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Mongolia Economy - History

Mongolia Economy - History

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GDP (2008 est.): $9.557 billion.
GDP growth (2008): 8.9%.
Per capita GDP (2008 est.): $3200.

Budget: Income .............. $1,710 million Expenditure ... $1,950 million

Main Crops: Wheat, barley, potatoes, forage crops; sheep, goats, cattle, camels, horses .

Natural Resources: oil, coal, copper, molybdenum, tungsten, phosphates, tin, nickel, zinc, wolfram, fluorspar, gold.

Major Industries: Copper, construction materials, mining (particularly coal); food and beverage, processing of animal products .

The rapid political changes of 1990-91 marked the beginning of Mongolia's efforts to develop a market economy, but these efforts have been complicated and disrupted by the dissolution and continuing deterioration of the economy of the former Soviet Union. Prior to 1991, 80% of Mongolia's trade was with the former Soviet Union, and 15% was with other Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) countries. Mongolia was heavily dependent upon the former Soviet Union for fuel, medicine, and spare parts for its factories and power plants.

The former U.S.S.R. also served as the primary market for Mongolian industry. In the 1980s, Mongolia's industrial sector became increasingly important. By 1989, it accounted for an estimated 34% of material products, compared to 18% from agriculture. However, minerals, animals, and animal-derived products still constitute a large proportion of the country's exports. Principal imports included machinery, petroleum, cloth, and building materials.

In the late 1980s, the government began to improve links with noncommunist Asia and the West, and a tourism sector developed. As of January 1, 1991, Mongolia and the former Soviet Union agreed to conduct bilateral trade in hard currency at world prices.

Despite its external trade difficulties, Mongolia has continued to press ahead with reform. Privatization of small shops and enterprises is largely complete, and most prices have been freed. Privatization of large state enterprises has begun. Tax reforms also have begun, and the barter and official exchange rates were unified in early 1992.

Between 1990 and 1993, Mongolia suffered triple-digit inflation, rising unemployment, shortages of basic goods, and food rationing. During that period, economic output contracted by one-third. As market reforms and private enterprise took hold, economic growth began again in 1994-95. Unfortunately, since this growth was fueled in part by over-allocation of bank credit, especially to the remaining state-owned enterprises, economic growth was accompanied by a severe weakening of the banking sector. GDP grew by about 6% in 1995, thanks largely to a boom in copper prices. Average real economic growth leveled off to about 3.5% in 1996-99 due to the Asian financial crisis, the collapse of the Russian ruble in mid-1999, and worsening commodity prices, especially copper and gold.

Mongolia's GDP growth fell from 3.2% in 1999 to 1.1% in 2000 and 1.0% in 2001. The disappointing results can be attributed to the loss of 2.4 million livestock in bad weather and natural disasters in 2000 and 2001. Prospects for development outside the traditional reliance on nomadic, livestock-based agriculture are constrained by Mongolia's landlocked location and lack of basic infrastructure. Mongolia's best hope for accelerated growth is to attract more foreign investment. From 1990 to 2002, more than 2,399 foreign companies from 72 countries have invested a total of $660.5 million in Mongolia. Many believe this number could be dramatically increased if investors had more confidence that their investments would be adequately protected.


Mongolia is most famous for its remoteness and for its greatest hero, Genghis Khan. Both have influenced the culture and development of the nation in such a way as to make it a unique and fascinating place which has retained its own identity despite its position sandwiched between giant neighbours Russia and China. Mongolia is the 19th largest country in the world, yet with a population of less than 3 million most of whom live in the capital - it is the most sparsely populated independent country of all.


These days Mongolia is recognised to be a relatively safe and peaceful nation.


Mongolia's economy is quite unique in the world with one third of the population.


In the 13th century, when Kublai Khan ruled the Mongol Empire, Buddhism was favoured.


The Mongolian climate is really harsh so the tourist season is restricted to June.


When the city became the capital of the new Mongolian People's Republic in 1924, its name was changed to Ulaanbaatar (Улаанбаатар, Ulaanbaatar, classical Mongolian Ulaganbagatur, literally "Red Hero"). On the session of the 1st Great People's Khuraldaan of Mongolia in 1924, a majority of delegates expressed their wish to change the capital city's name to Baatar Khot ("Hero City"). However, under pressure from Turar Ryskulov, a Soviet activist of the Communist International, the city was named Ulaanbaatar Khot ("City of Red Hero"). [7]

In Europe and North America, Ulaanbaatar continued to be generally known as Urga or Khure until 1924, and afterward as Ulan Bator (a spelling derived from Улан-Батор , Ulan-Bator). The Russian spelling ("Улан-Батор") is the Russian phonetic equivalent of the Mongolian name, according to Russian spelling conventions. This form was defined two decades before the Mongolian name got its current Cyrillic script spelling and "Ulaanbaatar" transliteration (1941–1950) however, the name of the city was spelled Ulaanbaatar koto during the decade in which Mongolia used the Latin alphabet. Today, English speakers sometimes refer to the city as UB.


