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Mongolia -> ULAANBAATAR
ULAANBAATAR  
Ulaanbaatar Capital District

The capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, was originally founded as a mobile yurt monastery in 1639. Back then, the city was known as Örgöö and was located about 420km from its present site. The monastery was meant to be the home of a five year old Zanabazar, the head of Mongolian Buddhism. Because the city consisted of felt tents, it was able to change locations about 25 times until it became too large and acquired its present location in 1778. The name was changed to Ikh Khuree ("Great Camp") and was under the rule of the Living Buddha. UB, as it's known to many foreigners, changed power between the Chinese and Soviet Union until it gained its independence (from China) in 1924. The city was named Ulaanbaatar ("Red Hero") in honor of Damdin Sükhbaatar, who formed the triumphant Communist Mongolian force. The Khandgard (garuda), a mythical bird in Buddhism and Hinduism, was adopted as the city's official symbol. Under the Soviet Communist influence, UB underwent massive urban planning, which unfortunately, destroyed many of the Mongolian temples and monasteries.

Many people visit Ulaanbaatar in July to witness the famous Naadam Festival. While smaller Naadams are held all over the country, the Ulaanbaatar Naadam is the main attraction. Naadam, meaning 'holiday' or 'festival', is a mix of family reunion, fair, and Olympics, originating in the nomad gatherings and hunting events of the Mongol armies. There is singing and dancing, but the main events are the wrestling and archery competitions.



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