Ulaan Bataar is the capital and largest city of Mongolia. The city is an independent municipality not part of any province, and its population as of 2008 is just over 1 million. Located in the north central part of the country, the city lies at an elevation of about 1,310 metres (4,300 ft) in a valley on the Tuul River. It is the cultural, industrial, and financial heart of the country. It is also the center of Mongolia's road network, and connected by rail to the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Chinese railroad network. The city was founded in 1639 as an initially nomadic Buddhist monastic centre. Since 1778 it has been located in the Tuul river valley. In the 20th century, Ulaanbaatar grew into a major manufacturing centre.
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