Сайн байна уу
After we left Russia we headed to Mongolia. In spite of having a very long history, they are a relatively new democratic country. It was only since the crash of the Soviet Union in 1991 where they have truly been free.
Ulaanbaatar dubbed the coldest capital in the world. During the winter months (Dec-Jan), the temperature can drop way below past -30 degrees celsius. Our guide, NK, said the coldest ever recorded was -50 degrees. Luckily, we went in ‘pre-winter’ so the temperature was only -24 in the day and -30 at night ? . Despite the size of the country, there are only 3 million people, with almost half of them living in the capital.
Ulaanbaatar was (astoundingly-to our ignorant selves) bigger and more developed to what we thought. Like any other globalised, cosmopolitan city, it is filled with many recognisable brands, shops, hotels, people and cars. The most shocking factor was the number of cars. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, all streets-main/side/alleys were filled with traffic. Mongolian drivers are also very unforgiving and will try to drive even when there’s no room, blocking junctions and roads. As a result, all you can hear is people beeping/honking their horns. It’s even more surprising as only certain cars are allowed on the roads at the same time. For instance, if a license plate ends with a 6, they aren’t allowed on the roads on Mondays and Fridays.
We only had 1 full day in the city and a quick a tour to see the famous landmarks and the world’s biggest statue.
Chinngis Kahn Equestrian Statue
If you are travelling to the ger lodge camps there is no doubt that you would stop to have a look at this statue. The size is astonishing as it is 40 metres (130ft) tall and visitors can go up the horse’s head to take photos. Inside there’s also the world’s biggest horse whip and boot as legend has it, Chinngis found a gold horse whip during his reign.
The main area of downtown Ulaabaatarpays homage to the leader of the 1921 revolution; Damdin Sükhbaatar and of course Mongolia’s greatest leader; Chinggis Kahn. The statue of Damdin is situated in the centre of the square and Chinngis is sat at the front. In front of Chinngis, are 2 statues; Ögedei (son) and Kublai (grandson) who were great leaders in their own right. The square is pretty big and usually relatively quiet. On occasions, it is used for celebrations and concerts.
Found on a hill in the southern part of the city, this memorial was built in memory of the allegiance between the Mongolian and Soviet soldiers who fought and died in World War II. At the top, there is a circular painting which depicts the friendship between the Mongolians and the Soviets. From the top, there is also a great view of the city below as well as the Tuul River.
This Tibetan monastery situated in the heart of the capital and translates to ‘great place of great joy’. Although it had been restored in the 1990s, it is of great significance as during the war all Mongolian temples and monasteries were burnt down with the exception of this one.
Hopefully, I will be able to post again as we are off to a Ger lodge where it’s even colder! ❄️❄️❄️