Ulaan Bataar

Red hero

Ulaan Bataar

Red hero

It is the coldest capital in the world and for many adventurers the starting point of his journey through Mongolia; Ulaan Bataar, Mongolian for 'Red Hero'. Originally a collection of yut settlements, now a busy metropolis where ancient temples and palaces are interspersed with functionalist architecture. Ulaanbataar is the rapidly changing face of Mongolia, a mix of old and new at a whopping 1,350 meters altitude. It is the only part of Mongolia where foreign influences have penetrated and where almost half the population lives.

One of the few monasteries that has endured communist rule is the huge Buddhist Gandan monastery. Together with the Choijin Lama monastery, Sükhbaatar Square and the Narantuul market it is the biggest draw of the city.

The country's most important Buddhist monastery, Erdene Zuu,is located outside the city near the former capital Karakorum. Since Mongolia liberated itself from the communist yoke, this beautiful walled complex of temples has been back in service as a monastery. Just the striking phallus symbol that is meant to keep out the sexual lusts of the monks is worth leaving the Red Hero for a while. Also the world's highest image of national heroDzjengis Khan   that symbolizes the return to his homeland after successful military campaigns is reason for an outing. Squeeze your eyes in the direction of the east. Do you see his mother waving there?

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