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Uliastai is the capital of Zavkhan province, and a former provincial capital of the Manchu Empire.


Manchu Marking Stone stating "Blue Dragon Bridge"

Uliastai is located at the border of the desert and the forest. It is in a valley near where the Bogdiin and Chigestai converge surrounded by the Khangai mountains, which makes travel difficult during the winter.


Alongside Hovd, Uliastai, occasionally referred to as Jibhalanta by the Manchus, is one of the 3 oldest settlements in Mongolia, and had long been an important center of caravan trade -even into the 20th century. It was connected by camel caravan routes with Urga (now Ulaanbaatar) in the east, Hovd in the west, Barkol and other points in Xinjiang in the southwest, and Hohhot in the southeast.

The city was founded as a military garrison by the Manchus in 1733 during the Qing rule of Mongolia. Uliastai was the de facto capital of Outer Mongolia and parts of what is now Russia, as the Qing Amban, the Governor General, located its office in Uliastai to keep eye on the Khalkh Mongols to the east and the Oirad Mongols west of the Khangai mountains. At its peak, the fortress held up to 3500 soldiers and was surrounded by a Chinese trading quarter, or Maimaicheng. However, during the Outer Mongolian Revolution of 1911 the Military Governor of Uliastai, his staff, and military guards, fled the fort under the protection of Cossack troops. Traces of Manchu rule can still be seen in Uliastai: the stone remnants of the governors fortress near the Bogdiin river are a short walk from town, the shackles and torture devices used by the Manchu are on display in the History Museum, and a hatag-laden stone near the central roundabout is carved with Chinese characters.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) -15.0 -11.2 -1.6 8.2 16.6 21.6 22.4 20.8 15.4 7.0 -5.3 -13.5
Nightly lows (°C) -28.3 -26.0 -17.0 -6.2 1.2 6.9 9.0 7.1 0.8 -7.2 -18.7 -25.7
Precipitation (mm) 2.1 1.7 4.8 9.2 14.8 34.0 54.9 48.2 21.7 9.3 4.6 3.2

NOAA (1961-1990)

Get in[edit]

You can fly or take the bus from Ulaanbaatar to Uliastai. Buses leave everyday from the Dragon Center in UB for Uliastai at 09:00. Going straight from UB can be easier than some nearby cities due to difficult mountain passes to the west and south of the city.

By plane[edit]

Served by the Donoi Airport 25 km away in Aldarkhaan soum. The airport was constructed in 2002 with a grass runway. Taxis are available to take you from the airport to Uliastai.

Donoi Airport

Get around[edit]


  • The nine white stupas, which were built for the nine famous Saints of Buddhism.
  • The ruined Manchu fort, which was built in 1733.
  • The city museum
  • Buddhist temple
  • Various historical places around the city.
  • Local Museum, Yavuukhulan street, in Uliastai (Renchinvanjil), +976 93064500.


Government Building
  • The Museums of Zavkhan Province, Yavuukhulan street, Uliastai city, Zavkhan province, +976 1462-22342, +976 93064500, +976 98200489. The aimag museum was established in 1924 in the city of Uliastai. Today, there are two museums: the Famous People Museum of Zavkhan, and the Zavkhan History Museum. The Zavkhan History Museum consists of 6 halls: the Hall of Natural History, the Hall of Ethnography, the Hall of Cultural History, the Hall of Modern History, and the two Halls of Religious History. Highlights: the unique historical and cultural monuments including a fossilized shin bone and baby teeth of a mammoth, petrified trees from 80 million years ago, the rare herb Vansemberuu, the Jadamba writ, a historical document of horse-stations from the Manchu period, a 300 liter bronze cauldron from 1820, a coral mask of the deity Jamsran, the Khalkh woman’s and man’s full clothes with head silver decorations, Dilov saint B.Jamsranjav’s copper seal, and many famous people’s belongings.

    *The Famous People Museum of Zavkhan consists of 9 halls:

    **Ten Great Lamas of Zavkhan Province

    **The State Prize Winner, Great Eastern Poet, Yavuukhulan B.

    **The State Prize Winner, Film Producer, Vangan L.

    **The First President of Mongolia, Mr. Ochirbat P.

    **The Second President of Mongolia, Mr. Bagabandi Natsag

    **Labor Hero of Mongolia, Mr. Otgonbileg Shagdar

    **Colonel Zagdgochoo D.

    **The International Olympic Committee’s Honored Member, Mr. Magvan Sh.

    ***Hero of Mongolia, General of the Army, Dorj B.



Zavkhan River



There are five hotels in Uliastai.

  • Od
  • Tegsh
  • Uran Baigali
  • Tsetseg
  • Uliastai Hotel (On the far eastern side of town). Probably the nicest hotel in town with 30 rooms. There is a bar, restaurant, and sauna at the hotel. Deluxe rooms come with hot shower and bath, while simple rooms have shared bath. 20,000-100,000 ₮ depending on the room.

Tents can also be set up on the banks of the two rivers that flow through the center of the town.

Go next[edit]

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