The obsession with Zaisan / south of the city

As you all may or may not have known, most of the city’s well-off citizens live around Zaisan area. If you’ve done all the touristy destinations around the city, you have probably been to Zaisan monument at the top of Zaisan hill.

Zaisan monument before the construction of Zaisan hill complex

Just a few years ago the area around Zaisan was just a few residential buildings but now all around the area surround Zaisan residential apartments are rising rapidly. The price is also extremely unreasonable. So why is this place so overpriced?

Because of better “air”. Most of the concentrated ger districts are located north of the city, and in winter the pollution is at its worst there. Near Zaisan it’s still polluted but not as much. But the pollution is not getting any better and year after year, the south of the city is sometimes just as polluted as anywhere else. Not to mention the clean water problem. Zaisan apartments are not connected to the central water system, and relies on groundwater. The amount of rust and other minerals in the water is unhealthy. So people need to accomodate by installing expensive water filters and water purifiers to have access to clean water. Again, for the amount that these properties in Zaisan cost as compared to the expense one must upkeep to live there doesn’t make sense but at least the water system problem is getting better as more and more apartment complexes are developing.

More or less this red area here is what i’m referring to

If you go more south past Zaisan hill, you come across the Juvenile Prison. So this place was considered as a secluded and unwanted area for city development back in the day. Now apartments have been built surround the prison, which is probably baffling to foreigners.

Also the amount of malls and entertainment centers rising around this area has become a weekend destination for families especially as its right next to the Tuul River. If you come on a weekend to Zaisan, you can see families lounging around the river banks, mostly getting some “fresh” air with their children. In summertime, the amount of people heading south doubles, or triples. And is almost impossible to be stuck in traffic less than an hour.

Having been a nature preservationist all his life, my grandfather had dedicated much of his life to the preservation of Bogd mountain range as well as to parts of Ovorkhangai aimag and he used to always say that it is very dangerous to have residential buildings so close to the Tuul river banks due to the instability of the ground as well as the tendency for the river to have dangerous floods repeating every 60 years.

View of Agricultural School , Buddha Vista complex, Buddha statue and Zaisan square shopping mall, south of the Zaisan bridge

In a country where there is nothing but land, Mongolians are crowding in this one small city between 4 mountains (Bogd, Songino-khairkhan, Bayanzurkh & Chingeltei – just in case you wanted to know the names of the mountains, some city districts are named after them, if you’ve noticed). Expanding north isn’t an option because of the unorganized structure of ger districts bringing one of the main sources of pollution, and going south has become appealing and popular especially for those who can afford it.

But for me, all of the good restaurants and shopping and other amenities is located in the city center still.

There’s an informal humorous saying, “one bridge over is for the wealthy, two bridges over is for the filthy rich”. The one bridge over (red) implying south of the Peace bridge and the 2nd bridge (yellow) refers to the Zaisan bridge.

What do you think about this?

Leave a Reply