The city was founded in 1639 as nomadic Buddhist monastic center and permanently situated in its present location in 1778. After the establishment of the Mongolian People's Republic in 1924, it got its current name - Ulan Bator, literally meaning “Red Hero”. Today the capital of Mongolia is undergoing an industrial revolution and is rapidly growing.
Among the main highlights of this unique town are firstly the symbolic totem of independence - the famous Sukhbaatar Square named after a revolution hero. Damdin Sükhbaatar declared Mongolia’s final independence from the Chinese and today a statue of him atop a horse stands in the middle of the centrally located square. The city's main buildings are located near the square, such as the Natural History Museum displaying the abundant complex of the Mongolia's natural heritage and historical legacy. The museum shows the culture and economic development of the country from the Stone Age to the 1990 democratic revolution.
Another must-visit in Ulan Bator is the outstanding Gandan Monastery. Literally translated as ‘the great place of complete joy’ the temple represents the Buddhist cultural heritage of Mongolia. The monastery was built in 1809 on the order of Qing dynasty Emperor Jiajing and today serves as a Buddhist college. Gandan's major highlight is the biggest Bronze Buddha in the world. The 28 meters high statue is covered in gold and decorated with numerous sparkling jewels. Because of its unique appearance and historical value the bronze Buddha is considered one of the most precious national treasures of Mongolia.