Mongolia is a country imbued with the glimmer of a legendary past of epic proportions and a place full of immense possibilities today. Modern day Mongolia is a nation building a new place for itself in a world transformed by technology, global economics, large political changes and rapid regional development.
Despite massive industrial and technological development in nearby countries, Mongolia is maintaining much of its ancient traditional culture while steadily adapting to an enormously changed world. Once famous mainly for being the launch point of the colossal Mongol Empire and its founder Chinggis Khan, Mongolia is going through yet another remarkable transformation.
Modern Mongolia is now viewed by many as a prime destination for adventure-travel, natural resources development and new business and investment opportunities. In Mongolia foreign travelers often witness the ancient ways of Mongolia’s nomadic culture balanced between progressive perspectives and older deep-rooted traditions. With a wealth of undeveloped territory and a proportionately small population, Mongolians are in a good position to reap the benefits from their country’s great potential.
While our country is still finding its way through the difficult transition from a socialist system to a market economy, there have been significant indications of positive economic progress for Mongolia as a whole. Mongolia’s GDP has risen steadily for the last few years and inflation which was high in the 1990’s has declined. Along with economic growth there has also been a reduction in social services that were available to Mongolians during Mongolia’s socialist era when financial aid was given to Mongolia by the Soviet Union. Changes bought about by Mongolia’s privatization process, industrial development and cutbacks in social support systems have caused hardships for many Mongolians who were dependent on government assistance for support. It remains to be seen if the growing gap between those in need of aid and wealthier Mongolians will be addressed with the assistance of social support programs.
Commercial ventures such as mining, lumbering and large-scale hunting operations are having a negative impact on Mongolia’s relatively pristine environment and wildlife. Industrial development and commercial hunting have taken a toll on the country’s environment due to insufficient monitoring of regulations that could prevent environmental over-exploitation. Recent revelations about the decline of forest cover and wildlife have compelled the government to pass new regulations to ensure better protection for Mongolia’s environment and wildlife.
Mongolians generally have a strong sense of connection with the unspoiled vast open spaces of their homeland and wish to protect their environmental and cultural heritage. Time will tell if Mongolia will be able to develop its economy and industries without expending too great a price environmentally. It is hoped by many Mongolians that this current situation is just a necessary phase of economic growth that all developing nations undergo, and will improve over time.
Some positive recent developments have made the government’s social support networks steadily more efficient. There has been a steady rise in government workers salaries, which had been outpaced by inflation earlier. Mongolia will most likely continue to face the challenges of many other emerging countries that have had to struggle to find an acceptable balance between making sacrifices for the sake of development and yet safeguarding its cultural and social heritage.
Mongolia’s capital city Ulaan Baatar, has its share of cosmopolitan amenities like internet cafes, department stores, supermarkets, art galleries, nightclubs, all-night kiosks and fancy hotels. During Mongolia’s national celebration of traditional sports called ‘Naadam’ held each July, all work activities come to a halt as Mongolians focus on the archery, wrestling and horseracing competitions. These traditional sporting competitions are a reminder of the cultural importance and esteem in which these ancient skills are still held by Mongolians.
Just a few miles away from the streets of Mongolia’s urban centers are the horses and livestock of traditional pastoral nomads living a life mostly unchanged for centuries. Many Mongolian business tycoons, politicians and urban dwellers still take time in the summer months to relax by living in the countryside with their relatives in the traditional portable round nomad homes called ‘Gers’. The fortitude needed to survive artic cold in a felt lined ‘Ger’ and the graciousness required to welcome all visitors to the nomad’s home are essential foundations of Mongolian society and an integral part of the Mongolian peoples character.
Despite great personal hardships including extreme weather conditions and limited financial resources more than a third of all Mongolians make their living raising livestock. Riding hardy Mongolian horses and moving their ‘Gers’ from one pasture to the next, the nomadic culture of Mongolia is probably the last of its kind still surviving in Asia.
The future of Mongolia’s nomadic lifestyle though is precarious due to recent land privatization, pasture depletion, disastrously severe winters, and large-scale rural population migration to cities. If pastoral-nomadism were to die out in Mongolia as some have predicted, then it could begin the decline of a deep level of personal involvement many Mongolians still have with their land. It is also possible that Mongolians will not allow economic development to jeopardize their homeland’s environment and traditional culture, which are an inspirational symbol of self-reliance and independence for Mongolians.