Human habitation at the site of Ulaanbaatar dates from the Lower Paleolithic, with a number of sites on Bogd Khan, Buyant-Ukhaa and Songinokhairkhan mountains, revealing tools which date from 300,000 years ago to 40,000–12,000 years ago. These Upper Paleolithic people hunted mammoth and woolly rhinoceros, the bones of which are found abundantly around Ulaanbaatar. [ citation needed ]

Before 1639

A number of Xiongnu-era royal tombs have been discovered around Ulaanbaatar, including the tombs of Belkh Gorge near Dambadarjaalin monastery and tombs of Songinokhairkhan. Located on the banks of the Tuul River, Ulaanbaatar has been well within the sphere of Turco-Mongol nomadic empires throughout history.

Wang Khan, Toghrul of the Keraites, a Nestorian Christian monarch whom Marco Polo identified as the legendary Prester John, is said to have had his palace here (the Black Forest of the Tuul River) and forbade hunting in the holy mountain Bogd Uul. The palace is said to be where Genghis Khan stayed with Yesui Khatun before attacking the Tangut in 1226. [ citation needed ]

Mobile monastery

Founded in 1639 as a yurt monastery, Ulaanbaatar, originally Örgöö (palace-yurt), was first located at Lake Shireet Tsagaan nuur (75 kilometres (47 miles) directly east of the imperial capital Karakorum) in what is now Burd sum, Övörkhangai, around 230 kilometres (143 miles) south-west from the present site of Ulaanbaatar, and was intended by the Mongol nobles to be the seat of Zanabazar, the first Jebtsundamba Khutughtu. Zanabazar returned to Mongolia from Tibet in 1651, and founded seven aimags (monastic departments) in Urga, later establishing four more. [8]

As a mobile monastery-town, it was often moved to various places along the Selenge, Orkhon and Tuul rivers, as supply and other needs would demand. During the Dzungar wars of the late 17th century, it was even moved to Inner Mongolia. [9] As the city grew, it moved less and less. [10]

The movements of the city can be detailed as follows: Shireet Tsagaan Nuur (1639), Khoshoo Tsaidam (1640), Khentii Mountains (1654), Ogoomor (1688), Inner Mongolia (1690), Tsetserlegiin Erdene Tolgoi (1700), Daagandel (1719), Usan Seer (1720), Ikh Tamir (1722), Jargalant (1723), Eeven Gol (1724), Khujirtbulan (1729), Burgaltai (1730), Sognogor (1732), Terelj (1733), Uliastai River (1734), Khui Mandal (1736), Khuntsal (1740), Udleg (1742), Ogoomor (1743), Selbe (1747), Uliastai River (1756), Selbe (1762), Khui Mandal (1772) and Selbe (1778). [ citation needed ]

In 1778, the city moved from Khui Mandal and settled for good at its current location, near the confluence of the Selbe and Tuul rivers, and beneath Bogd Khan Uul, at that time also on the caravan route from Beijing to Kyakhta. [11]

One of the earliest Western mentions of Urga is the account of the Scottish traveller John Bell in 1721:

What they call the Urga is the court, or the place where the prince (Tusheet Khan) and high priest (Bogd Jebtsundamba Khutugtu) reside, who are always encamped at no great distance from one another. They have several thousand tents about them, which are removed from time to time. The Urga is much frequented by merchants from China and Russia, and other places. [12]

By Zanabazar's death in 1723, Urga was the Mongolia's preeminent monastery in terms of religious authority. A council of seven of the highest-ranking lamas (Khamba Nomon Khan, Ded Khamba and five Tsorj) made most of the city's religious decisions. It had also become Outer Mongolia's commercial center. From 1733 to 1778, Urga moved in the vicinity of its present location. In 1754, the Erdene Shanzodba Yam ^ of Urga was given authority to supervise the administrative affairs of the Bogd's subjects. It also served as the city's chief judicial court. In 1758, the Qianlong Emperor appointed the Khalkha Vice General Sanzaidorj as the first Mongol amban of Urga with full authority to "oversee the Khuree and administer well all the Khutugtu's subjects". [13]

