mongolica.travel info@mongolica.org

976-88180148

ABOUT MONGOLIA

Overview

Mongolia is a landlocked country in Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. It is a vast emptiness that links land and sky, and is one of the last few places on the planet where nomadic life is still a living tradition. Ulan Bator, the capital and also the largest city, is home to about 50% of the population. Mongolia's political system is a parliamentary republic.

At 1,564,116 square kilometres (603,909 sq mi), Mongolia is the 19th largest and the most sparsely populated independent country in the world, with a population of around 2.9 million people. Almost another 40% of population are scattered all over Mongolia with their 56 million head of sheep, goats, cattle, horses and camels. There are 21 provinces, called aimag. Each aimag has a central city or town and about 15-22 sub-provinces called soum, so you will know which aimag and which soum you are in.

70% of Mongolia is under the age of 35 and the genders are pretty well balanced. 84% are Khalkha Mongols, 6% Kazakhs and 10% other groups.

It is also the world's second-largest landlocked country after Kazakhstan. The country contains very little arable land, as much of its area is covered by steppes, with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south. Approximately 30% of the population are nomadic or semi-nomadic. The predominant religion in Mongolia is Tibetan Buddhism, and the majority of the state's citizens are of Mongol ethnicity, although Kazakhs, Tuvans, and other minorities also live in the country, especially in the west. About 20% of the population live on less than USD 1.25 per day. Mongolia joined the World Trade Organization in 1997 and seeks to expand its participation in regional economic and trade regimes.

There is said to be about 250 sunny days throughout each year. The weather is bitterly cold during the winter, dropping down to -40°C in some parts. With many types of terrain--from desert to verdant mountains--the weather during the summer varies from region to region, but is generally hot. Outside of the Gobi desert, this time of year is marked with many rains in some areas, and it can become quite cool at night.

Mongolia is elevated on average about 1580m above sea level. In the north and west lie Altai, Khangai and Khentii mountain ranges. Gobi and desert regions spread throughout the east and south of the country. Much of the country consists of steppe and mountain steppe. The highest point in Mongolia is Khuiten Peak in the Tavan Bogd Mountain range in the far west at 4357m above sea level. From the north to the south, the country is divided into 4 major regions differing in natural and geographical features; Khangai and Khentii, Altai Mountains, Dornod plains and Gobi regions. Further, Mongolia is divided into six natural zones; high mountain, taiga (forest), forest steppe, steppe, desert steppe and Gobi desert.

More on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongoliahttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-15466133

 

History

The area of what is now Mongolia has been ruled by various nomadic empires, including the Xiongnu, the Xianbei, the Rouran, the Gцkturks, and others. In 1206 Genghis Khan founded the Mongol Empire, and his grandson Khubilai Khan conquered China to establish the Yuan Dynasty. After the collapse of the Yuan, the Mongols retreated to Mongolia and resumed their earlier pattern of factional conflict and occasional raids on the Chinese borderlands. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Mongolia came under the influence of Tibetan Buddhism. At the end of the 17th century, all of Mongolia had been incorporated into the area ruled by the Qing Dynasty along with China. During the collapse of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in 1911, Mongolia declared independence.

The country came under Soviet influence, resulting in the proclamation of the Mongolian People's Republic as a Soviet satellite state in 1924. After the breakdown of communist regimes in Europe in late 1989, Mongolia saw its own Democratic Revolution in early 1990; it led to a multi-party system, a new constitution of 1992, and transition to a market economy.

More on http://historyofmongolia.com/http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/mongols/

Religion

As a Central Asian nomadic country, various kinds of Shamanism or Tengrism have been widely practiced throughout history. Even though Shamanism was gradually replaced by Buddhism, it made its remnants in Mongolian culture and nowadays Shamanism is becoming popular among Mongolians. The religious ceremony called “Ovoo Takhikh”, to make an offering to an “Ovoo” which is a pile of stones often built on top of the mountains and passes as a home to mountain spirits, is one of the Shamanistic rituals that is widely practiced.

Also other religions, such as Islam, Christianity are spreading in the country. Recently, some scholars and politicians are making a proposal on restoring and recognizing the “Forever Blue Sky Worship” or the Tengrism as the state official religion. A study shows that 40% of the population are Buddhists, 30% are Athiests, 20% are Shamanists, 6% are Christians and 4% are Muslims. More on http://asia.isp.msu.edu/wbwoa/east_asia/mongolia/religion.htm;http://mongoluls.net/mongolian-religion/monrelihis.shtml

Geography and Climate

Mongolia is the world's 19th-largest country following Iran. It mostly lies between latitudes 41° and 52°N (a small area is north of 52°), and longitudes 87° and 120°E. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its westernmost point is only 38 kilometres (24 mi) from Kazakhstan.

Mongolia is elevated on average about 1580m above sea level. In the north and west lie Altai, Khangai and Khentii mountain ranges. Gobi and desert regions spread throughout the east and south of the country. Much of the country consists of steppe and mountain steppe. The highest point in Mongolia is Khuiten Peak in the Tavan Bogd Mountain range in the far west at 4357m above sea level. From the north to the south, the country is divided into 4 major regions differing in natural and geographical features; Khangai and Khentii, Altai Mountains, Dornod plains and Gobi regions. Further, Mongolia is divided into six natural zones; high mountain, taiga (forest), forest steppe, steppe, desert steppe and Gobi desert.

