In July 1921, in the centre of Ulan-Bator, the ”hero of the revolution” Damdin Sukhbaatar declared the independence of Mongolia from China. Then his name was given to the square, Sukhbaatar Square.
In the centre of the square, a statue of Sukhbaatar riding his horse still stands. The words he apparently pronounced at the moment of independence are engraved on the bottom of the statue : “If we, the whole people, unite in our common effort and common will, there will be nothing in the world that we cannot achieve, that we will not have learnt or that we will have failed to do”.
Sukhbaatar would have been very disappointed to learn that the square was also the place where the first protests were held in 1989, which eventually led to the fall of communism. Today, the square is sometimes used for rallies, ceremonies and even rock concerts, but remains a quiet place where photographers sell their services or where it’s possible to rent tandems to ride around the square.
In 2006, on the occasion of 800 years anniversary of the Mongolian Empire foundation, the square has been totally restored. The monument in honour of Sukhbaatar was covered with bronze after a common work between Mongolian and North-Korean sculptors. The work was completed the day of the declaration of the Republic, on the 26th of November 2008.
On the Northern part of the square, there is the State Parliament House, which was also restored in 2006. It was a large grey and sad building but it was painted and a glass front was added. We can see, notably, a large statue of Genghis Khan that proudly stands outside the building, and statues of Mongolian horsemen.
The Parliament House, like a yurt, faces South. In front of the Parliament House, there is a mausoleum, built in 1921, containing the remains of Sukhbaatar and probably the ones of Choibalsan.
To the northeast of the square, there is the Palace of Culture that contains notably the National Gallery of Modern Art and many other cultural institutions. At the southeast of the square, the pink building is the State Opera and Ballet Theatre.
On the north-western corner of the square, the bright yellow building houses the Golomt Bank, and right behind it, you will find the National History Museum. South of the bank, the first tower you will see is the Mongolian stock exchange, and the second one is the town hall.
In front of the square, the Blue Sky tower is the highest building of Ulan Bator with 25 floors (105 metres, 344 feet). It represents the modern Mongolia and has the design of a tower in Dubai. It was inaugurated in 2009 and houses a luxurious hotel, offices, restaurants, and flats.