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Mongolians are proud of their rich and thrilling history. The first appearance of human beings on the territory of present-day Mongolia dates back to the Stone Age. The latest archeological findings in Western Mongolia claims that the first man might appear some 2500 years ago. At the beginning of the 13th century or in 1206, Chinggis Khan founded the largest state in human history, the Mongolian Empire. This by the end of the century extended from China to the Caspian Sea and from Kievan Rus to northern Vietnam, Iran and Tibet. After the collapse of the empire, Mongolia was occupied by the Manchu Dynasty at the 17th century, until 1911, when the Mongol Monarchy was established and Bogd Khan, proclaimed as a religious leader and king. In 1921, political and territorial independence from Manchus was achieved. After Bogd Khan’s death in 1924, a Mongolian People’s republic was proclaimed with support from Soviet Russia. Thus, the country of nomads remained a member of the socialist eastern block countries until peaceful Democratic revolution of 1990th. With the ratification of a new constitution in 1992, Mongolia is progressing the transition period from a single communist party state with centrally planned economy into the multi-party democracy with a market economy.

Land and Population
Mongolia’s total land area is 1,564,116 square km. Covering an area of the size of – Alaska, or five times larger then Germany, Mongolia is the fifth largest country in Asia and the seventeenth largest in the world. The Mongolia is famous for its endless green grass steppes and clear blue skies. The southern part of the country is occupied by the Gobi Desert, while the northern and western parts are a land of Altai mountain. The highest point in Mongolia is Huiten Orgil at 4,374 m., while the lowest is Khuh Nur Lake with 518 m above sea level. Most of the country is hot in summer and extremely cold in winter. Ulaanbaatar has the coldest average temperature of any national capital in the world.
With a population of approximately 2.9 million, population density is only 1.7 persons per square km. The country is divided into 21 provinces or aimags, which are in turn divided into 315 districts or sums, with three largest cities such as Ulaanbaatar, Darhan, and Erdenet. With about 59% of the total population under the age of 30 and 27% of the population under the age of 14, the Mongolian population is relatively young and dynamic. About 60% of the people live in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar and in other provincial centers. A semi-nomadic way of life dominates in the countryside, where many families stays in wooden or clay houses and lives in traditional felt gers (yurts), during the summer. Around 40% of the population, continue to live a traditional nomadic lifestyle. The Mongolians are well-known for the unique hospitality and true warmth extended to all travelers and guests.

Buddhist Lamaism is undergoing a revival within Mongolia, with more then 90% of the population practicing a religion, followed by small contingents of Muslims and Christians. Various forms of shamanism have been widely practiced throughout a history, as such beliefs were common among nomadic people. First spread in 16th century, Buddhism became a nationwide religion with more than 700 monasteries and temples operating before the 1930s Stalinist purges. More than 30,000 Buddhist lamas, artists and philosophers were executed during that dark period. At present, the Gandan monastery, located in Ulaanbaatar, has grown into one of the major Buddhist schools with lamas from Tibet, Nepal, India and Russia, attending its classes. Several visits by the Dalai Lama provided an important impetus to the Buddhist renaissance of Mongolia. As of 2008, there are 130 Buddhist centers has opened its door for the believers.

Warm in winter and cool in summer times, the Ger is perfectly suited to Mongolia’s nomadic way of life and harsh weather conditions. The Ger has been the most practical dwelling for thousands of years. The traditional Ger weighing around 250-300 kg consist of a circular wooden frame carrying a water-proof felt cover. The felt is made from the sheep wool. Depending on a season the felt is additionally covered with canvas (rainy summer season) or thicker felt (winter season). The frame is held together with one or more ropes. The structure is kept under compression by the weight of the covers, sometimes supplemented by a heavy weight stone or iron from the center of the roof, during the sand storms. The Gers are varying depending on a region, size and purpose. The basic concept of the Ger design is that it should be easily dismantled and carried on camels or yaks to another pasture site. It only takes half an hour to collapse an average Ger and to re-build it. The present day shape of the Mongolian Ger has been formed as the result of the long development through animal skin and wooden huts. In glorious years of the Mongolian empire, Gers that belong to khans and army generals were built on special wheeled floors and were dragged by a number of yaks, for greater mobility and safety.

The Naadam festival celebrated annually on July 11-12 is Mongolia’s most renowned and colorful holidays. Celebrated for many centuries, Naadam of Three Manly Games include wrestling, archery and horseracing, which test courage, strength, endurance and other skills warriors should posses. The largest Naadam celebration takes place in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, drawing competitors from all over the country with numbers of wrestlers generally reaching 512 wrestlers while over 1000 child jockeys ride in the horse races. Before the flight, wrestlers perform eagle dances to demonstrate their fine strength and courage. There are no weight classes, so the competition usually progresses quickly.