In 1761, a second amban was appointed for the same purpose, a Manchu one. A quarter-century later, in 1786, a decree issued in Peking gave right to the Urga ambans to decide the administrative affairs of Tusheet Khan and Setsen Khan territories. With this, Urga became the highest civil authority in the country. Based on Urga's Mongol governor Sanzaidorj's petition, the Qianlong Emperor officially recognized an annual ceremony on Bogd Khan Mountain in 1778 and provided the annual imperial donations. The city was the seat of the Jebtsundamba Khutugtus, two Qing ambans, and a Chinese trade town grew "four trees" or 4.24 km (2.63 mi) east of the city center at the confluence of the Uliastai and Tuul rivers. [ citation needed ]

By 1778, Urga may have had as many as ten thousand monks, who were regulated by a monastic rule, Internal Rule of the Grand Monastery or Yeke Kuriyen-u Doto'adu Durem. For example, in 1797 a decree of the 4th Jebtsundamba forbade "singing, playing with archery, myagman, chess, usury and smoking"). Executions were forbidden where the holy temples of the Bogd Jebtsundama could be seen, so capital punishment took place away from the city. [ citation needed ]

In 1839, the 5th Bogd Jebtsundamba moved his residence to Gandan Hill, an elevated position to the west of the Baruun Damnuurchin markets. Part of the city was moved to nearby Tolgoit. In 1855, the part of the camp that moved to Tolgoit was brought back to its 1778 location, and the 7th Bogd Jebtsundamba returned to the Zuun Khuree. The Gandan Monastery flourished as a center of philosophical studies. [ citation needed ]

Urga and the Kyakhta trade

Following the Treaty of Kyakhta in 1727, Urga (Ulaanbaatar) was a major point of the Kyakhta trade between Russia and China – mostly Siberian furs for Chinese cloth and later tea. The route ran south to Urga, southeast across the Gobi Desert to Kalgan, and southeast over the mountains to Peking. Urga was also a collection point for goods coming from further west. These were either sent to China or shipped north to Russia via Kyakhta, because of legal restrictions and the lack of good trade routes to the west. [ citation needed ]

By 1908, [14] there was a Russian quarter with a few hundred merchants and a Russian club and informal Russian mayor. East of the main town was the Russian consulate built in 1863 with an Orthodox church, post office and 20 Cossack guards. It was fortified in 1900 and briefly occupied by troops during the Boxer Rebellion. There was a telegraph line north to Kyakhta and southeast to Kalgan and weekly postal service along these routes. [ citation needed ]

Beyond the Russian consulate was the Chinese trading post called Maimaicheng, and nearby the palace of the Manchu viceroy. With the growth of Western trade at the Chinese ports the tea trade to Russia declined, some Chinese merchants left and wool became the main export. Manufactured goods still came from Russia, but most were now brought from Kalgan by caravan. The annual trade was estimated at 25 million rubles, nine-tenths in Chinese hands and one-tenth in Russian. [ citation needed ]

Independence and socialist era

The Moscow trade expedition of the 1910s estimated the population of Urga at 60,000, based on Nikolay Przhevalsky's study in the 1870s. [15]

The city's population swelled during the Naadam festival and major religious festivals to more than 100,000. In 1919, the number of monks had reached 20,000, up from 13,000 in 1810. [15]

In 1910, the amban Sando went to quell a major fight between Gandan lamas and Chinese traders started by an incident at the Da Yi Yu shop in the Baruun Damnuurchin market district. He was unable to bring the lamas under control, and was forced to flee back to his quarters. In 1911, with the Qing Dynasty in China headed for total collapse, Mongolian leaders in Ikh Khüree for Naadam met in secret on Mount Bogd Khan Uul and resolved to end 220 years of Manchu control of their country. [ citation needed ]

On 29 December 1911, the 8th Jeptsundamba Khutughtu was declared ruler of an independent Mongolia and assumed the title Bogd Khan. [10] Khüree as the seat of the Jebtsundamba Khutugtu was the logical choice for the capital of the new state. However, in the tripartite Kyakhta agreement of 1915 (between Russia, China, and Mongolia), Mongolia's status was changed to mere autonomy. [ citation needed ]

