Mongolia in Brief
Unique nomadic culture, rich and ancient historical sites, warm hospitality and of course legendary Gobi desert, endless steppes, crystal clear lakes, majestic snow capped mountains all in one place. This is about Mongolia but one sentence hard to describe all. Mongolia is one of world’s truly undiscovered and untouched beauty, adventurous travel destinations and safest country to visit. Traditionally, Mongolian lifestyle is based on nomadic lifestyle in which consists of vary kind of nomadic tribes. Mongolia’s best travel routes and attractions are classified into 6 main categories by the geographical locations: Ulaanbaatar and around, Central Mongolia- World Heritage Site of UNESCO, Southern Mongolia- the Gobi Desert region, Northern Mongolia-Pristine lake Khuvsgul, Western Mongolia-Snow capped mountains and the Eastern Mongolia-Birthplace of Chinggis khan and Great Eastern Plains. The combination of glorious history, nomadic civilization and its wonderful traditions and the pristine nature make Mongolia a truly special experience, definitely not to be missed.
Population: 3 million
Area: 1,566000 sq km (610,740 sq mi)
Land boundaries: 8,158 km, with Russia 3,485 km and with China 4,673 km
Altitude: Average altitude is 1,580 m above sea level with highest point Huiten Peak at Altai Tavan Bogd at 4,374 m above sea level and lowest point being Huh Nuur depression at 560 m altitude.
Terrain: Mountain steppes in central and northern regions, high mountains in west and vast semi-desert and desert plains in the south
People: Khalkha Mongols (86%), over 20 smaller Mongolian ethnic groups and Kazaks (6%)
Languages: Official language is Mongolian. Russian is other major language is used. English is widely spoken in Ulaanbaatar.
Religions: Tibetan Buddhism, Muslim, Christian and Shamanism
Climate: Relatively dry with extreme continental temperatures. Average summer temperature + 20 C, Average winter temperature -23 C, average rainfall 200-220 mm. Winter lasts from November to mid March, Spring April through May, Summer from June through to September.
Economy: Traditionally based on agriculture, livestock breeding (camels, cattle, horses, goats and sheep), mining (coal, gold, copper and uranium).
Political system: Parliamentary republic. State Great Khural (Parliament), with 76 members elected for four years. The last election was held in July, 2012. President elected for four years. Present President was elected in 2013. Prime Minister appointed by State Great Khural for four years.
Judicial system: Mongolian judicial system consists of Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Aimag and capital city courts, Soum and district courts.
State structure: Mongolia is unitary state and divided administratively into Aimags (21) and a capital city; Aimags are subdivided into soums; soums into bags; and a capital city into districts; districts into khoroos.
National currency: Tugrug (MNT), USD 1 equals approx. 1880 tugrugs as of Jan 2015.
Public holidays: December 31-January 1-New Year, 3 days in January/ February-Mongolia New Year (Tsagaan Sar), June 1- Mother and Children day, July 11-13-National Holiday (Naadam)
Time: Add 8 hour to Greenwich Mean Time
Normal working hours: 08.00-12.00 and 13.00-17.00
Electric current: 220 volts/ 50 HZ
Visa arrangements: Visa shall be issued by Mongolian Embassies and Diplomatic Missions as well as Honorary consuls of Mongolia, or can be obtained at the airport at a cost of US 53$ but must be accompanied by an invitation.
Mongolia lies between Russia to the North and China to the South. The total land of area is 1,566,000 square kilometers- Mongolia is the 19th largest and the most sparsely populated independent country in the world, with a population of around 3 million people. It is also the world’s second-largest landlocked country after Kazakhstan. The geography of the country is characterized by great diversity. From north to south, it can be divided into four areas: mountain-forest steppe, mountain steppe and, in the extreme south, semi-desert and desert (the latter being about 30% of the entire territory). In contrast to most visitors’ expectations, much of the country’s territory is mountainous. The principal mountains are concentrated in the west, with much of this region having elevations above 2,000 meters. The country’s highest peaks are permanently snow-capped land covered with glaciers.
Mountains and dense forest dominate central and northern Mongolia. The grasslands cover large areas of this region. Across the eastern part of the country stretches the vast grasslands of the Central Asian steppe. The steppe grades into the Gobi desert, which extends throughout southern Mongolia from the east to the west of the country. The Gobi Desert is mostly gravely, but also contains large areas of sand dunes in the drier areas of the Gobi near the southern border. The highest point in Mongolia is Nayramadlin Orgil (also known as Mt.Khuiten), at 4,374 meters (14,350 feet). The lowest point is Huh Nuur, at 560 meters (1,700 feet).
