Ulaan Bataar – Capital of Mongolia  

Dancer

Not the most attractive of capital cities, Ulaan Bataar in Mongolia is not without its charms.  Perhaps not a city to spend more than a few days, the sights of UB can be enjoyed as an example of a capital totally alien to the rest of its country.  You can eat in international restaurants and cafes where there is more on offer than boiled mutton and morestimulating beverages than fermented mares’ milk!

Battling the dust, rubble and broken roads, looking further than the soviet style, grey, block buildings andsurviving the life-threatening traffic, the visitor can enjoy an array of fine museums, theatres offering spectacular concerts of traditional music and dance, German bUB Monasteryakeries, Austrian coffee, modern shops and breathtaking ancient palaces and exquisite, Buddhist monasteries – the few survivors of the brutal Stalinist purges that destroyed not only the buildings but the monks themselves. In the Museum of Persecution, the names of 20,000 lamas, intellectuals and soldiers line the walls.

The Central Market is a must and a great insight into Mongolian life as you walk through rows of torturous wooden saddles, assorted horse paraphernalia, genuine antiques, the bright orange ger furniture alongside the 50s style furniture for the more modern apartment. It’s not called the Thieves Market without reason – I managed to ward off a couple of chancers by creating a lot of noise which sent them scurrying in embarrassment!  Boots for every occasion are displayed in long rowCamel Trains, assorted hardware, shimmering silks and satins and tables of dissected sheep sit beside piles of onions, potatoes and summer fruits.

Inspite of all the NGOs based in the city, the large numbers of destitute and homeless children are disturbing.  They beg with desperation and hunger in their eyes and sleep next to sewer pipes in the freezing winters for a bit of warmth.

On the outskirts of this ramshackle place, the tent houses (gers), the horses, goats and people still in traditional dress, stimulate your curiosity to go beyond this city and find the  true attraction of this wild, frMongolian Horsesee and fenceless country with its wild,  beautiful landscapes and its warm, welcoming people.

Advertisements