In 1919, Mongolian nobles, over the opposition of the Bogd Khan, agreed with the Chinese resident Chen Yi on a settlement of the "Mongolian question" along Qing-era lines, but before this settlement could be put into effect, Khüree was occupied by the troops of Chinese warlord Xu Shuzheng, who forced the Mongolian nobles and clergy to renounce autonomy completely. [ citation needed ]

The city changed hands twice in 1921. Firstly, on 4 February, a mixed Russian/Mongolian force led by White Russian warlord Roman von Ungern-Sternberg captured the city, freeing the Bogd Khan from Chinese imprisonment and killing a part of the Chinese garrison. Baron Ungern's capture of Urga was followed by clearing out Mongolia's small gangs of demoralized Chinese soldiers and, at the same time, looting and murder of foreigners, including a vicious pogrom that killed off the Jewish community. [16] [17] [18]

On 22 February 1921, the Bogd Khan was once again elevated the Great Khan of Mongolia in Urga. [19] However, at the same time that Baron Ungern was taking control of Urga, a Soviet-supported Communist Mongolian force led by Damdin Sükhbaatar was forming in Russia, and in March they crossed the border. Ungern and his men rode out in May to meet Red Russian and Red Mongolian troops, but suffered a disastrous defeat in June. [20]

In July 1921, the Communist Soviet-Mongolian army became the second conquering force in six months to enter Urga. Mongolia came to the control of the Soviet Russia. On 29 October 1924, the town was renamed Ulaanbaatar (Mongolian "red hero"), by the advice of T.R. Ryskulov, the Soviet representative in Mongolia. [ citation needed ]

During the socialist period, especially following the Second World War, most of the old ger districts were replaced by Soviet-style blocks of flats, often financed by the Soviet Union. Urban planning began in the 1950s, and most of the city today is the result of construction between 1960 and 1985. [21]

The Transmongolian Railway, connecting Ulaanbaatar with Moscow and Beijing, was completed in 1956 and cinemas, theaters, museums etc. were erected. On the other hand, most of the temples and monasteries of pre-socialist Khüree were destroyed following the anti-religious purges of the late 1930s. The Gandan monastery was reopened in 1944 when the U.S. Vice President Henry Wallace asked to see a monastery during his visit to Mongolia. [ citation needed ]

Democratic protests of 1989–1990

Ulaanbaatar was the site of demonstrations that led to Mongolia's transition to democracy and market economy in 1990. On 10 December 1989, protesters outside the Youth Culture Centre called for Mongolia to implement perestroika and glasnost in their full sense. Dissident leaders demanded free elections and economic reform. On 14 January 1990, the protesters, having grown from two hundred to over a thousand, met at the Lenin Museum in Ulaanbaatar. A demonstration in Sükhbaatar Square on 21 January followed. Afterwards, weekend demonstrations in January and February were held accompanied by the forming of Mongolia's first opposition parties. [ citation needed ]

On 7 March, ten dissidents assembled in Sükhbaatar Square and went on a hunger strike. Thousands of supporters joined them. More arrived the following day and the crowd grew more unruly. 71 people were injured, one fatally. On 9 March, the Communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) government resigned. The provisional government announced Mongolia's first free elections, which were held in July. The MPRP won the election and resumed power. [22]

Since 1990

Since Mongolia's transition to a market economy in 1990, the city has experienced further growth—especially in the ger districts, as construction of new blocks of flats had basically slowed to a halt in the 1990s. The population has more than doubled to over one million inhabitants. This causes a number of social, environmental, and transportation problems. In recent years, construction of new buildings has gained new momentum, especially in the city center, and apartment prices have skyrocketed. [ citation needed ]

In 2008, Ulaanbaatar was the scene of riots after the Mongolian Democratic, Civic Will Party and Republican parties disputed the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party's victory in the parliamentary elections. A four-day state of emergency was declared, the capital was placed under a 22:00 to 08:00 curfew, and alcohol sales banned [23] following these measures, rioting did not resume. [24] This was the first deadly riot in modern Ulaanbaatar's history.

In April 2013, Ulaanbaatar hosted the 7th Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies, and has also lent its name to the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security. Since 27 February 2019, the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar and Governor of the Capital City has been Amarsaikhan Sainbuyan of the Mongolian People's Party. [25]

Ulaanbaatar is located at about 1,350 metres (4,430 ft) above mean sea level, slightly east of the centre of Mongolia on the Tuul River, a sub-tributary of the Selenge, in a valley at the foot of the mountain Bogd Khan Uul. Bogd Khan Uul is a broad, heavily forested mountain rising 2,250 metres (7,380 ft) to the south of Ulaanbaatar. It forms the boundary between the steppe zone to the south and the forest-steppe zone to the north.

