Hero. During the Soviet period, many of the yurts in the city were replaced by blocks of flats, and several theatres, cinemas and museums were built. In 1989, Mongolia became a democratic country, and entered a period of economic growth, and recently it started to become the country’s most important touristic destination.

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