"Mongolia at last! I’m at the threshold of the great goal of my life": Lumír Jisl and Ulaanbaatar in the summer of 1957



Year of publication 2015
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Ulaanbaatar 1957-1963: Testimony of Lumír Jisl
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Mongolia; Lumír Jisl; Ulaanbaatar; private travelogue; historical photography; Buddhism
Description Contribution deals with an original historical source, private diary of Lumír Jisl as wel as his very first photographs of Ulaanbaatar. Often it is said that the first impression is the most important, and indeed the proverbial love at first sight is not merely the figment of a lover’s imagination … hence the subject of the pages to follow will be nothing less than the first impressions of a Czechoslovak explorer in Ulaanbaatar: how Lumír Jisl captured the atmosphere of those days beginning on Monday, 5 August 1957, when he first set foot on Mongolian soil. Yet before we launch ourselves into the reading of his diary, it is necessary to make a few explanatory notes. Jisl’s first photographs now date back nearly sixty years, and are in a sense historic document. They depict a city, its inhabitants and temples, in a state that can no longer be seen, and often is viewed with nostalgia: where we now find crowds of the latest cars and skyscrapers thrusting upwards, along with all other achievements of the 21st century, where we now find masses of local residents and international tourists, in Jisl’s day were empty or half-empty spaces and streets, with sparse local population and indeed no tourists at all. The city was living through its final days in its ancient form, one that only a few of the older citizens can recall. And so Lumír Jisl unwittingly became the one to document the disappearance of an old world, a witness to a Mongolia that we shall never again see.

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.