"Bogd Khaan Winter Palace Museum" Top 5 Page for this destination Ulaanbaatar Things to Do Tip by Willettsworld

Ulaanbaatar Things to Do: 119 reviews and 340 photos

This two-storey wood-framed Winter Palace was constructed in 1905 according to the designs of a Russian architect working under direct orders of the Russian Czar Nicholas II, who was apparently trying to curry favour with the Bogd Khaan at this time. The Qing Emperor, nominal ruler of Mongolia, took exception to the palace being built on European lines, since Europeans were Christians, not Buddhists, and to please him, lotus patterns were painted on the walls and Buddhist ornaments added to the roof (the latter are now no longer present). The Bogd Khaan and his consort Dondogdulam lived in the Palace for almost twenty winters.

In 1925, after the Bogd Khaan?s death, many of his personal possessions were auctioned off at a sale organised by Kh. Choibalsan, the future dictator of communist Mongolia, and the following year his Winter Palace was turned into a museum. Despite the dispersal of many of his effects, the Winter Palace remains an overflowing cornucopia of material connected with the life and times of the 8th Bogd Khaan; his sumptuous robes and hats; the elaborately decorated thrones of the Bogd Khaan and his consort; the richly ornamented sleeping chambers where they spent their nights; the music box given to him by a Russian trade delegation in 1910 which played a variety of classical tunes; the silver vase and platter given to him as a token of their esteem by the newly founded Bolshevik government in Siberia (no doubt plundered from wealthy aristocrats); the bizarre collection of stuffed animals and fish, including aardvarks, anteaters, blowfish, tigers, monkeys and much else prepared for him in 1910 by taxidermists in Hamburg, Germany; the handsome trappings worn by the elephant he had imported to Mongolia for his amusement and an incredible ger covered with the skins of 150 snow leopards. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Sep 25, 2008
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