Mongolia is one of the most interesting countries in Asia and one of the least explored. There are no beaches and SPAs, no comfort and other usual tourist attractions. The famous historical Mongol Empire appeared in 1206, and its supreme khan was Genghis Khan, distinguished by incredible cruelty. All Mongolia is one big attraction with its great history, untouched nature, as well as a unique culture of local people and great expanses of the vast steppes.
In Mongolia, there are gorgeous mountain ranges and ridges, and the mysterious Gobi Desert. The country’s name comes from the people of Mongolia, which probably means “brave” or “courageous.” Mongolia is a Buddhist country. In 1920 about one-third of the male population was monks, and there operated around 750 monasteries. History of Mongolia is full of great victories, loud defeats, and unsolved mysteries.
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Gandan Monastery is located in the centre of Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia. This Buddhist monastery consists of a complex of different age’s buildings, including: churches, prayer pagoda, a library and even a Buddhist University (established in 1970). The greatness and magnitude of Gandan strikes imagination, especially on the background of the surrounding low-rise houses and yurts. In the courtyard of the monastery, there is a statue of Buddha. In the past Gandan monastery used to be a school for the study of higher Buddhist dogma. At first, it had been a wooden building with a golden roof, but soon there were built the stone walls. By the end of the 19th century it had been a home to over 14,000 lama-monks. The monastery is still functioning: there live more than 600 monks, and it is visited by thousands of people annually.
Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts
The Fine Arts Zanabazar Museum is the first and most important in Mongolia. It was first opened in 1924 in the former residence of the Bogdo Khan, but in 1956, the museum moved to a purpose-built three-storeyed building. The height of the museum walls was up to 5 meters, to accommodate such exposure, like skeletons of giant Tarbosaurus. Soon the building was no longer accommodating the museum’s collection, and collection moved to another building. Great exhibition of the museum is replete with masterpieces of national art, everyday objects, weapons, paintings and sculptures of nomadic civilization, scrolls, statues of Buddha, traditional robes, and masks. The museum highlights are the walls of caves, which used to be inhabited by primitive people, with rock paintings, images of animals and ornaments and made of bronze items.
Choi Jin Lama Temple Museum
Choi Jin Temple complex was built in the 20th century. It is located in the heart of Ulaanbaatar and definitely is a precious pearl of Mongolian architecture. Choi Jin temple served as the residence of Khan’s brother. The building was built in the style of Chinese architecture, and it took 30 years to finish it (1904-1938). For its decoration were used 2 tons of pure silver. The museum has a rich exposition: beautiful paintings, masks for ceremonies, and many relics of Tibetan Buddhism. On the territory of Choi Jin temple, there are 5 churches; each of them is rich in treasures and full of national heritage.
Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
Not far from Ulan Bator in the midst of the rocks, there is located the most beautiful park of Mongolia – Gorkhi-Terelj. This territory was previously a part of the sanctuary, and indeed, there reigns pristine beauty. Beautiful rocks have an unusual shape: one of them is similar to a sleeping dinosaur, the other looks like a huge turtle. Gorkhi-Terelj is the place of extraordinary beauty with a glacial Hagiin Har Lake, a Buddhist temple and a wooden bridge over the Tula River. On the territory of the reserve, there had been discovered a natural park with magnificent sculptures of dinosaurs. It is home to the local nomads, who, like many years ago still live in yurts and ride horses. In these places, there are about 50 species of animals and 250 of birds, as well as 1,200 plants, and nearby there is a beautiful coniferous taiga. You can stay there for some time and simply sleep in a tent, swim in the clean waters of the river and enjoy the fantastic scenery. There reign peace and quiet that far away from the bustling city life.