Archery contest has inherited a tradition dating from the time of Chinggis Khan and Mongolian empire, when they were intended to sharpen warrior’s military skills. Men fire 40 arrows made from willow branches and griffin vulture feathers from a distance of 75 meters and woman deliver 20 arrows from 60 meters at a target consisting of 360 leather rings fitted to a wall.

Horseracing is the favorite sport of the herders who bring their fastest horses from great distances loaded on the trucks. Races, which take place on the steppe over distance from 15 to 30 km, are a test of endurance for the horses and riders. In order to perform at its best, riders are chooses from young boys and girls, some as young as six years old. The races are organized and distances choose according to the age of the horses.

Tsagaan Sar (Lunar New Year)
The Lunar New Year is one of the most important festivals of the Mongolian herders, celebrated for more than 2000 years. The 12-cycle Mongolian Lunar calendar is named after the twelve animals: Cock, Dog, Pig, Mouse, Bull, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake Horse, Ram and Monkey. The festival is essentially woven of numerous deeply symbolic rituals. Each gesture that is made and each word that is uttered are imbued with meaning impacting the quality of the coming year. Celebrated throughout the country, the festival remains a holiday that Mongols most look forward to with renewed hopes for happiness and prosperity. The celebrations consists of two main stages: the period leading up to the New Year culminating in “Bituuleg”, a farewell feast for the old year, when the special traditional meals must be served, and the period that starts next morning, with the ritual greetings, “Zolgolt”, intended to reaffirm mutual loyalties and affection for the New Year. At this time, all Buddhist monasteries, are full of people in their finest traditional dresses, paying respects, to the divinities and praying for their family’s for fortune.

Political system

Government of Mongolia is characterized as a unicameral parliamentary democracy, which is governed under the Constitution of Mongolia ratified in 1992. The new Constitution guarantees full freedom of expression, human rights, worship and others. The President of the State has a symbolic role. The legislative arm, the State Great Khural (Parliament of Mongolia) has 76 seats and is chaired by the speaker of the house. The parliament elects its members every four years by general elections. The prime minister is appointed by the parliament. Mongolia has two main parties among many other parties. Until 2004, the predominant party in Mongolia was the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party, a former communist  party during the socialist republic’s period. The main opposition party was the Democratic Party, which controlled a governing coalition from 1996 to 2000. The most recent Parliament elections took place in 2016 June . According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Mongolia ranked 69th place. The Economist’s annual survey is based upon 60 indicators used to measure the state of democracy in 167 countries.


Agriculture and mining sectors are dominating sectors in the economy of the country. Mongolia has rich mineral resources, with a large part of industrial production accounting for copper, coal, molybdenum, tin, tungsten and gold. Many leading international mining companies are interested to invest into the sector. There are over 30,000 independent business concentrated around the capital city. The main export items are copper, gold and cashmere, with huge demand in China, Russia, Japan, England, Germany, South Korea, Switzerland and Italy. The major foreign investors include Japan, Canada, Germany, USA and China. Most of the populations in rural areas are engaged in animal breeding mainly consisting of sheep, goats, cattle, horses and camels. The recent 2015 year statistics claims more then 50 million of head of livestock. Agriculture crops include wheat, barley, vegetables, tomato, watermelon and fodder crops. The per capita GDP in 2015 is estimated to be a 12.2 million USD.

The official language of the country is Mongolian, which uses the Cyrillic alphabet adopted in 1930s and spoken by 90% of the population. Mongolia was selected by UNESCO as on of the countries with highest percentage of the literate rate. In the west the Kazakh and Tuvan languages are also spoken. Most frequently spoken foreign language is Russian, followed by English. Many young people learn Korean, Japanese and Chinese as an instrument to earn money, by working on the contract base in those countries. In regard of the language group, the Mongolian is included in the Altai-Uralic language group which also includes Turkic and Tungustic languages.

Ulaanbaatar is the capital and largest city of Mongolia, reaching 1 million of population as for March 2007. First established in 1639 as a Buddhist centre, the Ulaanbaatar city has become an industrial, cultural and financial hub of the country, connected to the rest of the world by the giant Trans-Siberian Railway and to the international air routes trough its main airport gateways. Modern Ulaanbaatar is a mixture of traditional lifestyle (those residing in Ger) and comfortable living (those residing in multi-store apartments and private houses). The city is surrounded by four mountains and stretches on the bank of Tuul River, on the average attitude of 1300 meters above seas level.

