Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mongolian Monuments - II

More Mongolian monuments, this time outside of Ulaanbaatar.

Camel in Terelj
Shaman on the western highway out of Ulaanbaatar

Цонжин Болдог - Tsonjin Boldog

OK, in the last piece about monuments, I said that Sühbaatar's statue was the most famous, but this one below may be more famous now - at least among foreigners, who've seen it in the news somewhere. (Sühbaatar's statue, being almost 70 years old and from a time when Mongolia was largely closed to the Occident, is unknown to most foreigners, even if it has emotional resonance for Mongolians.) Tsonjin Boldog is a vast and interesting historical 'village' of sorts, but the centerpiece, of course, is the massive, massive statue of Chingis Khaan on a horse.

The giant statue of Chingis Khaan at Tsonjin Bodlog
Smaller equestrian statue guarding the way to Chingis
The statue is so massive, in fact, that you can climb the stairs inside it and walk out onto the horse's head.

Chingis Khaan's face, seen from the top of his horse's head
Chingis Khaan's whip
Covered in glistening metal and sharp angles, and wearing a frown, this Chingis statue projects a hard, rough image. It's appropriate given his reputation as a warrior, but also quite different from the effect of the mellow, aged-bronze Chingis who watches the government building like a wise ancestor. Tsonjin Boldog's statue is bigger and better-known, but the one in Parliament is a better statue, in my opinion at least.

Эрдэнэт - Erdenet

Erdenet is the second-largest city in Mongolia.

The Russian-Mongolian Friendship Monument. (Найрамдал is 'friendship' in Mongolian. Дружба must be 'friendship' in Russian.)
Large Buddha statue outside town.
Bulldozer in Erdenet
Turtle? Maybe? I really don't know.
Anandyn Amar (Анандын Амар), 1886-1941. Early leader of the Mongolian People's Republic who was purged by Choibalsan.
Anandyn Amar
Odd-looking tower. I couldn't find out what it represents.

Хархорин - Kharhorin

Kharhorin: better-known in the outside world as Karakorum, once the capital of the Mongol Empire.

In front of City Hall

Stylized 'lion' guarding the bridge over a stream. This is on the way to City Hall and the post office.
More lions at Erdene Züü (Эрдэнэ Зүү) Monastery.

Цэцэрлэг - Tsetserleg

Viktor Stanislavovich Kiyakovsky (Виктор Станиславович Кияковский), 1899-1932. The other side reads: Монголын ард түмний эрх чөлөө, тусгаар тогтнолын төлөө амь насаа зориулсан зөвлөлтийн эрэлхэг чекистэд, "To the gallant Soviet secret service member who dedicated his life to the freedom and independence of the Mongolian people." Google turned up only a single English search result for him [1].
Монгол улсын өрлөг жанжин Г. ДЭМИД - Mongolian Marhsal G. Demid

Statue of a wrestler in Tsetserleg

Tower by the government building in Tsetserleg

The Buddha on Bulgan Mountain in Tsetserleg

Children playing by the feet of the Buddha
Sheep on a cliff outside Tsetserleg

Хашаат - Khashaat

Four Friendly Animals, near Khashaat sum
Giant star in the middle of Khashaat sum. Erected in 1971, it celebrates 50 years of  the Mongolian People's party.
Socialist star in Khashaat sum
Socialist star in Khashaat sum

And finally, my favorite little statue, the one that I saw almost every day for three years.

Book in front of the school in Khashaat sum


  1. The result is for the book White Terror: Cossack Warlords of the Trans-Siberian, by Jamie Bisher.

Mongolian Monuments - I (Ulaanbaatar)

Since my last posts were about Хөшөө Цайдам and the word хөшөө 'statue,' it's only fair I show off Mongolia's statues. As the capital and home to almost half the population, Ulaanbaatar has the largest share of Mongol monuments.

The most important statues are in Sühbaatar Square (Сүхбаатарын Талбай - Sühbaataryn Talbai), in the very heart of the city, in front of the Parliament building. And in the very heart of Sühbaatar Square, of course, is the statue of Damdiny Sühbaatar himself.

Монгол ардын хувьсгалантын баатар Д. Сүхбаатар - D. Sühbaatar, hero of the Mongolian Revolution. Standing in the center of Sühbaatar Square, in the center of capital city, this is the country's most famous and iconic statue. Images of it are seen, and recognized, all over.
Sühbaatar (usually transliterated Sukhbaatar) played a pivotal role in the Mongolian Revolution, in which Mongolia gained independence from the Qing dynasty. As a result, he is one of the best-known historical figures in Mongolia, and he is the only person other than Chingis Khaan to appear on Mongolian money. The large Soviet-style square in UB was named after him, and his statue (erected in 1946) has become a national symbol.

