Woody Packard

Words + Pictures


Monument to Railroad Workers
Monuments are built to commemorate people, things, or events that are important to some part of society when they are built. Throughout this country, monuments have been built even in the smallest of towns. In Ulaanbaatar you can't travel far without bumping into one, a marker large or small, dedicated to a piece of Mongolia's history. In this country, history can be fickle, so just having a monument built in your honor does not ensure continued importance or favor. Nor does it mean that you will always have a monument, or that your monument will be always be found, much less cared for.

For twenty-two years after Mongolia's independence a statue of Lenin stood in front of the Ulaanbaatar Hotel, to be removed one day while Judy was in town, a couple weeks after I had photographed it with her mimicking his dramatic pose. Then it was gone, replaced by another statue, this one of a revered Mongolian poet. Lenin can still be found, sculpted as a young boy, in front of the Children's Arts Center.

Just south of the Tuul River the Zaisan monument sits on top what was once a prominent hill. It commemorates the cooperation between Mongolians and the Soviets in World War II. Clearly the memory of that cooperation has declined in importance since the monument was built. Many years after the eternal flame went out, a large hotel has been built between the entrance to the memorial and the top of the hill where the memorial actually sits.

On the other hand, Chingas Khaan, the champion of all monument recipients here, has recently conquered Ulaanbaatar's central square from his perch at the north end of it. A month ago it was named after Sukhbaatar, one of the leading Mongol revolutionaries against Chinese rule. Although it has been officially renamed by the legislature, I haven't yet heard anyone mention it using its new name, Chingas Khaan Square.

Among these official and unofficial monuments, many in Ulaanbaatar have small plaques, most in both Mongolian and English. In other parts of Mongolia, especially in small towns, all bets are off. Although some need no explanation, a few without explanation remain mysteries.

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Chingeltei Monument

Boy Lenin

Mongolian Dog

Zaisan Memorial

Russian Locomotive

Workers' Monument

Monument to Construction Workers

Sukhbaatar, Sukhbaatar Square

Sukhbaatar, Baruun Urt

National Anthem Monument

Beatles Monument

Look Alike


Camel, Rush Hour

J. Sambuu

Praying Hands, Onderkhaan Public Library

Chingas Khaan, Chingas.

Chingas Khaan Memorial

Right Hand of Chingas Khaan

Occupational Hazard