Capital and its population
The population of the capital city of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar is around 1 million and 3 hundred (2013). The city is situated between the four mountains: Bogd khan, Songino khairkhan, Chingeltei and Bayanzurkh.
It changed location twenty-eight times. The name Ulaanbaatar was given by communists in 1921 (means Red Hero). Before that time it was know by varies names for example Urga or Da Khuree.
Geography of Mongolia:
Mongolia is a land-locked country between Russia and China. It covers an area of about 1,564,000 square kilometers and total length of the border is 8252,658 km. (With China is 4709, 658 km and with Russia is 3543 km).Mongolia is known for its steppelands, the dry, grassy plains that support the traditional Mongolian livestock-herding lifestyle.The highest point in Mongolia is Nayramadlin Orgil, at 4,374 meters (14,350 feet). The lowest point is Khukh Nuur, at 518 meters (1,700 feet).
Four times the size of U.K., Three times the size of France, or about the size of western Europe. Mongolia is the world’s largest landlocked nation and is the 18th largest country in the world.
Population and Density:
Mongolias population is 2.9 million (2013). More than half the population is under age 30. And its expecting it’s the 3 millionth citizens by the end of 2014. By the way about 4 million ethnic Mongols live in Inner Mongolia, which is now part of China.94% of the population of Mongolia are ethnic Mongols, mainly from the Khalkha clan. About 9% of the ethnic Mongols come from the Durbet, Dariganga, Barga and other clans.5% of Mongolian citizens are members of Turkic peoples, primarily Kazakhs and Uzbeks. There are also tiny populations of other minorities, including Tuvans, Tungus, Chinese and Russians (less than 0.1% each). 4.7 persons per square mile (1.7 persons per square km) Approximately 65% of Mongolians live in urban centers, 35% are pastoral nomads, which makes it the least populated country in the world.
Russian-Cyrillic script the main script used on the territory of the Mongolia. And also there is traditional Mongolian script which you can see on Mongolian currency tugrug and sometime on the street address.There is ongoing discussion to change of Russian-Cyrillic script to national script since the Democratic revolution of 1990s. In 2013 Mongolian Calligraphy is inscribed on the List of Intangible Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, UNESCO.Mongolian calligraphy is the technique of handwriting in the Classical Mongolian script, which comprises 90 letters connected vertically by continuous strokes to create words. After decades of suppression, Mongolian calligraphy has experienced a rebirth since the country’s democratization in the 1990s. Traditionally, mentors select the best students and train them to be calligraphers over a period of five to eight years. At present, only three middle-aged scholars voluntarily train the small community of just over twenty young calligraphers.
Literacy Rate: 98.4%
Religion in Mongolia:
Since ancient times Tengrism was the dominant belief sytem of the Mongols and still retains significant importance in their mythology. During the era of the Great Khans, Mongolia practiced freedom of worship and is still a defining element of the Mongol character. In the 16th century, Tibetan Buddhism became the dominant religion in Mongolia. Traditional Shamanism was, except in some remote regions, suppressed and marginalized. On the other hand, a number of shamanic practices, like ovoo worshiping, were incorporated into Buddhist liturgy.
Tibetan Buddhism is a ritualistic religion with a large number of deities. This inspired the creation of religious objects including images in painting and sculptures.
After the Stalinist purges in the 1930s, both Buddhism and Shamanism were virtually outlawed in the Mongolian Peoples Republic.
Since the 1990s, a number of Christian sects are trying to gain a foothold in Mongolia. About 4% of the Mongolian population is Muslim.
(The total is more than 100% because some Mongolians practice both Buddhism and Shamanism. Lately Mongols practice Shamanism year after year more increasing …)
As far back as the historical record goes, shamanism was the oldest religion practiced in Asia, which was once a single cultural area extending over Russia, China, India, Mongolia, Nepal and Persia; where shamanism was concerned,these were a unified culture. The old religion of Mongolia is shamanism,the worship without scripture,the faith which had no books;the hallmarks of the shaman were ecstatic trembling,involuntary speaking and singing.Along with the shaman`s role in life,though,there were the hallmarks of what seem to be basic Bon beliefs:the cult of the eternal blue sky,the veneration of the fire,the invocation of Geser Khan and ancestor-worship;incense of offerings to the tengri /sky/,the prayers to hills and mountains and the therein and blessings and curses and worship.