Gobi Desert
The Gobi desert is one of the most dramatic places on earth, with its largest cemetery of giant dinosaurs, shoveled first in 1922 by the legendary adventurer Roy Chapman Andrews. Thousands of fossils and eggs, including the “Jurassic Park” stars Tarbosaurs and Tyrannosaurs Rex, still lie covered by the million year old soil. Yet, covering over 30% of Mongolia’s territory, the Gobi continues to surprise those travelers who expect a hot, dead stretch of land. Its unique landscape with massive sand dunes, spectacular mountain peaks, vast steppes and hidden oases, makes this place distinctive. Two-humped Bactrian camels, rambling slowly, disappearing into the blue mirage, add to its mystery. Piercing clearness of the blue sky, crimson sunsets and a dazzling multitude of giant stars complete the picture. The Gobi measures over 1,500 km from southwest to northeast and 800 km from north to south. It occupies a land of 1,295,000 square km, making it fourth largest in the world and Asia’s largest. The Gobi is a home to numerous rare animal species like the wild sheep (argali), ibex, snow leopard, lynx, wild ass (khulan), mazaalai (gobi bear) as well as different rare trees and plants: khargana, tamarisk, red trees, and wild thyme. A large and gold deposits discovered in South Gobi, also confirms that the area is reach in terms of the underground wealth.

Karakorum and Eredene-Zuu Monastery
Located 360 kms to the south-west from Ulaanbaatar, Kharakhorum is the ancient capital city of Mongolia. The Great Ruler Chinggis Khaan himself ordered it to be built in 1220 as the capital of the vast Mongol Empire and the construction was completed after his death by the second Great Khaan, Ugudei. The splendid city with a fountain in the shape of a colossal silver tree designed by the French sculptor Guillaum Bouchier was destroyed by the Chinese Ming army in 1410. In 1586, Abtai Khaan founded the first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia, Erdene Zuu, next to the site of Kharakhorum ruins. The lively monastery comprised 100 temples, 300 gers and 1000 resident monks enclosed in an immense walled compound with 108 stupas. Although ruined during the 1930’s purges, today the monastery has been restored and is regaining its former glory. The meaning of the word, Karakorum, might be one of the following words: khara-khu’rem (black stone), khara-khorin (black wall), khara-kerem (black castle) and many more. The original meaning is still disputed.

Khuvsgul Lake
The Lake Khuvsgul, known as the Blue Pearl of Asia, is one of the deepest fresh water lakes left on the earth. Surrounded by magnificent mountain peaks and majestic forests, the lake rests 136 km long and 36 km wide, containing 2% of the global fresh water reserve. More than 70 % of the lake is over 100 meters deep, reaching 267 meters at its deepest point. The area surrounding the lake is abundant with wild animals, birds and rare plants while the many rivers hurrying into the lake are resplendent with colorful fish. From January to May, the lake is covered by 2 meter thick ice layer. The area is a home to Tsaatan or Reindeer herders living in these taiga and forests for centuries.

West Mongolia-Altai
With split of grand Chandmani province into three separate provinces in 1931, the history of Western Bayan-Olgii, Khovd and Uvs provinces has began. The faith of these three provinces and its people depends on the magnificent Mongol Altai Mountain range, stretching across Bayan-Ulgii and Khovd. The Khuiten Peak is the highest point in Mongolia towering at the elevation of 4,374 m. The snow-capped peaks, vast green pastures, salt water lakes and creamy deserts create the unique landscape of this relatively unexplored region. Minority of Kazakh people living in Bayan-Ulgii, still to this day, hunt with trained Golden Eagles. They annually hold an Eagle Hunting Festival in the environs of the spectacular mountain peaks, eternal glaciers and refreshing air of the Altai Mountains.

Steppe and Grassland
One of the last wild, open, flat area- without a forest at all, is the Eastern part of Mongolia. The area has preserved a tempered grass land in their natural state. There are no signs of human presence; even you travel for days, only emerald grass fields and large herds of migrating black tailed or white tailed gazelles can be seen. The grasslands are getting absolutely beautiful in late spring, when many species of bunchgrass start spreading their seeds. The South Eastern Mongolia is famous with its small Dariganga village of talented blacksmith, Altan Ovoo stupa topping an extinct volcano, king, queen and prince man stones, the sacred Shiliin Bogd Mountain and one of the largest caves of Mongolia Taliin Agui.


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