Due to its geographical location and cultural traditions, Mongolia is often referred to as the heart of Central Asia. It is a land of nomads, ancient legends and interesting architectural monuments. Here, you’ll have an opportunity to visit the oldest Buddhist temples and learn colourful local traditions. Both, those to be fond of cultural monuments and those who search for wildlife and scenic landscapes, desire to come here. You’ll see taiga forests, grassy steppes, lakes, endless deserts with small oases, snow-capped mountains with glaciers.
In the 13th century, a disparate group of tribes was located on the territory of Mongolia. In 1206, they were united by Temujin, better known in the world history as Genghis Khan. Having experienced the division in the 14th century and the Chinese revolution in the early 20th century, in 1924 the country officially proclaimed itself the Mongolian People's Republic. In 1945, China recognized the independence of Outer Mongolia. Today, Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of China.
Since ancient times, the Mongols have nomadized, but even today this way of life remains important for many people in the country. In Ulan Bator, a capital of Mongolia, you can notice modern high buildings located next to yurta, a nomad’s tent of simple design that can be easily demolished and moved to another location. In general, you won’t find many big cities in the country, and this is because much territory of Mongolia is uninhabited. Therefore, you can find there virgin boundless steppe dominated by absolute peace and quiet.
The nature of Mongolia will impress you. The Mongolian Altai Mountains and the Khangai Mountains run through the whole country. The Gobi Desert is another country’s feature. Here you can see sandy expanses and prairies, rugged mountains and oases. After all, this is where archaeologists and palaeontologists always find remains of dinosaurs and historical facts that prove birth of the human race in this area. In addition, Mongolia is famous for its salt lake Uvs Nuur, around which you should expect incredible views. Popular Lake Hovsgol is located on the territory of Hovsgol National Park, one of the largest natural parks in the country.
However, the most interesting feature of Mongolia is its wide range of temples. Historically, the architecture of the country, including sacred sites, was influenced by Buddhism. That’s why you can see here a lot of monasteries and temple buildings that combine traditions of Mongolian, Tibetan and Chinese ancient architecture. Erdene Zuu Monastery is one of the largest and oldest complexes in the country. It is believed that it was built on the site of Karakorum, a former capital of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, and the walls of the monastery were built from the ruins of this ancient city. The monastic complex consists of three temples, thus forming a single architectural ensemble surrounded by a wall of 180 stupas.
Another unique building in Mongolia is the Monastery of Tranquil Felicity, located on the banks of the Selenga River. Gandantegchinlen Monastery simply shouldn’t be missed by you. This one of the most visited monasteries in Mongolia is located in Ulan Bator and stands out among the metropolitan buildings thanks to its coloured roofs and walls. At the entrance to the temple you will see sculptures of gods, and the centre of the court is remarkable thanks to the statue of Buddha and a stone mortar. Since 1970, Buddhist Theological Academy has been opened there. More than 50,000 books and manuscripts have been kept in its library. Among them you can find a million of sutras in the Mongolian and Tibetan languages, as well as in Sanskrit.
Museums are considered to be an integral part of Mongolia. The Nature Museum, located in the capital Ulan Bator, is the most popular tourist attraction destination. Rich collections of historic animals, fish, birds, insects and plants are presented there. The most famous exposition is the skeleton of Tarbozaurus, a dinosaur. You should also visit the Choijin Lama Temple Museum, where valuable exhibits of Mongolian art are kept. Another interesting building is the International Intellectual Museum, famous for a huge collection of Mongolian toys, puzzles and logic games. Its exposition has already been presented in 50 countries of the world. One of the most visited museums in the capital is the Bogd Khan Museum. In former times, it used to be the residence of the last Mongolian monarch, and now this building is home to about 10 thousand exhibits that tell the history of Mongolia.
The Genghis Khan Statue Complex is considered to be the tourist centre of Mongolia. It has gained its fame thanks to the majestic equestrian statue of Genghis Khan. This 40-meter sculpture is covered with 250 tons of stainless steel, built on the 10-meter pedestal surrounded by 36 columns. The two-story shopping centre with a museum, a giant map of the Genghis Khan's conquests, an art gallery, a conference room, restaurants, billiards rooms and gift shops is located under the statue.
You can choose any season to travel to Mongolia. Interesting museums, churches, various hotel complexes are located there. However, the most attractive time for tourists is during traditional festivals. Naadam, a day of the national independence, is the most famous holiday that is celebrated in early July. Tsagaan Sar, a Mongolian Lunar New Year, is an interesting three-day festival celebrated throughout Mongolia. If you want to experience the colour of local life, you should visit Thousand Camel Festival held in late January. During its celebration you can see thousands of camels in the Gobi Desert.
Unusual traditions, virgin nature and the hospitality of the local population attract hundreds of tourists to Mongolia. However, any story won’t show you the soul of this country as a journey can do.
Administrative division — Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar Population: 844818
- Arkhangai Population: 89331
- Bayan-Ölgii Population: 45704
- Bayankhongor Population: 88579
- Bulgan Population: 65729
- Darkhan-Uul Population: 90478
- Dornod Population: 77928
- Dornogovi Population: 53282
- Dundgovi Population: 53635
- Govi-Altai Population: 64293
- Govĭ-Sumber Population: 12884
- Khentii Population: 67770
- Khovd Population: 91165
- Khövsgöl Population: 124512
- Ömnögovi Population: 49506
- Orkhon Population: 82788
- Övörkhangai Population: 110400
- Selenge Population: 94590
- Sükhbaatar Population: 58340
- Töv Population: 102009
- Uvs Population: 92676
- Zavkhan Population: 90655