MONGOLIA is an independent republic in Northern Asia. The country is bounded on the south, east and west by China and to the north by Russia. The capital city is ULAANBAATAR, and other major cities include Darhan and Erdenet. The country is mountainous with an average altitude of 1580 meters above sea level, which makes MONGOLIA one of the highest countries in the world. The lowest point is Hoh Nuur depression at 560 meters above sea level and the highest point is the Khuiten peak at 4374 m.
The Mongolia gained fame in the 13th century when under CHINGGIS KHAAN they established a huge Eurasian empire through conquest. For 3 000 years, the people of the steppes have adopted a pastoral way of life moving in the search of best pastures and campsites. They live by and for their livestock, in the forefront of which the horse undoubtedly was the first animal domesticated in these infinite meadows. Today, approximately half of MONGOLIA’S population is still roaming the vast plains living in the ger and moving their camping’s several times a year on the grounds with no fence. Nomadic life thrives in summer and survives in winter. Considering climatic conditions, especially during winter, such lifestyle may seem to the outside world to be a very hard way of living. However, MONGOLIANS have developed for centuries such qualities as strength and resilience that are essential for survival in this harsh nature, which is their cherished homeland.
Modern humans reached Mongolia approximately 40,000 years ago. In 1206 Genghis Khan founded the Mongol Empire which became the largest land empire in world history. Mongolia later came under Chinese rule and won its independence from China in 1921. The Mongolian People’s Republic was then established with Soviet influence.
Mongolia became a UN member state in 1961. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Mongolia saw its own relatively peaceful democratic revolution in the early 1990’s which led to a multi-party system, a new constitution of 1992, and a transition to a market economy. This transition resulted in an upheaval of structures that had been in place for 70 years and saw Mongolia’s trade with Russia decline by 80% and had a strong impact on peoples’ lives.
Throughout history, livestock rising by nomadic herders has been the major economic activity. In the early 20th century industrialization began, spurred by the Soviet Union and largely based on wool processing and extraction of minerals, mainly coal, copper, gold and fluorspar.