In the autonomous municipality of Orkhon, and not technically part of Bulgan aimag, Erdenet is a little slice of Russia in Mongolia. The reason for Erdenet’s existence is the copper mine, which employs about 8000 people and is the lifeblood of the city.
Up to one-third of the population of Erdenet was Russian during communist times, though now only about 1000 Russians still work as technical advisers at the mine. You’ll hear plenty of Russian on the streets and will find restaurant menus featuring peroshki (meat-filled fried pastries) rather than buuz (steamed mutton dumplings).
Erdenet is a sprawling city, though everything you will need is along the main street, Sükhbaatar Gudamj. The train station is located more than 9km east of the centre.