Ulaanbaatar is the capital and by far the largest city of Mongolia. An independent municipality, the city is not part of any province, and its population as of 2008 is over one million. Located in north central Mongolia, the city lies at an elevation of about 1,310 metres (4,300ft) in a valley on the Tuul River. It is the cultural, industrial, and financial heart of the country. It is the centre of Mongolia's road network, and is connected by rail to both the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia and the Chinese railway system. The city was founded in 1639 as a movable (nomadic) Buddhist monastic centre. In 1778 it settled permanently at its present location, the junction of the Tuul and Selbe rivers. Before that it changed location twenty-eight times, with each location being chosen ceremonially. In the twentieth century, Ulan Bator grew into a major manufacturing centre.
Contributions by Latebird, Vidor, and Yaan.