"Ulaanbaatar - UB" Top 5 Page for this destination Ulaanbaatar by Willettsworld

Ulaanbaatar Travel Guide: 293 reviews and 853 photos

Ulaanbaatar, also known as Ulan Bator or simply just UB, is the capital and, with a population of around a million, also the largest city in Mongolia. In fact, according to recent estimates, this means approximately a third of the country lives here. It is located just east of the centre of the country in a valley of the Tuul River.

The city was first founded as a ger monastery in 1639 when it was called 'Orgoo' meaning 'palace-ger' but as it was a mobile monastery-town, it was originally conceived around 420km from its present site. As a mobile monastery-town, it was often moved to various places along the Selenge, Orkhon and Tuul rivers, as supply and other needs would demand. Throughout such movement, the city was given some fairly unexciting official and unofficial names, including Khiiree (Camp) in 1706. In 1778 the capital was built at its present location and called the City of Felt. Later, the city became known as the Ikh Khiiree, or Great Camp, and was under the rule of the Bogd Khaan, or Living Buddha with the Chinese Manchu's as overseers. The victory over the Manchu Dynasty in 1911 greatly affected further development of the city, that was renamed Nyislel Khuree (capital city) by the Khaan's decree, as the Government and Bogd Khaan's palace were located in the city. The name of Nyislel Huree was used till 1923, when capital city of Mongolia was renamed as the city of Ulaanbaatar (Red Hero) and declared the official capital of an 'independent' Mongolia.

Today the city is a mixture of Soviet era dull, drab and crumbling apartments, pre and post Communist architecture, horrendous traffic on narrow potholed streets, pollution from the suburban power stations, modern 4x4 Japanese imports and western coffee shop/internet/mobile phone chic. Basically, it's a right old mess but I really liked the place in a sado-masochistic kind of way! I flew in to UB from Beijing and spent that night in the city before embarking on a 12-day tour around the country. After the tour I spent about a week in the city so as to take in the Naadam Festival and the city itself before returning to Beijing via the picturesque Trans-Mongolian Railway.

  • Last visit to Ulaanbaatar: Jul 2008
  • Intro Written Sep 24, 2008
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Reviews (84)

Comments (8)

  • paulhanson's Profile Photo
    Feb 14, 2011 at 12:50 AM

    It's becoming a sign of development: an Irish pub

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Sep 15, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    What a fascinating trip this would be to see such steep culture and friendly people that adapted for centuries to their environment. You did a very nice presentation.

  • budapest8's Profile Photo
    Sep 10, 2010 at 6:40 AM

    Thx for sharing and interesting pages....How on earth do you find the time to write so much and travel so much? I envy you...I guess if I knew I would live to be a 100 and in good health I would visit here, but I'm just a slow traveller ..:)

  • XenoHumph's Profile Photo
    Jul 18, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    Cool place to visit! Great page!

  • Oct 31, 2009 at 4:38 PM

    I have had some experience with Mongolian BBQ, having sampled it for the first time in Taipei in 1968, then later her in the US. The offerings at the Taipei restaurant were more varied. It does not take long to develop a "recipe" for a tasty combination.

  • DennyP's Profile Photo
    Oct 19, 2008 at 6:04 AM

    Hi Glyn..great page mate also pics and tips...I want to do this train journey from UB to Beijing..I love trains...and it sounds like A great journey...Thanks..Denny..

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Oct 16, 2008 at 6:05 AM

    Great page Glyn! destined to be a top 5!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Sep 24, 2008 at 6:20 AM

    Hello, Glyn ! Thanks for your brilliant page on that remote destination!... Wish I would visit too...

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