Ulaanbaatar is an ugly city. I say this with full awareness of the subjectivity of beauty. I appreciate the cultural norms and probably biased expectations that I possess. I take into account the effect that my mood, at any given moment, can have on my perceptions. Yet, even factoring all of this together, I return to the same conclusion ‘Tis an ugly city Or as my niece would say “U-G-L-Y! You ain’t got no alibi! You’re ugly!..”, but she is a bit of a bully like that.
The prevailing architectural trend is standard Communist-era block buildings. The main road, Peace Avenue, is beset with the Asian equivalent of strip malls. The use of bright colors appears to be frowned upon. And this may have been specific to the time I was there, but a persistent dust storm had everyone and everything finely coated in a layer of gritty sand.