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Ulan Bator City Map

Ulan Bator (literally "Red Hero") is the capital and largest city of Mongolia. An independent municipality, the city is not part of any province, and its population as of 2008 is just over one million.

Located in north central Mongolia, the city lies at an elevation of about 1,310 metres (4,300 ft) in a valley on the Tuul River. It is the cultural, industrial, and financial heart of the country. It is the center of Mongolia's road network, and is connected by rail to both the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia and the Chinese railway system.

The city was founded in 1639 as a movable (nomadic) Buddhist monastic centre. In 1778 it settled permanently at its present location, the junction of the Tuul and Selbe rivers. Before that it changed location twenty-eight times, with each location being chosen ceremonially. In the twentieth century, Ulan Bator grew into a major manufacturing centre.

Ulan Bator has been given numerous names in its history. From 1639 to 1706, it was known as Urga, and from 1706 to 1911 as Kuren, Da-Kuren, or Kulun. Upon independence in 1911, with both the secular government and the Bogd Khan's palace present, the city's name changed to Nislel Xuree. It is called Bogdiin Khuree in the folk song "Praise of Bogdiin Khuree".

When the city became the capital of the new Mongolian People's Republic in 1924, its name was changed to Ulan Bator in honor of Mongolia's national hero Damdin Sukhbaatar, whose warriors, shoulder-to-shoulder with the Soviet Red Army, liberated Mongolia from Roman von Ungern-Sternberg's troops and Chinese occupation. His statue still adorns Ulan Bator's central square.