A shaman is a person who communicates between the spirit and human world. Shamans are aware of the fact that the physical symptoms of illness are also to be treated, and herbal medicines are administrated by shamans in addition to the spiritual healing. The spiritual aspect of the illness,however,is important because the physical symptoms alone are not the true problem.Soul retrieval is usually necessary in cases of severe and chronic illness.The absence of the ami or suns souls /aura/ makes it practically impossible for a body to function normally.
Worship to nine wishes Ovoo
Ovoo (heap) is shamanistic cairn,usally made from rocks.The Ovoos are often found at the top of mountains and in high places,like mountain passes.They serve mainly as religious sites,used in worship of the nature spirits.Shaman shrine to ensure auspicious riding across the vast distances of Mongolia.Traditionally,the Ovoos are places for libations,ritual offerings of milk and vodka,accompanied by songs telling of beauty and power of the land and nature. The wishes Ovoos are all of the wishes of humanity.
The Nine Wishes: 1.The wish of Eternity 2.The wish of Peace 3. The wish of Happiness 4.The wish of Family 5.The wish of Health 6.The wish of Knowledge 7.The wish of Benefit 8.The wish of Success 9.The wish of Rich
When you see them it is like a Ger shape.Eternity Ovoo is in the middle-eight others are surrounded.The Nine Wishes Ovoos are only one in the world-you can not see anywhere else.
Mongolia has 21 Aimags (provinces) which are divided into 343 Sums (districts) and smaller sub-districts known as Bags.
Extreme Continental (large daily and seasonal temperature changes)
Summer averages +68F degrees. Winter averages 13F degrees. Winter season runs from October till April. Annually Mongolia has more than 260 sunny days on average.
More than 5,180 feet (1,580 meters) Average altitude in Mongolia is one mile above sea level.
Major Rivers & Lakes:
The Orkhon River is the longest river in Mongolia at 698 miles (1124 km). l Nuur is Mongolia’s largest lake and holds 2% of the world’s freshwater supply.
Desert steppe, Desert plains, Grassy steppe terrain is found in most parts of Eastern Mongolia, Mountainous zone covers 5% of Mongolia’s territory, Mountain forest, Taiga forest region in the north is 5% of Mongolia’s total landmass.
The Gobi Desert is the world’s northernmost desert and has a mostly gravel surface with low-lying rocky hills. One of the earth’s great deserts it ranges through most of southern Mongolia and comprises 17% of Mongolia’s total landmass. Annually desertification in the Gobi Desert area is increasing due to overgrazing primarily.
Altai Nuruu Mountains ranging northwest to southeast, Khentii Nuruu Mountains in the northeast and Khangai Nuruu Mountains in Central Mongolia.
Khuiten Peak 14,350 feet (4374 meters) in the Altai Tavanbogd Uul range.
Copper,Coal,Textiles, Cashmere and cashmere products, Fluorspar, Wool, Livestock and livestock products.
New Years Day - January 1st, Tsagaan Tsar (Lunar New Year) Usually early February depending on phases of the moon, International Woman’s Day March 8th, Mothers and Children’s Day - June 1st, Naadam (National Games) July 11th - 13th, Independence Day November 26th.
+8 hours to GMT
(Tughruk), U.S. $1 = Tg1663(January, 2014) All major currencies can be exchange at banks and licensed exchange centers in Ulaanbaatar. Credit cards are accepted at biggest hotels, restaurants and supermarkets.
Power supply is 220 V and 50 Hz. Sockets require a two – pin type plug or an adapter.
976 and area code for Ulaanbaatar 11
GSM 900, 1800, CDMA 450, 800, 1800, 1900.
No specific requirements, all visitors should ensure that they come to Mongolia with suitable medical insurance
There are varieties of restaurants in Ulaanbaatar serving Mongolian, Chinese, Russian, European, Japanese, and Korean, Thai and Latin American foods.