Mongolia is a land of vast open spaces and dramatic landscapes. From the high mountains of the Altai to the endless steppe, the country is home to some truly unique and breathtaking scenery.
And amidst all this natural beauty are a number of fascinating cities, each with its own distinct character. So, let’s get down to business and discuss the top five cities in Mongolia that you shouldn’t miss.
First, let’s look at the chart of the largest cities in Mongolia, based on population. As you can see, the following cities are the most populous.
1212.mn Mongolian national statistic
The history of Ulaanbaatar city begins in 1639, Khalkh princes recognized Zanabazar, son of Tusheet Khan Gombodorji, as the head of the Shariah religion and elevated him to the title of “Saint,” and erected a temple on Shireet White Lake as a result.
The temple got bigger and is now known as Ulaanbaatar (UB) or just UB. It is the capital of Mongolia and the biggest city in the country with almost 1.5 million people living there. The city is home to a number of important historical and cultural sites, as well as a lively nightlife scene.
There are many places you can visit in Ulaanbaatar capital city of Mongolia, from
- Choijin lama monastery
- International intellectual museum
- Hustai national park
- Genghis Khan Statue Complex
If you wanna check out more interesting stuff you can do in Ulaanbaatar check this post.
But somedays you don’t want to go look at museums, art galleries or see any of the historical sites. You want to cut loose, have some fun, and really experience Mongolia, like the locals. Then check out this post.
The city of Erdenet is Mongolia’s second-largest metropolis and the capital of Orkhon aimag/province. It is located in northern Mongolia approximately 80 kilometers from the border with Russia.
It is a relatively new town, having been established in 1974, and it is home to one of the world’s largest copper deposits. During the 1980s, most of Erdenet’s residents were Russians working in the mining sector, and today they still make up about 10% of the population. The city also has several Soviet-era constructions and monuments.
Places you should visit in Erdenet city
- The Mining Museum (in the Culture Palace on the central town square.)
- The Fraternity Monument dating from 1984 is on a hill offering a scenic view of the whole city in the northeastern part of Erdenet.
- Tourists are allowed to visit the mine by appointment. It is in the eastern part of the city, about 6 km (4 mi) from the centre.
- Blue Mongolia Complex ( in Erdenet there is an opportunity to view the marvels of 21 Mongolian provinces all at once! Attila’s heavenly whip makes this spot even more unique- historical monuments from each province are situated here.)
- Amarbayasgalant Monastery is a Buddhist monastery about 60 km (37 mi) northeast of Erdenet. It was founded between 1727 and 1737, partially destroyed by order of Khorloogiin Choibalsan in 1937 and reconstructed after 1975 using financial aid provided by the UNESCO.
Darkhan is the third largest city in Mongolia. It is located in the north of the country, about 200 kilometers from the capital Ulaanbaatar. Darkhan was founded in 1961 as a factory town and today it is an important industrial center.
Most of Darkhan is an industrial region which was built with extensive economic aid from the Soviet Union in 1961. The city is also home to a number of museums and parks.
Places you should visit in Darkhan City
- Tohi complex/ comfort complex/ (Tohi complex with the slogan “Toh will make you feel comfortable” was newly opened in Darkhan. In the complex, which has a pleasant interior design solution, you can get all the services that will make you feel comfortable, such as a restaurant, lounge, sauna, spa, and children’s play center.)
- The “Morin Khuur” complex
- Burhantai Uul/ Mountain with God
- Statue of Railwaymen
- Dad’s shoes (This statue of a 5-year-old boy named Dad’s Shoes symbolizes the birth of dozens of geniuses, scholars, and sports celebrities from the descendants of Darkhanians, who raised the name of the country not only in the country but also on the world stage.)
Mörön also spelled Murun, is the administrative center of Khövsgöl Aimag in Mongolia’s north. The lovely countryside of Khuvsgol Province, known as Mongolia’s Switzerland, attracts a lot of tourists. A number of historical sites can be found in the city as well.
