MONGOLIA is located in the heart of Central Asia and covers 1,553,556 square kilometers of land and 10,560 square kilometers of water, making it the fifth largest country in Asia and the eighteenth largest in the world with a total area of 1,564,116 square kilometers.
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 landscape includes one of Asia’s largest freshwater lakes (Khuvsgul Nuur), many salt lakes, marshes, sand dunes, rolling grasslands, alpine forests, and mountain glaciers. Northern and western Mongolia is seismically active zones, with frequent earthquakes and many hot springs and extinct volcanoes. 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 capital city is ULAANBAATAR, and other major cities include Darhan and Erdenet.
This beautiful country of forever-blue sky is surrounded by High Altai Rocky Mountains in the west, dense forested areas in the north, vast plain in the east, and Gobi desert in the south. Much of Mongolia consists of steppes. The basin of the lake Uvs Nuur is a natural World Heritage Site.
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.