Water reserves in the north and middle of the country are different. Many large rivers are located in central Mongolia. Mongolia’s water reserve total volume 609.5km square and 82% of this are lakes, 10.3% is glaciers, 6% is rivers and 1.7% is underground water. There are 3811 rivers with more than 67000 total lengths, 3500 lakes with total volume of 500m3 or more, 7000 springs, 190 glaciers with more than 540m2 total area, some 250 mineral water springs, and 139 underground water reserves in Mongolia.

Rivers and lakes in Mongolia can be divided into 3 oceanic basins, Arctic Ocean Basin, Pacific Ocean Basin, and Central Asian Internal Drainage Basin. The basin of the Uvs Lake, the largest lake in Mongolia, shared with Tuva Republic in Russia, is a natural World Heritage Site. Most of the country is hot in the summer and extremely cold in the winter, with January averages dropping as low as −30 °C (−22 °F).

The country is subject to occasional harsh climatic conditions known annual average temperature in Ulan Bator is 0°C, making it the world's coldest capital city. It has an extreme continental climate with long, cold winters and short summers, during which most of its annual precipitation falls. The country averages 257 cloudless days a year, and it is usually at the center of a region of high atmospheric pressure. Precipitation is highest in the north (average of 200 to 350 millimeters (7.9 to 13.8 in) per year) and lowest in the south, which receives 100 to 200 millimeters (3.9 to 7.9 in) annually. The highest annual precipitation of 622.297mm occurred in the forests of Bulgan Province close to the border with Russia and the lowest of 41.735mm occurred in the Gobi Desert (period 1961–1990).

The name "Gobi" is a Mongol term for a desert steppe, which usually refers to a category of arid rangeland with insufficient vegetation to support marmots but with enough to support camels. Mongols distinguish Gobi from desert proper, although the distinction is not always apparent to outsiders unfamiliar with the Mongolian landscape. Gobi rangelands are fragile and are easily destroyed by overgrazing, which results in expansion of the true desert, a stony waste where not even Bactrian camels can survive.

More on http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/asia/mongolia/mnland.htmhttp://mad-research.com/mongolia/culture/geography-and-climate/;http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/southasia/qt/ClimateMongolia.htm

 

Fauna

There are 128 species of mammals, 487 species of birds, 64 species of fish, 6 species of amphibians, 21 species of reptiles, 13,000 species of insects, and 516 species of simple worms found in Mongolia.

Amongst the rare and significant species of mammals in Mongolia are following: Gobi bear (Ursus arctos gobiensis), Bactrian Camel (Camelus ferus), Przewalski’s Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii), Otter (Lutra lutra), Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica mongolica), Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia), Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), Black-tailed Gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa), Moose (Alces alces), Mongolian Wild Ass (Equus hemionus hemionus), Mongolian Beaver (Castor fiber birulai), and Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus).

Amongst the birds, following birds populations are dramatically declining in Mongolia; Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus), Relict Gull (Larus relictus), White-naped Crane (Grus vipio), Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), and Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), Pallas’s Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus).

According to their habitat, animals in Mongolia are classified into the following: mountain animals (mountain sheep or argali, wild goat or ibex, snow leopard, marten, lammergeier and snowcock), steppe animals (wolf, corsac fox, saiga antelope, black-tailed gazelle, marmot, gopher, bustard and crane), forest animals (deer, moose, sable, musk deer, roe deer, bear, boar, lynx, wolf, wolverine, fox, hare, badger and skunk), water animals (muskrat, beaver, goose, duck, scoter, pike, perch, taimen, grayling, lenok and burbot), amphibians (frog, Mongolian toad and stepperunner (Eremias arguta)), and reptiles (Mongolian racerunner (Eremias argus)), steppe rat snake (Elaphe dione), pit viper (Glyodius halys) and steppe ribbon racer (Psammophis lineolatus).

 

Mongolian Marmot (Marmota sibirica) is a keystone species in the communities they inhabit, living in large colonies. They inhabit open steppe, semi-desert, forest-steppe, mountain slopes and valleys. Mongolian Marmot, also named Tarbagan Marmot, resembles the Bobak Marmot of E Europe and C Asia in mode of life and habits. During hot summers can migrate looking for fresh vegetation, in mountains has vertical migrations for 800-1000 m.

 

Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) is a rare and endangered subspecies of wild horse native to the steppes of central Asia, specifically Mongolia. Extinct in the wild, it has been reintroduced to its native habitat in Mongolia at the Khustain Nuruu National Park, Takhin Tal Nature Reserve, and Khomiin Tal. Its population is now increasing in the region.

Flora

From north to south, Mongolia is divided into four major latitudinal zones; forest steppe, steppe, semi-desert and Gobi desert. There are also high mountains particularly in the forest steppe zone including taiga and alpine taiga zones. Depending on geographical zones, belts and topography, territory of Mongolia is divided into 4 main botanical geographical districts; Khangai and Khentii, Altai Mountains, the Eastern steppe and the Gobi. Although the amount of vegetation and flora of Mongolia is proportionally small, it is distinctive and heterogeneous because of the country’s vast territory and geography.

In Mongolia 3,000 species of seed plants, 445 species of mosses, 930 species of lichens, 838 species of mushrooms, 1,574 species of water and 160 species of primitive organisms, belonging to 700 genera of 134 families can be found.

Coniferous forest spread throughout the northern and western parts of the country. 7% of the total area of the country is covered with forest. 22% of forest consists of larch. 12,200km2 area is used for pasture and 20,000km2 is used for hay fields.

Mongolia is rich with its rare medicinal herbs. There are totally 4,000 species of herbs and plants growing in Mongolia. 80% of the world wide species of herbs including sea buckthorn bushes grow in Mongolia.