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Things to see in Mongolia
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Landscapes

Landlocked between Russia and China, Mongolia is one of the highest countries in the world. Indeed, although its peaks hardly ever go over 13,120 feet, the average altitude is nevertheless around 4,920 feet. The relief slopes from the west to the East and features three major geographical zones: wooded mountains, the steppe and the Gobi desert.

The fauna and flora

The distribution of the species follows the three main geographical zones of the country with, from north to south: the wooded mountain, the steppe and the Gobi desert. With such diversity in its ecosystem, Mongolia is like an open-air laboratory for scientific researchers, all the more since the country has created immense natural protected areas.

Monuments

Mongolia is the heir to tremendous historical and architectural heritage. No matter what region you visit, there are plenty of sites that show off its enchanting past. It has even been said that Genghis Khan once set foot on some of these sites. In Arkhangai you can admire the treasures that are over eight centuries old, while in Ovorkhangai you can visit the ancient imperial city of the famous Mongolian emperor. Your visit will include not only a discovery of the country's historical elements but also its religious ones, like the sacred mountain of Burkhan Kaldun, or the Monastery of Tranquil Felicity in the Selenge province, which is one of the last ones from its era to still be standing. Another interesting thing to see are the cairns, called Oboo, which have to be honoured following a specific ritual to attract the favours of the local god. The soul of the country lies between the steppes and the mountains, where the superb wild landscapes exude a sort of ever-present mysticism.

Traditions

In Mongolia, old traditions carry on and hold great importance. Inhabitants and tourists alike are asked to respect them.
The obligation for nomads to welcome travellers into their homes dates back to Genghis Khan, who included the practice in his penal code. Entering into a ger (a yurt) is a veritable ritual.
Several festivals are celebrated throughout the year, such as the Tsagaan Sar festival, the equivalent of our New Year, which takes place between the end of January and the beginning of March (depending on the position of the moon). Then, for several weeks, the Mongolian people celebrate the arrival of spring. The Nadaam Festival takes place from the 11th to 13th July, the anniversary of the Mongolian revolution. During it, 500 participants compete in several categories, such as wrestling, horse-riding and archery. Usually celebrated in August, the Maidar Ergekh festival marks the accession of the fifth Buddha, Matreya.