Mongolia is one of the largest countries in the world, covering over 600,000 square miles of steppe, mountains, and dessert. The country borders China on the south and east Russia on the north.
It is also one of the worlds most sparsely populated countries with a density of only about 4.5 people per square mile. Compare that with the contiguous United States, replete with empty space from coast to coast but with a density of about 80 people per square mile.
Mongolia has a rich and ancient cultural history stretching back to the earliest days of mankind. Paleolithic cave paintings can still be found in Khovd and Bayankhongor provinces as well as early fishing and hunting encampments dating back to the Neolithic period.
From the earliest man to the present day the region has been dominated by nomadic tribes that hunt, move, and survive in the harshest climates on earth. Centuries of intertribal warfare bred a strong warrior culture. That culture largely floundered as tribes fought each other, but finally found it's feet in 1206 AD when Temujin, a tribal chieftain, changed his name to Ghengis Kahn and united the nomadic tribes of Mongolia under one banner. Their empire encompassed nearly a quarter of the world's landmass from Poland to Korea to as far south as Vietnam.
Kublai Kahn, Ghengis Khan's grandson, went on to establish the Yuan imperial dynasty of China.
The Yuan dynasty was unseated and replaced by the Ming dynasty in 1368. The region now known as Mongolia was nominally absorbed into the rule of China with tribes continuing devastating raids on Chinese border cities for centuries.
At the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911 the Mongolian people fell under the influence of their Russian neighbors. In fact, while the Mongolian languages have strong Indo-Asian roots, the written language relies, like Russian, on the Cyrillic alphabet.
When Mongolians gained their independence in 1924 their chosen form of government was heavily influenced by the Soviet system with the communist party taking full control. Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 Mongolia has reverted to a democratic government with religious liberty. In fact, Mongolia has developed in recent years into one of the few legitimately democratic governments in Asia.
Travelers will find a warm welcome in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capitol city. It serves as an excellent jumping off point for adventurer's looking to experience Mongolia first hand. The vast tracks of land are perfect for adventure travelers, offering stunning fence-free landscapes that go on for miles. Equestrians will love the extended horse treks in a land saturated with horse culture and tradition. There are activities to fit any adventurer's taste, from dinosaur expeditions in the Gobi dessert to fly fishing in the lake country of Khovsgol. Camp out under a gorgeous spread of stars in some of the clearest night skies anywhere. Get a taste of nomadic living in a ger camp.
For those looking for their next unforgettable adventure, there are few choices better than Mongolia.
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