Sukhbaatar Square is the veritable heart, not only of the capital Ulaanbaatar, but of the whole of Mongolia. It is the site of “point zero” from where all distances are measured, the equestrian statue of D.Sukhbaatar, the founder of the modern Mongolian state – in the past his mausoleum was also here – and is dominated by the State Palace, with its imposing statue of Chinggis Khaan. It is here that official visitors are brought, it is here that the New Year is rung in, and it is here that school children, newly-weds and young soldiers come to pay homage to the great khaan and celebrate, simply, ‘being Mongolian.’
Thirteen years ago, a contract was signed, for a beautiful fountain and underground car park for visitors. This was to be located at the south end of the square. The water shooting into the blue Mongolian sky, however, there is not; just an ugly car park for all to see.
The 2006 agreement was drawn up by the Ulaanbaatar City Administration who gave the 2.5 hectares to the ‘UB Construction’ on a 15-year-lease on the condition that they would build the underground car part and the fountain. All the company did was use the land for the paid car park.
The UB City Administration’s patience has been tried to the extreme: ‘UB Construction’ should have paid 30 percent of all parking revenue – they didn’t; worse still, the firm received USD 9.5 million (equivalent to current rate MNT 22.5 billion) from a bank by using the land as collateral.
Earlier today (23 April), S.Amarsaikhan, the new mayor of Ulaanbaatar, did what many consider should have been done long ago; he suspended ‘UB Construction’s’ rights to own the land.
The Mayor also announced that the fountain will finally be constructed on the site and will be financed by the UB Budget.