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MONGOLIA, WHERE LEGENDS ARE BORN

Mongolia’s geography has a little bit of everything. There is a vast grassland in the east, where the sun rises above the horizon as though it’s growing out of the land. The Gobi in the south features pockets of breathtaking scenery, bridged by vast stretches of desolation where silence and solitude dominate the area. In the west the colossal Altai Mountain range stands tall, beckoning to explorers. In the north the pristine “blue pearl,” Khuvsgul Lake, holds its crystal clear waters between mountains that run down to the water’s edge. In central Mongolia, ancient Mongolian peoples have left petroglyphs behind, along with other fascinating vestiges of history. Tourists can enjoy the landscape in all of these places while learning about the rich traditions and lifestyle of herders who have been living the same way for millennia. This is Mongolia, home of the nomads, their herds, and the big sky above it all.

20 REASONS TO TRAVEL TO MONGOLIA

1

It's the home of living nomadic culture

2

Mongolians are the Most hospitable people in the world

“Mongolia is an unspoiled wonder, a land where sand dunes sing, horses roam wild and nomadic herders greet strangers with open doors. Keep your itinerary flexible and expect the unexpected.”

Michael KohnLonely Planet contributor

“No matter how one reads about the tradition by which strangers are welcomed into a random ger, it is remarkable to experience.”

Joe RohdeVice President of Creative at Walt Disney Imagineering

3

The vast, untouched steppe

4

The birthplace of Chinggis Khaan

“I waited half a lifetime for Mongolia only to arrive, fortuitously, at the moment I was best equipped to appreciate it. Any older, I might have found five months in the saddle too arduous. Any younger and I would not have taken such pleasure in those innocent landscapes, in the grasslands’ wonderful solitudes, or in the rich hospitality of nomads. Nor would I have understood Mongolia as a kind of homecoming.”

Stanley StewartBritish author of “In the Empire of Genghis Khan: A Journey Among Nomads”

“Chinggis Khaan did not leave a monument to himself. Temple, pyramid, palace, castle or canal, and even his grave was left unmarked in the remote area where he grew up and hunted as a boy. As he himself wished, his body could wither away so long as his great Mongol nation lived – it is that nation today that is his monument.”

Jack Weatherfordauthor of "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World"

5

Staying in a handmade ger with a local family

6

Everyone can explore their own imagination

“Is it too cold for us? We turn the heater on. Is it too hot? We bump up the air conditioning. If we need food, we go to the supermarket. If we need help, we ring all sorts of customer services. Out here you belong to the landscape. You must know how to maneuver it, when and how to move with the seasons and what to do with them. Helping each other out, neighborly support and community, means being embedded in this merciless nature with the precious gift of belonging – something that has been long lost in western cultures.”

Brigita Ferencakfashion designer and traveler

“I still haven’t been to Mongolia. I want to ride a horse across the Mongolian steppes and try to imagine what it was like to be in Genghis Khan’s horde.”

Bill Clintonthe 42nd President of the United States of America

7

Unexpected adventures

8

Serenity

“As I wander across this land, there is no doubt in my mind that golf must have originated here. The horses, goats, and sheep keep the fairways mowed down to the perfect playable height. Every day is a sunny day (perfect for golf), and the marmot holes make perfect targets.”

Andre Tolmeauthor of "I Golfed Across Mongolia" about the 12,170 shots it took to cover 1,200 miles in 90 days

“When I arrived at Mongolia’s border there was this small hill, really small. So you cross the border, go up this hill, and you see Mongolia. And I just stopped and said, ‘Wow.’ It was just like a big wave hitting me. I don’t have enough words, even in French, to explain what it is you feel when you enter Mongolia. There is a spirit here that’s so strong, it’s really amazing. The land is flat with one asphalt road and some mountains around – and you are just in this immensity.”

Caroline Moireauxtraveler circumnavigating the world on foot

9

Ancient History - Alive Today

10

Reconnect with Nature

“To realize that Mongolia is, in many respects, unchanged from its historical period is a fascinating draw. How many other periods of history can you find reflected in an existing society? Mongolia, to me, offers a picture of Living History.”

