Mongolia is an amazing country bordered by Russia to the North and China to the south. It is a part of the continent of Asia. It is slightly smaller than the state of Alaska, USA! The estimated population of Mongolia for July 2014 is 2,953, 190, according to the CIA World Fact Book. The capital city of Mongolia is Ulaanbaatar which means “red hero.” The weather is as extreme as the terrain. Temperatures can dip as low as -58 degrees Fahrenheit and the winters are extremely harsh! The land is mountainous and covered by desert.
Even though the modern history of Mongolia can be traced back to the 13th century, many of the traditions of long ago are still present in the daily lives of the Mongolian people. From their manner of dress, to their language, Khalkha Mongol, and their dedication to hospitality, the citizens of Mongolia are a testament to keeping traditions alive. Compared to the land, the population is small. Keeping the ways of their ancestors helps to preserve the national identity of the small populous.
One of those things which makes Mongolia so interesting is that it is the home of the two-humped Bactrian camel! These animals are indigenous to the country. They are held in high regard and are used in the daily lives of the people. The man considered the founder of Mongolia is Genghis Khan. He lived during the years 1162 approximately to 1227. His reign as leader was 1206 to the time of his death. He was, and is, so revered, that at the entrance to the capital city their stands a 131 foot statue of him on his horse, and is the largest statue of a horse in the world. In 1920’s the first dinosaur eggs were found in the Gobi Desert, we well as dinosaur fossils, and they remain there still today.
Although there is not a travel ban to Mongolia at this time, the US State Department does have warnings issued on its website, dedicating sections to very specific locations and situations to avoid. As Mongolia has a long history of poor relations with its neighbors, especially China, often Asian-Americans are particularly targeted for crimes and attacks. Rarely violent, but it has been known to escalate. Inter-racial couples are a favored target of street criminals in Mongolia. As with any travel abroad, please visit the US State Department’s website before planning your trip.