Snugly seated between Siberia in the North, and China in the down South, lies Mongolia; the great land of conquerors and wild horses. Mongolia is known for its vast steppelands, as well as the dry, grassy plains that support the traditional Mongolian livestock-herding lifestyle. Mongolia’s industry is composed of servicing construction materials, mining, oil, and processing of animal products. Their agriculture offers the ever important wheat, barley, potatoes, forage crops, and sheep. While their exports include the ever versatile and functional copper, gold, livestock, animal products, cashmere, wool, and hides. Some areas of Mongolia are mountainous, however, while others are desert. It boasts a tableland ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 ft, about 914 to 1,524 m in elevation, and is slightly larger than Alaska. Contrary to popular belief, Mongolia isn’t all just sparse grasslands and ice. In fact, it’s home to a variety of salt lakes, rivers, and streams, including the great rivers Hovd, Onon, Selenga, and Tula. The Gobi desert also falls within Mongolian territory. The latter used to be an ocean, which explains marine fossils and the like lying around sand dunes and crevices. Dinosaur fanatics unite! There are fossils that remain untouched. Some tourists even pick them up and bring back as souvenirs.
Famous for being the tribe land of the legendary leader and conqueror Ghengis Khan, Mongolia’s rich history and empire spanned over a million mountain peaks and great seas. From the Black Sea of the West, to India in the South, and even the Himalayas. Ghengis Khan’s rule was long and great, owning a large part of the world being reigned over by the Mongol and his tribe of warriors and wild horses. However, by the 14th century, the nomadic empire could no longer hold off the uprisings China posed, and lost a great deal of land. The conquests dwindled, and soon it was time to trot back to Mongolia. The great Mongol and founding father Ghengis Khan, whose real name was Temujin, wasn’t always the gruesome brute you’d always pictured him to be. His childhood was a grim one: his father had been killed by an opposing tribe leader, and the orphaned Temujin was then abandoned by his tribe. As all great stories come to be known, he rose from the ashes and later became Mongolia’s greatest conqueror. The late leader formerly implemented a “Religion Insurance”, which was a law he passed that enabled the people to worship any and all deities they wished to. He believed that this way, he would be able to earn the favor from at least one of the gods. After he passed, Mongolia’s ruling religion became Buddhism. Bet you didn’t know that, did you? Well guess what, there’s ten more from where that came from! Did you know?
Fact 1: Ulan Bator is the coldest capital city in the world! Spelled as “Ulaan Baatar” by the locals, it means “Red Horse”.
Fact 2: The Mongolian Takhi horse is the last breed of wild horse in the world.
Fact 3: Young boys keep eagles as pets and hunt with them.
Fact 4: Mongolian garbage trucks sound like ice-cream vans. Best be mindful of which tune you’ll be running out of the house for!
Fact 5: There is a 131-foot statue of Genghis Khan that sits on the steppe that’s about an hour’s drive from Ulan Bator. He sits on the world’s tallest statue of a horse!
Fact 6: Salesmen sell ice cream inside paper boxes. With the weather being -30 degrees, no body needs a fridge to keep the popsicles from melting!
Fact 7: Gerbils run around Mongolia as wild animals! Go figure?
Fact 8: The population of horses outnumbers that of the people’s.
Fact 9: The payphones over here can walk! Salesmen charge their phones and let you use them, charging you a hundred tugriks per minute! How…convenient?
Fact 10: Mongolia is home to the oldest National Park in the world, its origin dating back to early 1778.