Manchurian generals established a military garrison here in 1733 to keep one eye on the Khalkh Mongols to the east and the other on the unruly Oirad Mongols who lived west of the Khangai mountains. The fortress (the remains of which are visible 3km northeast of town) contained up to 3500 soldiers and was surrounded by an inevitable Chinese trading quarter called Maimaicheng. Chinese farmers tilled the lands along the Bogdiin Gol and, as Russian ethnologist Alexei Pozdneev noted during his 1890 visit, a large contingent of local women were on hand to ‘serve’ the soldiers.
The fort was emptied in 1911 with the disintegration of the Manchu dynasty, but Chinese troops made an attempt to retake the fort four years later, only to be booted out once and for all in March 1921, following the taking of Urga (Ulaanbaatar) by White Russian forces. One of the few traces left visible of the Manchu era is the shackles and torture devices used by the Manchus, now on display in the History Museum.