Pictures from Mongolia

This collection of pictures started with the Impressions from a Recent Trip to Ulaanbaatar of spring 1995. More pictures are being added so it may be better to keep keep the "Impressions" in one section and add other pictures in a separate manner.

The Soyombo symbol [B/W, 30575 Bytes] The Soyombo symbol can be seen everywhere in Mongolia. This one here is located at the south-west corner of Süxbaatar Square, next to the Central Post Office. The Mongolian inscription below reads:

mongGol orun-iyan mandaGuliy-a (Raise, Revive your Mongolia!)

The gate from Buyant Uxaa to Ulaanbaatar [B/W, 24781 Bytes] Virtually everybody entering Mongolia by air will have crossed the gate from Buyant Uxaa to Ulaanbaatar. It is in walking distance from the airport (located at Buyant Uxaa) to Ulaanbaatar and bears the inscription Ulaanbaatar on its west and Buyant Uxaa on the east side. It shows a huge Soyombo symbol on its top. This gate was completely renovated for Naadam 1996.

Similar gates can be found downtown and at the borders. The southern border point where the railway enters China is called Zamyn Üüd, literally, "Gate of the Way".

A driver's tomb in the cemetery near Nalaïx [B/W, 26146 Bytes]. Heike Michel describes Mongolian burial customs in her article The Open-air Sacrificial Burial of the Mongols . The cemetery near Nalaïx is not mentioned there, and so this picture shall add some information to modern practices. Frequently, Mongolians are now buried in concrete-covered tombs, and a gravestone is erected. The person buried here was a driver as the carving on the gravestone and the old fan of a truck's cooling system show. The inscription on the wings of the fan reads "Om mani padme hum" in Tibetan and is the famous prayer formula. Being written on a fan, the fan will turn in the wind and send the prayer everywhere with every rotation.

The Tank monument near Bogd Khan Palace [338867 Bytes] was erected in memory of World War II. Very much like it counterpart of the air squadron in the east of Ulaanbaatar it praises the heroic contribution of the Mongolian army to WW II. The map on its south side depicts the two-years journey of the tank from Moscow to Berlin while the inscription on the west side reads:

[Soyombo Symbol] MONGOL









(Translation: Established by the Property of the Mongolian People, the Revolutionary Mongolian Tank Brigade participated in the war against Hitler Germany.)

An owoo near the road to Zuun Mod [B/W, 34632 Bytes]. Owoos are a common 'multi-purpose' structure in Mongolia's landscape. They serve both as landmarks for the traveller and as places of worship. Everybody coming close to an owoo is supposed to circle it for three times before the voyage is continued. The traveller/worshipper is also supposed to add a stone (at least) to the owoo yet other sacrifices are accepted, too. Many people regard owoos as a kind of 'waste dump' for objects of previous calamity, and thus broken medical equipment, walking sticks, empty bottles of wodka and broken spare parts of cars give silent testimony of their former owners' sufferings. In addition, owoos are frequently topped by khadakhs and banners with religious formulae, usually written in Tibetan.

Owoos on a hill [B/W, 27961 Bytes]. As was mentioned, owoos also function as landmarks as is visible from these two near the road from Ulaanbaatar to Songino.

The last wooden pole of former Gandan [B/W, 19983 Bytes]. The former main hall of Gandan monastery stretched south of the present main hall. When in was destroyed, only one wooden pillar remained which became an object of worship for devout believers.

Cagan Äbügän [B/W, 30527 Bytes]. The White(-Haired) Old Man is one of the most prominent figures of Mongolian folk lore. Standing for wisdom, intelligence, wit and all other qualities that are achieved if one reaches an old age, the Cagan Äbügän plays a central role in Cam dancing and stories. This image of worship is located immediately north of Manjushriïn Xiïd, the famous monastery near Zuun Mod (Töb Aïmag) destroyed in 1937/1938.

Xun Quluu [B/W, 41095 Bytes]. This stone figure in human shape can be found in the small valley before Manjushriïn Xiïd. Being much older than the monastery, it is only one of a huge population of stone carvings (more "man-stones", animals, columns etc.) to be found in the same location.

A demonstration in downtown Ulaanbaatar [B/W, 35331 Bytes]. In the second half of August 1996, a sum of around 300 millions Tugriks showed up mysteriously when the Mongolian Bank was audited. The money did not have any visible owner, or at least nobody wanted to have to do anything with it. The demonstrators demand that the bank hand out the money the the true owner, i.e. the Mongolian people.