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History of Ulaanbaatar

About the capital city of Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar is located on the bank of Tuul River. It lies at the foothills of Bogd Khaan Mountain at an altitude of 1350 meters above sea level, covering an area of 4700 The city is administratively divided into districts and sub-districts. More than million people live in the Capital city. The Capital city of Mongolia represents the symbol of struggle of Mongolians for freedom and independence, and it provides the history of political, economic and religious center of an independent country. The foundation of the capital city was recorded in history book "Erdenesyin Erkh" in 1841. The foundation process was closely linked to the country's political situation in the 17th century. According to researchers' study, the city moved from one place to another twenty eight times between 1640 and 1855.

The history of the foundation of Ulaanbaatar was closely linked to the political life of Mongolia in the 17th century. A Manchurian state, which was on rise in the mid-17th century in the East of Mongolia, occupied South Mongolia in 1636, and subsequently threatened to invade Khalkha and West Mongolia. In order to pursue Mongolian centralized policy, Tusheet Khan Gombodorj (1594-1655), the most powerful and influential among Khalkha's three Khans, proclaimed his son Zanabazar as a religious leader of Mongolia, due to the strong influence of Buddhism in Mongolia. Zanabazar was proclaimed a ruler by the chuulgan (meeting) of Khalkha's Khans and noyods (lords), which was held in Tsagaan nuur in 1639.

Mobile Urga (1639-1778)

The first recorded capital city of the recent Mongolian empire was created in 1639. It was called Orgoo and was originally located at the monastery Da Khiiree, some 420km from Ulaanbaatar in Arkhangai aimag, or province. The monastery was the residence of the five-year-old Zanabazar. The city was often moved (probably around 25 times) to various places along the Orkhon, Selenge and Tuul rivers. Throughout such movement, the city was given some fairly unexciting official and unofficial names, including Khiiree (Camp) in 1706. In 1778 the capital was built at its present location and called the City of Felt. Later, the city became known as the Ikh Khiiree, or Great Camp, and was under the rule of the Bogd Khaan, or Living Buddha. Khans of Khalkha prepared headquarters for Zanabazar and delivered to him their subjects as apprentices and followers. The headquarters became the foundation of the former Urgu, present Ulaanbaatar. In 1654 construction works were launched and expansion of Urgu finished in 1680. Later on the city was renamed Jikhe Khuraee. However, during the following 200 years Mongolia was under the Manchu domination.

Ikh Khuree (1778-1910)

The special feature of this period was that Ikh Khuree settled down. In 1778 Ikh Khuree moved to the Selbe river valley and settled on the site of present Ulaanbaatar. In construction of monasteries Mongolians capably used and developed the national ger-style structure alongside with the Chinese and Tibetan architectural tradition. In the 19th century Ikh Khuree was not only a religious center, it grew into a bigger town serving as an important political, administrative and cultural center, and a big junction of trade. At this time, its population deemed to be around 15-20 thousand. By the end of 19th century Ikh Khuree began to be a main junction of religion, politics, and trade, national and social conflicts.

Nyislel Khuree (1911-1921)

The Capital city was named Nyislel Khuree after Mongolia's re-establishment. The city played an important role in the country's

Ulaanbaatar (from 1921 to present)

The name of Nyislel Huree was used till 1923, when capital city of Mongolia was renamed as the city of Ulaanbaatar (Ulaan Baatar - Red Hero) and declared the official capital of an 'independent' Mongolia. The Khangard (Garuda) was declared the city's official symbol. In 1933 Ulaanbaatar gained autonomy and separated from the surrounding Tov aimag. The first 20-year general plan for developing the city was worked out in 1954. The first multi-party democratic election taken place in Mongolia in summer of 1990, which resulted in the first permanent multi-party Parliament. The new Parliament adopted a new Constitution of Mongolia (4th) in 1992, states: "Ulaanbaatar is the Capital city of Mongolia".