Mongolia Country Profile

The second-largest landlocked country in the world, Mongolia is sandwiched between two geographic giants - Russia and China. While it is only 23 miles away from Kazakhstan, the two countries don’t share a border. Almost half of the population of Mongolia lives in its bustling capital, and these days only about one third of the population stick to their nomadic roots. Famously, the Mongol Empire was founded by Genghis Khan in 1207, and then in 1279 his grandson, Kublai Khan, conquered China. Mongolia is a stunningly beautiful country with a harsh climate, known as the “Land of the Eternal Blue Sky" or "Blue Sky Country.”

Nature of Mongolia

Mongolia Fact File

Capital

Ulaanbaatar

Population

3 million

Religion

About 50% Buddhist, 39% non-religious, and several minority religions

Currency

Tögrög (MNT)

Climate

Mixed climate classifications - mostly, hot in the summer and very cold in the winter

What to do?

With so much of the county being mountainous, one of the top attractions in Tajikistan is to spend time outdoors and soak up the natural wonders on offer. Also, with such a rich history, the country is peppered with castles and fortresses, ruins and temples, with unique architectural styles. Here are a few suggestions of places to visit in Tajikistan:

  • The Baga Gazriin Chuluu National Park is a great place to see the sweeping vistas under unblemished blue skies.
  • In Ulaanbaatar, head to The National Museum of Mongolia to find out more about the history and culture of this country.
  • Staying in a traditional Ger Camp rates as a top experience in Mongolia. These round yurts are constructed from a wooden trellis with a pyramidal roof, and are simple but cosy.
  • Travel in style when you sign up for a camel ride - these calm, gentle creatures will amble along at a pleasing pace, allowing you to soak up your surroundings. Horseback riding is also popular.
  • Tsagaan Suvarga, known as ‘White Stuppa’, is a big escarpment with 200m height and 400m.
  • A fantastic place for hiking is Yol Valley (Vultures Valley) which has dramatic scenery and wild goats clambering up sheer rock faces.
  • If you want to catch a glimpse of the przewalski horse, which was brought back from the brink of extinction, head to Hustai National Park (Wild Horse Park).
  • Residence of the last king of Mongolia in the 19th century, Bogd Khan Palace has now been turned into a museum.
  • Mañjuśrī Monastery is a former gompa (Buddhist ecclesiastical fortification) which was destroyed in 1937 by Mongolian Communists.
Mongolian steppes

Culture

With Mongolian people having Nomadic roots (meaning that they were always on the move) their cuisine is heavy on meat and dairy products but doesn’t feature so many vegetables. Popular dishes include Buuz, which is a meat-filled steamed dumpling, and Khuushuur, which is a sort of deep-fried meat pie. Mutton is a popular meat, and horse meat is also eaten. Their cuisine is influenced by neighbours China and Russia, evident by the most popular alcoholic beverage - vodka.

As the horse was, historically, such an important part of Mongolian life, you can find many crafts relating to these magnificent beasts. Saddles, bridles and whips were often ornately decorated, even embellished with silver or gold. For any equine friends back home, this sort of item would make a wonderful souvenir. Other crafts of note are Mongolian metalwork, embroidery, leather craft, hats, tunics, snuff boxes, jewelry and religious pieces.