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Ulaan Baatar Holidays
Contrasting with the deep solitude of the sparsely inhabited Mongolian countryside, the capital city of Ulaanbaatar is a sunny, open, and bustling metropolis. With a population of over one million – approximately 40% of the total Mongolian population - the city is the centre of modern life, commerce, and industry in the country. However, beyond the modern high-rise buildings and the tank-like Humvees driving down the streets, a procession of quiet oases provide refuge from the daily bustle of city life, including serene monastery courtyards and calming public squares. Several suburbs enclose the city, and the four sacred mountains and the Tuul River to the south form an inspirational backdrop.
Ulaanbaatar is the central hub for excursions into the countryside or other destinations within Mongolia. The only international airport in the country is located in the capital, also a stop along the Trans-Siberian railway.
Before leaving to explore all the natural beauty that Mongolia has to offer, it’s worth checking out the city’s numerous historic sites, architecture, and museums. At some point during their travels, most visitors end up at Sükhbaatar Square, the heart of Ulaanbaatar, named after Damdin Sükhbaatar, the leader of Mongolia’s 1921 revolution. The Parliament House, Stock Exchange, the Drama Theatre and Cultural Palace surround the square, making it difficult to miss.
Nearby, one of Ulaanbaatar’s best known sights is the elegant Gandan Monastery, the largest Buddhist monastery in the country. It was built in the mid 19th century and was the only monastery where Buddhist services continued to be held during the atheist communist era; visitors gather at the temples at 10:00 to observe the multi-hour religious services. Stepping into the fashion world, high quality Mongolian cashmere is widely available throughout the city and always popular with travellers. Some opt for natural tan coloured camel hair, less expensive and warmer and thicker than cashmere, if perhaps more scratchy.