Erdenet is a busy working city that revolves around the large 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 pirozhki (meat-filled fried pastries) rather than buuz (steamed mutton dumplings).
Erdenet is a good place to enjoy the above-average crop of hotels and restaurants before heading to wilder parts of the region. Technically the city is within the tiny municipality of Orkhon, on the eastern edge of Bulgan.