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More About Mongolia
Wide-open spaces are the feature that often defines Mongolia. Sparsely populated, yet home to by one of the most famous figures in history, Mongolia tours offer the chance to explore an ancient and beautiful country set amongst the rolling steppes.
Upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar, seeing the Soviet styled concrete apartment blocks, one might feel a million miles from the greener pastures that dominate what one envisions Mongolia to be.
Nearly half of the country lives in this city of 1.3 million, from the blue-collar working class to former nomads who sought work in the capital after fierce winters destroyed their livestock. In this landlocked plateau of Central Asia, wedged between China and Russia, the people have an individual identity with a noble and great history tied to their national hero, Genghis Khan.
Traditionally, and still to this day, Mongolia is home to a nomadic people. However, the great conqueror set up his capital in the 13th century in Karakorum, which was once one of the finest cities on the Silk Road.
Today Karakorum is a small settlement with a glorious past, once the capital of one of the world’s greatest empires and currently surrounded by a landscape that is striking and rugged.
It is a town that is the perfect introduction to Central Mongolia, made even better with a local meal of a whole goat/lamb roasted with hot stones from the inside and outside before retiring to a ger tent (also known as yurts).
We will overnight in this unique accommodation for several nights. The ger tents have been used by the nomadic people for centuries and currently used by nearly half the population of nomadic herdsmen.
The grassy tundra that expands across the Mongolian Steppe is also home to rocky mountains, pristine lakes and sand dunes. A sense of wilderness is easily accomplished with visits to Hustai National Park and Terelj National Park, where the white tents of ger camps sporadically dot the endless, green landscapes.
After a short flight, we’ll find large barren expenses of gravel plains and rocky outcrops of the Gobi Desert. Remote and exotic, it is mainly grassland with shrubs and rocks while oases and sand cover only about 3% of the desert. The area is also home to dramatic rocky cliffs and narrow, heavily shaded canyons that allow sheets of blue-veined ice to survive well into the summer.
In between the sand dunes and grasslands, our Mongolia tours visit rock art thought to date back as early as 3,000 BC, depicting wild animals that were most likely drawn by hunters whilst waiting for their prey. Nearby are the Flaming Cliffs, the place where American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews found dinosaur eggs for the first time. History has a way of hiding around every corner in Mongolia.
Throughout the wide-open spaces that feel unchanged since the days of Genghis Khan, traditional ceremonies and festivals are still celebrated. The Naadam Festival may be famous for the competitions in wrestling, archery and horse racing.
Locals come from near and far, wearing their best clothes and riding their best horses or camels to attend the Naadam Festival. This is a time for music, dancing and singing and a sight to behold.
Truly a place to feel where time has stood still, Mongolia tours are the perfect opportunity to better understand a unique culture within Central Asia with a backdrop of continual scenic vistas.