It is also one of the oldest reserves in the world, being protected by law since the 18th century. The forests of the mountains surrounding Ulaanbaatar are composed of evergreen pines, deciduous larches and birches, while the riverine forest of the Tuul River is composed of broad-leaved, deciduous poplars, elms and willows. As a point of reference, Ulaanbaatar lies on roughly the same latitude as Vienna, Munich, Orléans and Seattle. It lies on roughly the same longitude as Chongqing, Hanoi and Jakarta. [ citation needed ]


Owing to its high elevation, its relatively high latitude, its location hundreds of kilometres from any coast, and the effects of the Siberian anticyclone, Ulaanbaatar is the coldest national capital in the world, [26] with a monsoon-influenced, cold semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk, USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 3b [27] ) that closely borders a subarctic climate (Dwc) and a warm-summer humid continental climate (Dwb). [ citation needed ]

The city features brief, warm summers and long, bitterly cold and dry winters. The coldest January temperatures, usually at the time just before sunrise, are between −36 and −40 °C (−32.8 and −40.0 °F) with no wind, due to temperature inversion. Most of the annual precipitation of 267 millimetres (10.51 in) falls from May to September. The highest recorded precipitation in the city was 659 millimetres or 25.94 inches at the Khureltogoot Astronomical Observatory on Mount Bogd Khan Uul. Ulaanbaatar has an average annual temperature of −0.4 °C or 31.3 °F, [28] making it the coldest capital in the world (almost as cold as Nuuk, Greenland, but Greenland is not independent). Nuuk has a tundra climate with consistent cold temperatures throughout the year. Ulaanbaatar's annual average is brought down by its cold winter temperatures whereas it is significantly warm from late April to early October.

The city lies in the zone of discontinuous permafrost, which means that building is difficult in sheltered aspects that preclude thawing in the summer, but easier on more exposed ones where soils fully thaw. Suburban residents live in traditional yurts that do not protrude into the soil. [29] Extreme temperatures in the city range from −42.2 °C (−44.0 °F) in January and February 1957 to 39.0 °C (102.2 °F) in July 1988. [30]

Climate data for Ulaanbaatar
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) −2.6
Average high °C (°F) −15.6
Daily mean °C (°F) −21.6
Average low °C (°F) −25.9
Record low °C (°F) −42.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 2
Average rainy days 0.1 0.03 0.2 2 7 13 16 14 8 2 0.2 0.2 63
Average snowy days 8 7 7 7 3 0.3 0.2 0.4 2 6 8 10 59
Average relative humidity (%) 78 73 61 48 46 54 60 63 59 60 71 78 62
Mean monthly sunshine hours 179.1 204.8 265.2 262.5 299.3 269.0 249.3 258.3 245.7 227.5 177.4 156.4 2,794.5
Source 1: Pogoda.ru.net [30]
Source 2: NOAA (sun, 1961–1990) [31]

Ulaanbaatar is divided into nine districts (Düüregs): Baganuur, Bagakhangai, Bayangol, Bayanzürkh, Chingeltei, Khan Uul, Nalaikh, Songino Khairkhan and Sükhbaatar. Each district is subdivided into khoroos, of which there are 173. Each düüreg also serves as a constituency that elects one or more representatives into the State Great Khural, the national parliament.

The capital is governed by a Citizens' Representatives Khural of the Capital city (city council) with 45 members, elected every four years. The Prime Minister of Mongolia appoints the Governor of the Capital city and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar with four year terms upon city council's nomination. When his predecessor Sainbuyangiin Amarsaikhan became member of State Great Khural in July 2020, First Deputy Governor of the capital city Jantsangiin Batbayasgalan was elected as acting Governor of the Capital city and Mayor of Ulaanbaatar. Ulaanbaatar is governed as an independent first-level region, separate from the surrounding Töv Aimag.

The city consists of a central district built in Soviet 1940s- and 1950s-style architecture, surrounded by and mingled with residential concrete towerblocks and large ger districts. In recent years, many of the towerblocks' ground floors have been modified and upgraded to small shops, and many new buildings have been erected—some illegally, as some private companies erect buildings without legal licenses/permits in forbidden places.

Although administratively part of Ulaanbaatar, Nalaikh and Baganuur are separate cities. Bagakhangai and Baganuur are noncontiguous exclaves, the former located within the Töv Province, the latter on the border between the Töv and Khentii provinces.

