Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, is located in north central Mongolia on the Tula river. Lord of the Khalkha tribe, Tushet Khan Gombodorj established Ulaanbaatar in 1639, for much of its history known as Urga, when he named his five-year-old son Zanabazar, head of the Buddhist religion in Mongolia. Urga grew quickly and it gradually became the religious, commercial and administrative center of the country.
The nomadic encampment shifted from place to place until 1778 when it settled in its present location north of the Bogd Mountain. In 1924, after People’s Revolution, the city was renamed Ulaanbaatar in honor of Sukhbaatar, a hero of the revolution. Points of interest include the Natural History Museum with its fine collection of dinosaur fossils, the Bogd khan Winter Palace Museum, displaying the gorgeous ceremonial robes of the last living of the Buddha and his consort along with the personal effects of the eccentric theocrat, the Fine Arts Museum, housing much of Mongolia’s exquisite Buddhist art along with more modern masterpieces, Gandan monastery functioning much as it has for centuries and Nairamdal park, a children’s fantasy land.
The city also boasts a lively performing arts scene. Visitors can enjoy folk performances at the Opera & Ballet Theater, the Drama Theater and take in the State Circus to see Mongolia’s world-renowned acrobats.