What can we expect in Mongolia?

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Mongolia has for thousands of years been little explored. Without doubt because of the fact that it has had little value in the world market. There are no silk roads, spice smugglers, nor export of precious value. Mongolia is a
poor country, closed in between Russia and China. The country is a golden treasure for pure nature lovers. They say that Mongolia represents one the greatest unspoiled continuous tracts of wilderness on the planet, with pristine rivers, lakes and thriving wildlife.

Mongolia is one of the biggest countries of the world. 1.6 million square kilometers, meaning that it covers as much as France, Germany, the Netherland, Belgium, Spain and Portugal all together! We will unfortunately not  be able to see Khovsgol, the most famous lake of the country. It is supposed to be glorious with its crystal-clear water surrounded by snow-covered mountains. On the other hand, we will see the desert, loads of it. The Gobi desert is home of threatened and rear animals and nomads. The nomads live in tents (Ger) and they move at least twice a year, in May and October. They live with animals, and ride horses as well as they can walk.  They say that Mongolians are natural cowboys and cowgirls with children learning to ride as young three  years old. They are tough but soft-spoken and very hospitable and with an open door policy for travelers passing through. Travelling through the Gobi desert looks promising for us!

Back in the old days the Gobi Desert was filled with dinosaurs. Unfortunately we will not discover dinosaurs nowadays, but the desert is occupied by horses and animals belonging to the nomads. There are also rare mammals which are on the brink of extinction, such as Mazalai (Gobi’s brown bear), black tail antelope and wild Bactrian camel. Considering the time we will spend in the Desert we hope to see at least a couple of animals. Anything except a close-up bear would be fine!

Despite the size the country has only about 3 million inhabitants. 30% of them are nomads, and about one million living in the capital of Ulan Bataar. Because of the snowy winters the migration to Ulan Bataar increases quickly. Immigrants move to the outskirts of the city  center, where they live in ger societies. There are actually more Mongolians living outside Mongolia than inside the borders, a total of 3.5 million lives in China and 1 million live in Russia.  And the Mongolians living in Mongolia are divided into up to 30 different ethnic groups. Giving the country a wide spread of culture and variations to get to know. This will be an exciting country to visit!

If you have visited Mongolia and have some places you want to share with us or people we should visit on the road, please leave us a comment or send us an email!

Movie:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emUTIFcjCUI

References:
http://www.e-mongol.com/mongolia_population.htm
http://www.mongolianculture.com/
http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongolia#Samfunn

Photos:
Julie Laurent, Simon Taylor, Karina Moreton and Honza Soukup

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