The largest corporations and conglomerates of Mongolia are almost all headquartered in Ulaanbaatar. In 2017 Ulaanbaatar had 5 billionaires and 90 multimillionaires with net worth above 10 million dollars. [33] [34] Major Mongolian companies include MCS Group, Gatsuurt LLC, Genco, MAK, Altai Trading, Tavan Bogd Group, Mobicom Corporation, Bodi, Shunkhlai, Monnis and Petrovis. While not on the level of multinational corporations, most of these companies are multi-sector conglomerates with far-reaching influence in the country.

Ulaanbaatar (Urga) has been a key location where the economic history and wealth creation of the nation has played out. Unlike the highly mobile lifestyle of herders nomadizing between winter and summer pastures Urga was set up to be a semi-permanent residence of the high lama Zanabazar. It stood in one location (Khoshoo Tsaidam) for an unusually long period of 15 years from 1640 to 1654 before Zanabazar moved it east to the foot of Mount Saridag in the Khentii Mountains. Here he set about building a permanent monastery town with stone buildings. Urga stayed at Mount Saridag for a full 35 years and was indeed assumed to be permanent there when Oirats suddenly invaded the region in 1688 and burnt down the city. With a major part of his life's work destroyed Zanabazar had to take the mobile portion of Urga and flee to Inner Mongolia.

More than half the wealth created in Urga in the period from 1639 to 1688 is thought to have been lost in 1688. Only in 1701 did Urga return to the region and start a second period of expansion, but it had to remain mobile until the end of the 70-year long Dzungar-Qing Wars in 1757. After settling down in its current location in 1778 Urga saw sustained economic growth but most of the wealth went to the Buddhist clergy, nobles as well as the temporary Shanxi merchants based in the eastern and western China-towns of Urga. There were numerous companies called puus (пүүс) and temple treasuries called jas (жас) which functioned as businesses but none of these survived the Communist period. During the Mongolian People's Republic private property was only marginally tolerated while most assets were state-owned. The oldest companies still operating in Ulaanbaatar date to the early MPR. Only the Gandantegchinlen Monastery has been operating non-stop for 205 years with a 6-year gap during World War II but whether it can be seen as a business is still debated.

As the main industrial center of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar produces a variety of consumer goods [35] and is responsible for about two-thirds of Mongolia's total gross domestic product (GDP). [36]

The transition to a market economy in 1990, which has led to a shift towards service industries making up 43% of the city's GDP, along with rapid urbanization and population growth has so far correlated with an increase in GDP. [37]

Mining makes up the second-largest contributor to Ulaanbaatar's GDP at 25%. North of the city are several gold mines, including the Boroo Gold Mine, and foreign investment in the sector has allowed for growth and development. However, in light of a noticeable drop in GDP during the financial crisis of 2008, as demand for mining exports dropped, [37] there has been movement towards diversifying the economy. [36]

Mainstream tourist guide books usually recommend the Gandantegchinlen Monastery [38] with the large Janraisig statue, the socialist monument complex at Zaisan Memorial with its great view over the city, the Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan, Sükhbaatar Square and the nearby Choijin Lama Temple. [39]

The city also houses numerous museums, two of the prominent ones being the National Museum of Mongolia and the Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum. Popular destinations for day trips are the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, the Manzushir monastery ruins on the southern flank of Bogd Khan Uul and Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue.

Important shopping districts include the 3rd Microdistrict Boulevard (simply called Khoroolol or "the District"), Peace Avenue around the State Department Store (simply called Ikh Delguur or "Great Store") and the Narantuul "Black Market" area (simply called Zakh or "the Market").

Ulaanbaatar presently has three large cinemas, one modern ski resort, two large indoor stadiums, several large department stores and one large amusement park. Food, entertainment and recreation venues are steadily increasing in variety. KFC, Round Table Pizza, Cinnabon, Louis Vuitton, Ramada and Kempinski have opened branches in key locations.

The skyline is dominated by the 105-metre-tall (344-foot) Blue Sky Tower. A 309-metre-tall (1,014-foot) tower called the Morin Khuur Tower (Horsehead Fiddle Tower) is planned to be built next to the Central Stadium. [40] [41] and the 41-floor Mak Tower being built by South Korean "Lotte Construction and Engineering".

