One of the last remaining nomadic cultures and direct descendants of Chinggis Khaan, Mongolia is truly a unique destination. Population wise it is a small country of 3.2 million people however geographically it is rather large, 1.5 million square km /600,000 sq miles/. Whilst Ulaanbaatar the capital city attracts half the population and is rushing towards development, nomadic herders in the countryside are grazing their animals in the wide-open countryside, leaving harmonically with Mother Nature.
Mongolia has so much to offer when it comes to traveling:
- Snow-capped mountains in the west: home to Eagle hunters and well-preserved culture of ethnic minority groups
- Lakes and forest in the north: reindeers and yak herders thriving for their place through times of transition
- Gobi desert in the south: camels and goats roam free in the endless vastness of the steppe
- Rocky mountains in the east: traces of most interesting geology, flora, and birds.
- Mongolians are proud of their history, often found quoting from Chinggis Khaan, emperor of the largest contiguous empire on earth.
- The Mongolian language is one of a kind, an independent language group as of 2017, beautifully scripted in calligraphy.
- Mongolian culture is vibrant, from its colorful variety of traditional costumes to the Naadam Festival and horse races.
Unlike the romanticized image of deserts with sweeping sand dunes, most of the landscape of The Gobi Desert consists of rocky, hard-packed terrain. A clue to the historical perception of the Gobi as an inhospitable region is found in its name, which derives from the Mongolian word for "very large and dry."
Khuvsgul Lake and Taiga Forest
The highlight of northern Mongolia is the famous Khuvsgul Lake and the taiga forest. Often called "Mother Ocean", Khuvsgul Lake is a growing lake created by the plate rifting among the snow-capped mountains. The higher altitude and permafrost allow few species to survive including yaks, reindeers, moose and musk deer.
Terelj National Park and the East
Before the continents came to the way it is now, part of Mongolia was an ocean away. With the collision, the most interesting rock formations of granite rocks are formed. Over time, wind and water, shaped them up nicely, for example, into a Turtle Rock.
In 13th century, Mongolia conquered the largest land empire on earth, covering up 26.1 km.sq. The population of Mongols by then is counted up to be 1.5 million maximum. The founder of the empire and the father to the nation, Chinggis Khaan was truly a one to be born in a millennium.
Mongol bichig or Mongolian traditional script
In Mongolia, people speak several different dialects of the Mongolian language. The language itself, in a way to form the words by vowel harmony and the structure of "Subject+Object+Verb", was categorized into the Altaic Language group which includes Turkic, Mongolian, and Tungusic.
Naadam Festival is often mistaken as one and only celebration: Independence day on July 11th. However, for Mongolian, Naadam means much more than that. Naadam includes wrestling, horse racing, archery and ankle bone shooting at various different levels: state, provincial, village, and family - making the whole country celebrating Naadam for months. And the most important aspect is for locals to meet with their friends and family and learn about their life, share their news and re-bond.