Bogd Khaan Winter Palace Museum
The Winter Palace of Bogd Khaan or Bogd King – one of the first museums in Mongolia – was built in 1924. It used to be a winter residence of the last Bogd Khaan of Mongolia, Javzandamba. The palace compound was built between 1893 and 1903 and is well known for its Gate of Peace, Temple and personal library of Bogd Khaan. Among the museum’s exhibits are sculptures by Mongolia’s first Bogd Khaan Zanabazar, the famous Taras. The museum has 21 invaluable sculptures of Taras.
The collections at the Palace Museum numbers over 8,000 exhibits, of these 72 are certified by the State as unique and others are priceless artifacts. The museum welcomes 19-20 thousand visitors each year and 70-80% are from foreign countries.
This is the only remaining palace out of four residences where Bogd Khaan, the last Mongolian ruler, resided. This palace now displays the collection of personal belongings of the last Khaan and his wife, the queen Dondogdulam. The museum offers a wide variety of Buddhist arts. Special attention attracts paintings by Marzan Sharav depicting a slice of humor and irony scenes from the everyday life of Mongolians at the turn of this century.
The Bogd Khaan Palace Museum comprises of two parts, which are the summer palace with seven temples and pagodas and the winter palace, a two-story, white construction built in a European architectural style. There are mostly ancient deities in the summer palace. Hence every year two great religious rituals take place here and staged to worship the sky and water spirits. There is also a tent decorated with sculptures of birds, animals and horsemen.
In the winter palace, built as a project by architects of Tsarist Russia (1893-1903), the Bogd Khaan along with his queen, Dondogdulam Khatan (1874-1923) spent the wintertime for 20 years.
The palace has a ger and carriage, as well as clothes and articles that belonged to the Khaan, revealing where and how the Last Khaan of Mongolia lived, what he was interested in and what he did, as well as what he wore and used.
There are six temples in the grounds. The white building to the right as you enter is the Winter Palace itself. It contains a collection of gifts received from foreign dignitaries, such as a pair of golden boots from a Russian tsar, a robe made from 80 unfortunate foxes and a ger lined with 150 snow leopards skin (ask the curator to open the ger for you).
The Palace Museum preserves priceless historical and cultural monuments of the Mongolian State and religion from the 17th to 20th Centuries, together with artifacts created by the foremost masters of that time, Zanabazar in particular, ranging from statues of gods, tankas, and paper-mâché.