Mongolian brief history

Mongolia's history is extremely long it spans over 5,000. "The Mongols has little inclination to ally with other nomadic peoples of northern Asia and, until the end of the 12th century, the Mongols were little more than a loose confederation of rival clans, It was in the late 12th century that a 20-year-old Mongol named Temujin emerged and managed to unite most of the Mongol tribes. In 1189 he was given the honorary name of Genghis Khan, meaning 'universal king'. No Mongolian leader before or since has united the Mongolians so effectively."

Manchu controlled Mongolia from the year 1691 to 1911. Thanks to the fall of the Manchu dynasty that controlled stopped. A group of Mongol princes "proclaimed" the living Buddha of Urga to be ruler. "Mongolians have always taken wholeheartedly to Tibetan Buddhism and the links between Mongolia and Tibet are old and deep." In 1921 there were 110,000 lamas or monks in Mongolia living in 700 monasteries. In the 1930s thousands of monks were arrested. Some believed that by the year 1939 3% of Mongolia's population, at the time, was executed or out of 27,000 17,000 were monks.

In the year 1990 the freedom of religion returned. Since then a revival of Buddhism and other religions has occurred. Mongolia won its independence in 1911. In 1921 the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party government started. "When the last living Buddha died in 1924 ("with the rise of Tibetan Buddhism in the 16th century, a living Buddha would be named"), the Mongolian People's Republic was established. It took 22 years for China to recognize this. All subsequent Monolian texts were written in script until Stalin forcibly replaced it with Russian Cyrillic in the 1940s. The text was written in scripts named SECRET HISTORY scripts. Since 1944 the Russian Cyrillic alphabet has been used to write Mongolian.

A new constitution came into force in 1960, and Mongolia was admitted to the United Nations in 1961. Mongolia traditionally supported the Soviet Union. In January 1992 the president of Mongolia, Ponsalmaagiyh Ochirbat institute a new constitution. "In 1993, Birus Yeltsin, Russia's president and Ochirbar signed a new treaty." Also Ochirbat was re-elected in 1993.

In the 1980s Mongolia fell in control of Jambyn Batmonkh, a decentralize heartened by the Soviet reforms under Mikhail Gorbachev. "By the late 1980s, relations with China even started to thaw and full diplomatic relations were established in1989. "In March 1990, large pro-democracy protests erupted in the square in front of the parliament building in Ulaan Baatar and hunger strikes were held." Also lots of things happened at a rapid paste around that same month. Some of which are: Batmonkh lost power new political parties sprang up and hunger strikes and protests continued. In May Mongolia was awarded from the government to have multiparty election in June 1990. The communists won the elections. In the first half of the year 1996 Mongolia was "beset" by wild fires that raged for more than three months and lost 41,000 sq mi (106,000 sq km) of forest and rangeland. In the year 1997 Ochirbat lost the election because of the economy. In the year 2000 the elections resulted in nearly a total win for the MPRP. In fact the total amount of seats won by the MPRP was 95%.


Mongolia, with a land area of about 1.6 million sq. km. and a population of about 3.29 million is the world’s most sparsely populated country. The land ranges from desert to semi-desert to grassy steppe, with mountains in the west and south-west. Arable land is estimated to constitute only 0.8 percent of this vast country. Landlocked between Russia and China, Mongolia has shown steady growth in the recent years.


The 40 metres Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue on horseback on the bank of the Tuul River at Tsonjin Boldog (54 km east of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar).

Modern humans reached Mongolia approximately 40,000 years ago. In 1206 Genghis Khan founded the Mongol Empire which became the largest land empire in world history. Mongolia later came under Chinese rule and won its independence from China in 1921. The Mongolian People's Republic was then established with Soviet influence. Mongolia became a UN member state in 1961. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Mongolia saw its own relatively peaceful democratic revolution in the early 1990’s which led to a multi-party system, a new constitution of 1992, and a transition to a market economy. This transition resulted in an upheaval of structures that had been in place for 70 years and saw Mongolia's trade with Russia decline by 80% and had a strong impact on peoples’ lives.

Throughout history, livestock raising by nomadic herders has been the major economic activity. In the early 20th century industrialization began, spurred by the Soviet Union and largely based on wool processing and extraction of minerals, mainly coal, copper, gold and fluorspar.

Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world. Pasture or desert comprise 90 percent of its land the remainder is forested or cultivated. Most Mongolians live in rural areas, and about a third are nomadic or semi-nomadic, engaged in livestock herding.

Mongolia has achieved remarkable successes in the last two decades. It has gone through a very rapid transition and established a democratic system underpinned by free and fair elections with solid institutions. It has established a well functioning market economy. Many countries are now learning from the Mongolian experience.