View of Sühbaatar Square from the south



Mongolian script on the east face of the statue
Staring back at Sühbaatar from across the square is a statue of Chingis Khaan. Seated on his throne he guards the house of Mongolian government with his descendants and Ögedei and Khubilai Khaan on either side, announced by two mounted warriors in front.

Across the square from Sühbaatar, Chingis Khaan himself watches over the country from the steps of the Parliament building. Note the two equestrian statues in front.

Close-up of the Great Khan. This is the closest I got. Then the police stopped me.

Diagonally across the street from the square to the southwest (and directly across from the central post office) is a much smaller statue of S. Zorig (С. Зориг). Leader of Mongolia's democratization in the 1990s, he was murdered in 1998, shortly before he was to become prime minister. His killer remains unknown.

This statue, on the corner of Peace Avenue southwest of Sühbaataar Square, commemorates Zorig. It reads, С. Зориг - Монголын ард түмнээс, "S. Zorig: from the Mongolian people."

On center median of the road between the National Circus and the State Department Store (Улсын Их Дэлгүүр) there is a monument to the Beatles. Bronze images of John, George, and Ringo stroll across a vaguely heart-shaped brick wall, while Paul lingers behind, staring at you. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find any pictures I took of them. I only have a picture of the reverse side of the wall, which features an anonymous guitarist. However, it's very easy to find the statue on Google.

Guitarist, on the the avenue connecting the State Department Store and the National Circus. The other side of this wall has statues of the Beatles.
Mongolia loves its national heroes, but it also takes a lot of interest in famous foreigners who were connected with Mongolia. Hence, I heard a lot about people like Marco Polo and Roy Chapman Andrews while I was there. In fact, they put up a statue of Polo in the middle of the city, near Ulaanbaatar Hotel. Formerly, there was also a statue of Vladimir Lenin nearby, but it was removed in 2008.

Obviously, a statue of Marco Polo. Near Ulaanbaatar Hotel.

The National Library is graced, fittingly, by Byambyn Rinchen (Бямбын Ринчен), Mongolia's most famous scholar. His statue replaced a statue of Joseph Stalin that was put there during the Soviet era. (Thank God.)

Byambyn Rinchen (Бямбын Ринчен), one of the foremost Mongolian writers and scholars of all time, in front of the National Library. (I was sure I had a close-up picture of him, but I can’t find that either.)

A number of other historical figures and events are commemorated throughout the city.

Bazaryn Shirendev (Modern Cyrillic, Базарын Ширэндэв; in script, Bajar-un Sirindib), next to Urgoo Cinema 2 (Өргөө Кино).

Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal (Юмжаагийн Цэдэнбал) - the longest-lasting leader of modern Mongolia. Next to the National Drama Theatre, and across the street from the Library and the Rinchen statue.

Б. Цэрэндорж (B. Tserendorj) - first prime minister of independent Mongolia.
There are also non-historical and even non-figurative works, which are just as interesting.

Schoolchildren and a giant book, next to the National University of Education (Монгол Улсын Боловсролын Их Сургууль).
Predator statue at The Arizona Center. I don't have a clue what this is about.

Ram in front of the Natural History Museum (Байгалийн түүхийн музей)

Imitation Turkish stone in the sidewalk of Baga Toiruu or "Little Circle" road (Бага Тойруу).

Whirling dervish on the sidewalk. Baga Toiruu, getting close to the State Department Store.

Sidewalk dervish, seen from the south

I think this is near the National History Museum.

Relic of Soviet times, across the street from the train station.
The four friendly animals: bird on top of a rabbit on top of a monkey on top of an elephant, in an island in the middle of the road where it curves. Northwest part of the city.

Random Gargoyle far from the center of the city.
Zaisan (Зайсан) is a memorial area in a far southern corner of the city, far from the city proper. It is centered on a large hill with memorials celebrating Russian and Mongolian friendship. It's a steep climb up the hill, but worth it for the great view of the rest of the city. Near the bottom is a Buddhist idol. Even though the area is designated as a park, someone, somehow, got some high-rise apartments built there, right next to the Buddha. Now it is also known as the hot place to live for rich people.

Statue of the Buddha at Zaisan. To the right, out of the picture, are the luxury apartments.

Stone lion guarding the Buddha

Memorial to the Mongolian tank brigade

The tank says:
Монголын ард-түмний хөрөнгөөр байгуулагдсан хувьсгалт - Монгол танкийн бригад Гитлерийн Германы эсрэг дайнд оролцсон юм
The Revolution that was established by the Mongolian people - The Mongolian tank brigade participated in the war against Hitler’s Germany.

Зайсан толгой