27 May 2017

The 'soul' of Seoul Street, Ulaanbaatar

With the news that one of Ulaanbaatar's beating arteries is about to turn into a pedestrian zone, just what can you experience on this urban thoroughfare?

And so the EL blog once again focuses on Ulaanbaatar (UB) - Mongolia's capital city and a place where most visitors are happy just to spend a few hours before heading out to the 'real' Mongolia.

But, as I keep on saying, I really like Ulaanbaatar - Red Hero. It  is a surprising mix of East meets West. Yes, it is polluted and dusty but it is also dynamic. From its origins as a nomadic city, it has developed into a tough, modern and cosmopolitan city full of contrasts and extremes. UB maintains a strong Mongolian identity of its own and has a ‘frontier’ feel and vibrancy.

One of the most central streets is Seoul Street that runs on an east - west parallel to the south of Peace Avenue. It has been reported in the local Mongolian news that come early June, part of Seoul Street will be pedestrianised (with some reports saying 24 hours and some saying just the evening. Still, either way its a great decision).

So  why would you head to  Seoul Street in downtown Ulaanbaatar? What is there to experience? Here's just a hint of what's available … what puts the 'soul' into Seoul Street.

Mongolian Artists Exhibition Hall

True. It's not quite on Seoul Street - it's on the junction of Peace Avenue, Seoul Street and Chinggis Avenue.

If you are interested in art then I do recommend that you visit. Established in 1942, the Union of Mongolian Artists (UMA) is Mongolia's largest, national, non-profit, arts organisation which aims to promote Mongolian fine art and art crafts. 
As well as an art gallery - with changing exhibitions, it is also houses artists studios where you can buy directly from the artists. Frequently overlooked by international visitors, this is a small but vibrant community space. 

And then having had a dose of culture, you may be in need of a drink …

Grand Khan Irish

It's not particularly cheap, it's not authentic Mongolian and you wouldn't necessarily choose the Grand Khan for a fine dining experience. However, their outside patio is just perfect for a summer's evening drink or two.

Rosewood Restaurant

The main focus here is locally sourced produce and hand cut meat from their own butchery. It advertises itself as a neighbourhood restaurant serving Italian inspired cuisine with a modern perspective and global twist.

Anyway. Just visit. The reviews are excellent for a reason. 

Rev | Revolution Bar \ Republic

One place, many titles. It's popular with the urban youth as well as expats. There's a pub on the ground floor and the next floor up is a venue for live music.

UB Jazz Club

This is UB’s only dedicated Jazz club. You don't go for the cuisine. You go to listen to live music performed by talented domestic and international musicians - whether that be blues, jazz or swing.

Mongolian Quilting Centre

Also known as the New Way Life NGO, the  aim of the Mongolian Quilting Shop is to provide women with traditional handicraft skills to create an accessible and sustainable source of income. Many of these women are head of their households; the income they generate through NWL is essential in helping to sustain their families and gives them a skill and confidence). 

This is the perfect place to do some guilt free retail therapy. 

Torgo Fashion Salon (Jun 1 to Sept 25 only) 

This is where Mongolian models strut their stuff on the catwalk in outfits created by local designers  with a blend of traditional Mongolian outfits with contemporary fashion. You can purchase items or just pay to experience the show.  

So there you go. Just a short section of one street - a 30 minute stroll and look what's on offer. I hope to see you there this summer. And if you want to know what else is happening, you can always look the Our News page on the Eternal Landscapes Mongolia website


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