Mongolia is a party to over 30 international conventions on human rights and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in 2005 and passed the anti-corruption legislation in 2006. It has established a range of formally independent institutions strengthening democratic governance. Mongolia has also joined many environment-related UN Conventions and International Treaties and passed more than 30 environmental laws and reforming many other laws. The Gender Development Index (GDI), which measures gender equalities in three basic dimensions of human development: health, education, and command over economic resources, increased from 0.677 in 2005 to 1.03 in 2019. Likewise, the Gender Inequality Index (GII) decreased from 0.401 in 2005 to 0.322 in 2018, which placed Mongolia in the 71st position out of 162 countries. In terms of the Global Gender Gap Index (GGI) published by the World Economic Forum, Mongolia ranked 79th out of 153 countries in 2018 with the score of 0.706.

Mongolia has enacted various pieces of legislation to reduce disparities in society for women. While the proportion of female parliamentarians was 14.5% before the parliamentary election in 2016, which was below the world and Asia-Pacific averages of 22.9% and 18.8% respectively, the current statistics show that the proportion has increased by 17.1% consisting of 13 female parliamentarians out of 76 Members of Parliament (2020).

Cultural life

Traditional Hui cultural life was intimately interrelated with Islam. The Hui woman traditionally kept house her role was domestic, and she could not undertake outside work. When they went out, Hui women typically wore the veil to conceal their faces, and they were forbidden to talk to males. The traditional culture has undergone changes, however, as Hui women have done farmwork and production work in factories. Some Hui women, especially in urban areas, have adopted contemporary fashion styles, including Western dress.

Yinchuan is at the centre of Ningxia’s culture. Notable are several examples of Buddhist architecture there from the Xi Xia period, as well as imperial and royal Xi Xia tombs about 22 miles (35 km) west of the city. Long sections of the Great Wall of China are extant in northern Ningxia, portions of which are accessible from Yinchuan and other locales. About 30 miles (50 km) south of Yinchuan, on a hillside by the Huang He near Qingtongxia, stands the Buddhist monument of the 108 Pagodas, which dates to the Yuan dynasty (1206–1368). The pagodas, each of which is 8 to 11.5 feet (2.5 to 3.5 metres) high, are arranged up the slope in the form of a large triangle. In the south, situated along the northern route of the ancient Silk Road some 35 miles (55 km) northwest of Guyuan, are a series of grottoes at Mount Xumi that display well-preserved Buddhist statues created during the 6th to the 10th century the tallest of them measures over 65 feet (20 metres) in height. Farther south, the Liupan Mountains are also an important tourist destination.

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The rise of Genghis Khan

The empire was founded in 1206, when Temijin, son of a Mongol chieftain, assumed power and changed his name to Chinggis Khan (styled as “Genghis Khan” in the West and meaning “universal ruler”). The young warrior had already defeated the Mongols’ most powerful leader and fomented dissatisfaction among his people’s aristocracy. But he proved to be one of history’s greatest leaders.

At the time, Mongolia’s nomadic farmers relied on the land to sustain them. Their flocks of goats, sheep, horses, and other animals were dependent on abundant grass and water, and Mongols had to travel frequently to sustain them. Drought and disease could wipe out their livelihoods quickly.

Genghis Khan helped allay this sense of precariousness. He united Mongolia’s tribes and supported China’s peasant economy by stabilizing taxes and establishing rural cooperatives. He reformed his people’s laws and ushered in a military-feudal form of government. He embraced trade and religious freedom, and adopted advanced technology of the time, such as stirrups, composite bows, leather armor, and gunpowder.

Genghis Khan’s loyal warriors were rewarded for their fealty and became the most successful army of their time. (Learn about the quest to find Genghis Khan’s lost tomb.)

Local government

The country is divided administratively into 21 aimags (provinces) and the hot (municipality) of Ulaanbaatar, which has independent administrative status. The provinces are headed by governors, appointed by the prime minister, and local assembly (khural) chairmen, elected in local government elections, held every four years. The governor of Ulaanbaatar municipality is also mayor of the city. The provinces are subdivided into sums (districts) and bags (subdistricts), and Ulaanbaatar consists of several düüreg (urban districts). The provincial-level government structure is repeated at these lower levels. The governors and assembly chairmen of the provinces and Ulaanbaatar are relatively powerful, with their own administrations and budgets.

Watch the video: The History of Mongolia 1911-2020 (May 2022).