Places you should visit in Mörön City
- The monument for Davaadorj, ( a Mongolian border guard from Khövsgöl who was killed in a skirmish on the Khovd/Xinjiang border in 1948, has been moved to the compound of the border troops, around 300 m northeast of the Central Square.)
- Khainzangiin Gelenkhüü memorial erected in front of the airport, (he was a Buddhist monk who tried to fly with wings made of sheep leather near the town of Jargalant in the 1930s.)
- The Museum of the province,( founded in 1949, is halfway between Central Square and the Wrestlers’ Stadium. It shows about 4000 objects, e.g., are traditional clothes and other items of minorities living in Khövsgöl Aimag.)
- The Wrestlers’ Stadium( is an interesting modern building in the eastern part of the town. In front of it, a memorial was erected to honour three famous wrestlers stemming from Mörön. A special park for children was laid out opposite the stadium.)
- Soyombo complex ( which was established to promote the Soyombo script, which is known as the peak of Zanabazar’s works, is located 3 kilometers from Muron. Visitors and travelers can not only learn about traditional customs and local areas in one place, but also get a wide range of services)
5. Choibalsan city
Choibalsan, previously known as Bayan Tümen until 1941, is the fourth-largest city in Mongolia. The name was changed to Choibalsan in honor of the communist leader Khorloogiin Choibalsan on the 20th anniversary of the Mongolian Revolution of 1921.
It is the capital of the province of Dornod. It is also becoming a popular tourist destination due to its rich history and beautiful landscape.
Places you should visit in Choibalsan City
- Statue of Choibalsang Marshal of Mongolia, two-time State Hero /In the old center of the city/
- Statue of Mongolian warriors / in the old center of the city /
- Statue of Ts. Damdinsuren, a 3-time state awardee, writer of the people’s art /in front of the central library of the province/
- Burto ujin statue /in the square in front of Kherlen Hotel/
- Monument of General Kuropatkin, the grave of the Soviet soldiers killed in the Khalkh river war /Northern outskirts of the city/
- A memorial erected at the site of the bombardment of Bayantumen /In the old center of the city/
- Museum of History and Ethnography
- Natural Museum
- Marshal of the Soviet Union G.K. Zhukov Museum
Ancient Mongolian Cities
Mongolia has a long history of urbanism, dating back to over 2000 years. The distinctive feature of historical Mongolian settlements is that they were founded amid a mostly nomadic population.
It is incorrect to believe that there were no cities in Mongolia or that everyone lived a completely nomadic lifestyle throughout history. There were many “Mongolian cities” in Mongolia throughout history. “Mongolian cities” refers both to those located inside Mongolia and those weakened by Mongol power.
There have been numerous settlements in Mongolia dating back to the prehistoric age, such as
- Norovlin Neolithic Settlement in Bulgan sum, Dornod Province
- Tamsagbulag Neolithic Settlement, Khalkhgol sum, Dornod Province
And more settlements after that in
- Xiongnu period (209 BC-AD 93)
- Rouran period (AD 330 – 555)
- Göktürk and Uighur period (AD 555-840)
- Khitan Liao period (AD 907-1125)
- Mongol Empire and Yuan period (AD 1206-1368)
- Northern Yuan period (AD 1368-1635)
- Qing period (AD 1691-1911)
But the most famous settlement is the Karakorum city, capital of the Mongol Empire.
Karakorum , Mongol Empire’s Capital
Karakorum served as the capital of the Mongol Empire from 1235 to 1260 and again during the 14–15th centuries under the Northern Yuan dynasty. Ogedei Khan, Chinggis Khan’s son, oversaw one of the largest empires in history while it was based here.
Its ruins are located in northwestern Övörkhangai Province of present-day Mongolia, near Kharkhorin. They form part of the upper Orkhon Valley World Heritage Site . Visitors can explore this historic site and see where some of biggest events in world history took place.
Do you have any questions or comments about the Mongolian Cities? Let us know in the comments below!
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