Ulaanbaatar from north

Ulaanbaatar ("red hero") from the north

This panorama of Mongolia's capital city (pop. just under a million) shows much of downtown from the north. Much has changed in UB, as it is called by the locals, in the past 10 years. A lot of new buildings have sprung up, and there are real traffic jams now.

Ulaanbaatar in fall

Ulaanbaatar in fall

Most people live in Soviet-era apartment buildings, although a lot of newcomers to the city live in sprawling ger districts on the outskirts of the city.

Ulaanbaatar Hotel

Ulaanbaatar Hotel

A statue of Lenin still stands in front of the Ulaanbaatar Hotel, one of Ulaanbaatar's most famous soviet-era hotel.

Bogd Khan Palace, Ulaanbaatar

Bogd Khan Palace

The palalce of the former Bogd Khan who led Mongolia until the early 20th century, still stands.

Zaisan monument

Zaisan Monument outside Ulaanbaatar

One of the monuments honouring Soviet accomplishments in days gone by. It's still a popular site for visitors because of the good view over UB.

Chingelei mountain Ulaanbaatar

Herder on Chingeltei mountain

Although Ulaanbaatar is big, one is never far from nature. Take one of the city buses to its terminus and start walking (bus 18 for this mountain, 7 for Bogd Khan on the south side). Chingeltei is one of the four holy mountains surrounding Ulaanbaatar, and has enjoyed protection for many centuries.

Powerplant #4 in Ulaanbaatar

Powerplant #4

Pollution can get very bad in winter, partly because the two big powerplant for the city stand just west of the city, the prevailing direction of the wind.

Pollution over Ulaanbaatar

Pollution over Ulaanbaatar in winter

The pollution is especially bad in winter, when many people heat their gers with coal.

Next: life in the countryside