Mongolia is known to the world as country of "Blue Sky". Along with Southern Siberia this part of Asia has a continental climate, with long, cold, dry winters and brief, mild, and relatively wet summers.
The wind is 1.5-4.5m/s. The average rainfall is 200-220 mm. In Mongolia there are 250 sunny days a year, often with clear cloudless skies. Although the average summer temperature is +20C ,winter is -23C,in the winter months some areas of country drop to as low as -50`C,with Ulaanbaatar –coldest and windiest capital in the earth –often seeing temperatures of -35`C. In the summer the Gobi area around + 35`C temperatures, whilst it’s colder the further north you go.
Winter: In Mongolia, winter is the most severe, the coldest and longest season. All rivers, lakes, streams and ponds freeze in winter. It snows throughout the country, but not heavily. After making all the necessary preparations for a long winter, herdsmen stay at their winter camps. Winter starts early in November and lasts about 120 days until mid of March.
Spring: Spring comes after a severe winter, days become longer, and nights shorter. It is the time for snow to melt and for animals to come out from hibernation. Spring starts middle of March and usually lasts about 60 days although it can be as long as 70 days or as short as 45 days in some areas of the country. For people and livestock, it is also a harsh season of the driest and the windiest days although it gets warm in spring, livestock breed and gain their weight, and grass becomes green.
Summer: Generally, precipitation is higher in summer than any time of the year. Rivers and streams are at their fullest in summer. It is the time when pasture, grass and crops grow and livestock gain weight and fat. It is the most pleasant time with abundant dairy products and there are many feasts and holidays of happy people. In Mongolia, summer lasts about 100 days from the end of May until September.
Autumn: Autumn in Mongolia it’s the season of transition from the hot and wet summer to the cold and dry winter. There is less rainfall in autumn. Autumn is an important season in Mongolia in order to prepare for winter; harvesting the crops, vegetables and fodder; getting ready their cattle barns and sheds; preparing firewood and warming up their homes and so on. Autumn lasts about 60 days from the beginning of September until the early November.
Mongolian population has passed 3 million according to 2015 estimate. 1 million of them live in rural area and are mainly engaged in traditional livestock herding and some extent in crop production. The present urban population is above 1, 5 million. In Ulaanbaatar almost1 million inhabitants, this is one third of populations of Mongolia. Populations are relatively young, almost 68% of them under the age of 35.The average life expectancy is just over 65 year. Mongolians themselves can be subdivided into over 20 different ethnic groups, distinguished by their individual customs, histories and dialects. The largest ethnic group is Khalha, mainly live in central, eastern and southern Mongolia, and account for over 86% of the total population. The Oirats are a relatively populous group of western Mongolians, including the smaller groups, Durvud, Torgud, Bayad, Uuld, Zakhchin, Myangad and Uriankhai. Northern Mongolian ethnic groups include the Darkhat, the Tsaatan, and the Khotgoid. These groups inhabit the dense forests of the Huvsgul lake area, near the Russian border. The Buriyat are the only group which originates from the vast eastern steppe.
LANGUAGE: Mongolian language belongs to Ural Altaic language family. Official language is Mongolian. 94 % of the population speaks in Mongolia, but some of the ethnic groups speak with dialect. Kazakh people (6% of the population) speak in Turkish.
Shamanism – Shamanism goes back in Mongolian history long before Chinggis Khan’s time, but it was Chinggis Khan that made it into such a fundamental part of the Mongolian tradition. At that time the Mongolians were worshipped “Hoh Tenger” (blue skies). According to this belief the skies are the father, and the earth is the mother of all beings in the universe. As a civilization totally dependent on the forces of nature, the Mongolians worshipped the various elements of nature, praying to their ancestors who have transformed into mythical spiritual animals to provide them with good weather, health and success. Though oppressed during communist time, Shamanism is still practiced in Mongolia, and people who seek help will approach a Shaman for a blessing or cure and even to get hints about their future.
Buddhism- Mongolians have followed Buddhism since the 16th century, when the Mongolian king, Abtai Sain Khan, was converted by Tibetan lamas. Mongolians follow Tibetan Buddhist teachings, (also called Lamaism), the body of religious Buddhist doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet and the Himalayan region. Today, Mongolia still embraces its Buddhist heritage. Monasteries are being restored, and are once again crowded with worshippers. The Dalai Lama is an enormously popular figure and has visited the country several times. For many Mongolians, the practice of Buddhism is flavored with traces of Shamanism, an even more ancient spirituality.
Other Religions- Mongolia also has a small Muslim community — about 6 per cent of the population. These are mostly ethnic Kazakhs living in the far west of the country.