In July 1921 in the center of Ulaanbaatar, the 'hero of the revolution', Damdin Sukhbaatar, declared Mongolia's final independence from the Chinese. The Square now bears his name and features a statue of him astride his horse. The words he apparently proclaimed at the time are engraved on the bottom of the statue: 'If we, the whole people, unite in our common effort and common will, there will be nothing in the world that we cannot achieve, that we will not have learnt or failed to do.
Sukhbaatar would have been very disappointed to learn that the Square was also where the first protests were held in 1989, which eventually led to the fall of communism. Today, the Square is occasionally used for rallies, ceremonies and even rock concerts, but is generally a serene place where only the photographers - standing in a straight line selling their services - are doing anything.
As you face North from the statue, the large gray building is State Parliament House, commonly known as Government House - which, like every ger, was built to face south. Directly in front of it is a mausoleum, built in 1921, which contains the remains of Sukhbaatar, and possibly Choibalsan.
To the North-East is the tall, modern Palace of Culture, a useful landmark containing the Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery and several other cultural institutions. At the south-east corner of the Square, the salmon-pinkish building is the State Opera & Ballet Theatre.
On the north-western corner of the Square, the bright yellow building houses the Golomt Bank, with the gray National Museum of Mongolian History behind it. South of the Golomt Bank, the clay-red building (now with bright blue patches around the windows) is the Mongolian Stock Exchange, which was opened in February 1992 in the former Children's Cinema.