Ian Johnsontraveler

An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads” about his 10,000 km solo odyssey that took over three years of travelling from Mongolia to Hungary on horseback “Feeling the air, in touch with the way the world works, aware of everything around you. In the wintertime you even realize when the days shorten by one or two minutes. If I’m in an apartment for a week I totally lose touch with what the moon’s doing, where the stars are, or what the weather’s doing, and I start to lose my strength.”

Tim Copeauthor of "On the Trail of Genghis Khan

11

The Most captivating sunrises (AND SUNSETS) in the world

12

It doesn't get any wilder than Mongolian wildlife

“Dawn in Mongolia was an amazing thing. In one instant, the horizon became a faint line suspended in the darkness, and then the line was drawn upward, higher and higher. It was as if a giant hand had stretched down from the sky and slowly lifted the curtain of night from the face of the earth. It was a magnificent sight, far greater in scale . . . than anything that I, with my limited human faculties, could fully comprehend.”

Haruki Murakamibest-selling Japanese author

“For these horses to just be allowed to roam around and they don’t take off and leave . . . is kind of amazing. Everywhere in America you see animals and you also see fences. Here [in Mongolia] it’s really about the love and respect that man gives to the animal that they all stay together.”

Julia RobertsAcademy Award-winning actress

13

One of the world's oldest festivals - Naadam

14

Singing sand dunes, camels and so much more in the gobi

“In a tradition dating back thousands of years, the three-day event features wrestling, archery and horse racing and ranks as Mongolia’s biggest public festival. Enthusiasm, rather than compulsion, now draws the crowds and everyone is in a cheery holiday mood with tourists.”

Carl Robinsonauthor of “Mongolia - Nomad Empire of Eternal Blue Sky”

“Shaped by the wind into countless curves and bathed in countless shadows, the dune rose in marvelous mystery. Sand but not desert, high but not mountain, this ultimate dune towered well over 300 meters (1,000 feet); its slopes merged into an edge that gleamed like a blade. I climbed the knife-edge, breathing hard after a hundred yards because each step upward plunged my foot deeper into the fine sand. I felt as if I were struggling with the stuff of time in a giant hourglass. My footsteps faded away in a living metaphor of human passage upon this land.”

Thomas B. AllenNational Geographic

15

Meet living eagle hunters

16

The ultimate wildlife watching –no matter if you're a bird or a bear lover

“It isn’t a circus or a professional event. This is their tradition. They are proud of what they do, their culture and their heritage.”

Craig Smithphotographer

 “From the endless Gobi desert to the slopes of the Altai mountains covered with beautiful evergreen forests, this country provides unspoilt scenery, stunning landscapes and a mouthwatering array of species.”

Balazs Szigetibirdwatcher

17

Old Meets New - Modernity and Ancient History Collide in Ulaanbaatar

18

laKe Khuvsgul: the blue pearl of Mongolia and one of the world's biggest lakes

“Nearly half of Mongolia’s three million residents are nomads, and most of the rest live in Ulaanbaatar – the country’s capital and largest city. Its ten museums, close proximity to national parks, and collection of imperial palaces and Buddhist monasteries qualify Ulaanbaatar as a destination rather than way station.”

Craig Smithphotographer

“I was surprised to hear that it is possible to drink straight from the lake. A place like that is rare in this world.”

Lubomir Svobodascuba diving expert

19

Hear Mongolian monks chant at one of the surviving Buddhist monasteries

20

taste homemade airag - FERMENTED MARE’S MILK, A MONGOLIAN DELICACY

“The walls are painted red and gold, and elaborate dragons wrap around each column. Some monks chant, while others play drums or blow into seashells. Devoted Mongolians bow their heads in reverence and clasp their hands in prayer. A high-ranking monk in the middle distributes the holy water by shaking a small amount into the air. The drum’s echo and the incense mingled with sweat create a trancelike atmosphere. I, too, bow my head in reverence to this amazing scene.”

Suzanne Robertstravel writer

“The early European traveler William of Rubruck, who trekked across the steppes ca AD 1250, watched the same process: “As the nomads churn the milk it begins to ferment and bubble up like new wine.” He sampled the effervescent beverage and found it pungent and intoxicating. “Koumiss makes the inner man most joyful!”

Adrienne Mayorresearch scholar in Classics and History of Science, Stanford University

SOURCE : NOMADIC BY NATURE MAGAZINE 2015

Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism of Mongolia