Exploring Ulaanbaatar – The Beatles Statue

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Exploring Ulaanbaatar – The Beatles Statue

Situated in the heart of Ulaanbaatar, close to the State Department Store, the Beatles Statue area (known locally as Fountain Square) stands out as one of my favorite spots. It serves as a striking tribute to the legendary band while reflecting Mongolia’s rich history. This area is a hub of activity, popular among local skateboarders and with independent shops and diverse dining options. It invites exploration and offers a taste of local culture and creativity, making it a great spot for both residents and visitors. That’s why I’ve chosen to highlight it in our ‘Exploring Ulaanbaatar – The Beatles Statue’ post.

A Symbolic Landmark: The Beatles Statue

Designed by Mongolian sculptor Den Barsboldt, the statue was unveiled in 2008 and funded through community support. The Beatles—John, Paul, George, and Ringo—are immortalised in bronze, with Paul depicted barefoot, a nod to the iconic Abbey Road album cover. The statue’s design, featuring an apple shape, honors the Beatles’ own Apple Records.

Rock music played a pivotal role in introducing the ideals of democracy and independence to Mongolia. In the late 1980s, despite its illegality, Ulaanbaatar’s youth clandestinely gathered in secluded spots and back stairwells, tuning into Radio Luxembourg and emulating their Western idols, drawing inspiration from the freedoms they represented. For the community and donors behind the Beatles Statue, this monument symbolizes more than the traditional image of Mongolia defined by nomads, horses, and Chinggis Khan. It stands as a testament to Mongolia’s rich urban culture, a culture that has persisted since before the nation achieved independence, though it was often overshadowed.


While in the area, consider visiting the State Department Store, one of UB’s oldest stores, featuring a great souvenir section and cashmere outlets. Additionally, you can stop by the Tsagaan Alt non-profit wool shop, where all products are made by local home producers, providing a valuable income source and opportunity for them. For vinyl enthusiasts, the Dundgol vinyl store, one of the original vinyl stores in the city, is a must-visit. If you’re looking for a coffee break, head to the ROC Drink Bar, one of UB’s excellent independent roasteries and coffee shops. Alternatively, you can enjoy lunch at the much-loved Sakura Japanese Bakery, though be aware that it is a small space and can get busy.

 


Skateboarding at Beatles Square

The Beatles Statue not only stands as a historical marker but also as a beacon for modern expressions of youth culture, particularly skateboarding. The north side of the statue features a young man with a guitar, symbolizing the new generation of Mongolians who embraced Western musical influences amidst the waning days of Communist rule and, today, the square is a favorite spot for members of the “Uukhai” Skateboarding Association.

Exploring Ulaanbaatar - The Beatles Statue. This is a much used location for skateboarding in Mongolia

“Uukhai,” originally the battle cry of ancient Mongol warriors, now captures the spirit of these young skateboarders in Mongolia. Uukhai is not just a group of friends united by their passion for skateboarding; it’s a dynamic, registered NGO established in 2013. It provides skateboards to urban youths who otherwise couldn’t afford them, supporting their passion and participation in the sport. For the first generation to come of age in a democratic Mongolia, Uukhai represents a break from the constraints of a traditional society. Echoing the role of rock music in the late 1980s, which fueled the democratic aspirations of Mongolians, skateboarding now serves as a vibrant channel for these young individuals to express their identity and explore new forms of self-expression.

 


Other Skateboarding Locations In Ulaanbaatar

Another vibrant hub for Mongolia’s skateboarding enthusiasts is located just west of the Blue Sky Tower. Here, in the Ахмадын талбай square adjacent to the “Consciousness” statue, skateboarders gather to perfect their craft. The Consciousness statue, crafted by Ochirbold Ayurzana—a celebrated State Honored Artist and Grand-Prix winner of the “Nord-Art” International Festival—is a striking feature of this urban landscape. This sculpture is a replica of Ayurzana’s original work, which stands in the sculpture park of the United Nations in New York, chosen from entries from 192 countries. The statue in Ulaanbaatar is a testament to Ayurzana’s vision that sub-consciousness is integral to our consciousness, serving as a universal connector that fosters peaceful interactions across global cultures. This area, with its artistic and cultural significance, offers a unique backdrop for local skaters and visitors alike.

You can also find skaters in several other popular spots around the city, including outside the National History Museum, Builders Square, and the area stretching between the Beatles Statue and the Circus. These locations have become gathering points for local skateboarders, offering ample space and unique urban landscapes to practice and showcase their skills.Other areas you will find the skaters in include outside the  National History Museum, Builders Square, and the area between the Beatles Statue and the Circus.


Uukhai’s Ongoing Mission

Uukhai continues to advocate for skateboarding as a legitimate sport and cultural activity in Mongolia. They organize events like the Uukhai Games, which celebrate skateboarding’s diverse community—from beginners to seasoned skaters, and even enthusiasts of related sports like scootering and longboarding. With skateboarding’s debut in the Tokyo Olympics, Uukhai aspires to nurture athletes who might one day represent Mongolia on the global stage. Efforts are underway to fund an indoor skate park, which will provide a year-round training facility for these aspiring Olympians.

Skateboarding in Mongolia - Uukhai NGO

 

Explore Ulaanbaatar with Us

For those keen to experience Ulaanbaatar beyond the usual tourist paths, we offer unique urban adventures. Our more structured Urban Explorer experiences allow you to engage directly with local culture. These excursions are designed to take you off the beaten track offering a genuine glimpse into the everyday lives of those who call Ulaanbaatar home.

Jess @ Eternal Landscapes

 

Jessica Brooks
Jessica Brooks
I'm Jess Brooks, the founder of Eternal Landscapes Mongolia and the voice behind EL's blog posts. For more than a decade, since 2006, I've been based in Mongolia, working closely with my beloved Mongolian team to advocate for a tourism approach that brings about positive change.. What sets our blog apart is our deep understanding of Mongolia—our home. Unlike content from influencers or creators, our posts prioritise authenticity and firsthand knowledge as guiding principles.
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