Mongolia In Brief
Mongolia is located in central, east Asia and has no ocean port. It borders with Russia on north and China with east, south and west. The population is about 3 million and the growth is 2.8%. Two third of the population is below 30years and most of the citizens live in the capital city Ulaanbaatar. Almost more than one million people are living Ulaanbaatar and the city is still expanding every year. The average density of population is 1.7 square kilometers and it’s just about 0.4 square kilometers in the gobi desert. 76% of the population speaks Khalkh Mongolian, another 14% speaks different Mongolian languages such as Kazakh, Tuva, Uriankhai, and Khoton, the official language is Khalkh Mongolian.
There are 17 tribes in Mongolia and Most of them are native Mongolian Tribes and 7% is Kazakhs from Turcik nation, 5% is Tungus Khamnigan and 3% is other.
Mongolian has around 1564200 square/kilometers land, which located in the heart of Asia. It is 2398 kilometers from west to the east, 1258 kilometers from north to the south. Total length of the border is 8160 kilometers. Mongolia is mostly mountainous and about 1500 meters elevated from the sea level and the lowest point in Blue Lake of eastern Mongolia is 557 meters and the highest point Khuiten Peak in Altai Mountain range is 4374 meters from the sea level.
Mongolian landscape is divided into 4 types which are mountainous alpine region, mountainous steppe region, semi desert region, desert region. Basically, there are 3 mountainous parts, Khan Khentii Mountain Range, Khangai mountain range, Mongol Altai mountain range and the south part is gobi desert and east part is steppe. The biggest lake is Uvs lake 3360 square kilometers wide and another special lake is Khovsgol lake 2758 square kilometers and it is the biggest freshwater lake in the Central Asia.
Mongolian has an extreme harsh weather condition because of highly elevated from the sea level about 1500 meters, surrounded by high mountain ranges from each side in the mainland of Euroasian and remote from the seas and oceans. The most specific thing in the Mongolian weather condition is it has four seasons and very different from each other, so the temperature has a high fluctuation, low precipitation. Mongolia has a short and dry summer /continues between June and mid August/, cold and long winter/ continues between November and April/, and the periods of spring and autumn are changing every year.
The average temperature of the year is +0.2C, winter is about -10 to -30C summertime is +10 to +25C. It is colder in the mountainous areas such as Altai, Khangay, Khentii and Khovsgol mountains, the average of the year is -4C and -6C in the bigger river valleys and warmer in the south gobi +6C. The minimum temperature of the winter down to -28C to -54C and the maximum temperature of the summer heats up to +30C to +45C.
However Mongolia has lower precipitation, each part has a different amount of precipitation, depends on the location of bigger mountains and its elevation. For example: 260-380 mm in the Khangai, Khentii, Khovsgol mountainous areas and bigger river basins. It is 80-140mm precipitation in the Altai mountains and 175-275 mm precipitation drops in the steppe areas. Gets fewer from the north to the south, the minimum is 60-160 mm in the gobi desert areas. It is much lower in the southern gobi of Altai mountains and around the border, about 30-50 mm or less.
Mongolia is home to many of the animal populations in the world because of the high mountains, vast steppes, sandy desert, lakes and rivers, and four seasons of the year, with a variety of natural and geographical conditions.
- Birds – 434 species
- Mammals – 138 species
- Reptiles – 22 species
- Fish – 75 species
- Amphibians – 6 species
- Insects – 13000 species
- Mollusks – 516 species
- Elk or Red Deer
- Marbeled Polecat
- Stone Martin
- Wild Boar
- Black Tailed Gazelle
- Pallas’ cat or Manul
- Musk Deer
- Mongolian Saiga
- Siberian Ibex
- Wild sheep or Argali
- Snow Leopards
- Wild Camel or Khavtgai
- Gobi Bear or Mazaalai
- The Swan Goose
- Black Storks
- Great Black-Headed Gulls
- Whooper Swans
- Great White Egrets
- Dalmatian Pelican
- Golden Eagle
- Cenereous Vulture
- Snowcock or Altain ular
There are about 3000 species of plants and flowers grow in Mongolia, including more than 800 medical plants that used in a traditional medicine.
Mongolia is characterized by its vast territory, its mountains, depressions, and extreme continental climate, so it is quite unique for vegetation, and three main areas – forest taiga, steppe, and desert – are evolving.
These regions are gradually shifting each other and creating transverse or intermediate regions.
There are 6 regions which are adapted to the landscape and climate of Mongolia had been created.
Mongolian Religion – The Buddhism
First, Buddhism religion was entered in Mongolia by Altan Khan of Tumed Mongolia in 1576. He invited Sodnomjamts the leader of Tibetan Religion and exalted him as a leader of all Yellow Buddhism and honored as Dalai Lama. For the backwards Sodnomjamts was allowed him to gain all the titles of Khubilai Khan.
After that, The first Bogd Saint Zanabazar had been known as a main representative of Mongolian Religion – Yellow Buddhism . He made a lot of developments in Mongolian religion and changed religious wearing of lamas, reading, rules of conventions and the melodies to adapt in Mongolian harsh weather condition, geographic position, traditional customs and lifestyle. Finally, he could make a Unique Mongolian Buddhist religion.
Early in the 20th Century
There were more than 115000 students were being studied in 750 monasteries in 80 villages of 4 Khalkh provinces. Later on, those monasteries developed to become main centers of trade, cervices and crafters and people started living here. Yellow Buddism of Mongolia was highly educated and developed from the period of Saint Zanabazar to Bogd Jibzundamba. Specially on philosophy, horoscope, hospital, art culture, language study which helped to delight Mongolians.
In 1924, when Jibzundamba was died, Government of People of Mongolia announced that “Bogd Jibzundamba will not reborn on the earth again and he went to the heaven forever”
In 1937, the great political repression began and arrested over 17,000 lamas and divided them into three classes. The high class, the head of the ranks and the masters of the monks were shot down. The middle class or old lamas were imprisoned for up to 10 years. The lower class, young monks who are up to 20 years left their religion. Also, they destroyed every, idols, gods, intellectual values, and scriptures that people worshiped and burnt more than 800 monasteries.
2265 temple buildings were transferred to hospitals, schools, hand factories, administrative buildings and public organizations and collected 30.9 kg of gold, 5916 kg of silver, 1.6 kg of pearls, 233847 Mongolian Tugrik, and other items equivalent to 388,000 Mongolian Tugrik and 27742 animals were taken and transferred to state fund.
Religious beliefs were closed in People’s of Republic Mongolia and the Council of Ministers decided to revive the activities of Gandan Monastery in 1944. But under the supervision of the MPRP.
Nomadic Lifestyles of Mongolia
The Nomadic lifestyle is the basic way of living in Mongolia. Nomads lifestyles are different in each tribe of Mongolia. Mongolia is the only country which has a classic nomadic lifestyle, not like any other nomads all over the world who changes their position very often and earns instant incomes to supply their demands of living. It is very ecological and belongs to the animals directly. They charge their every consumption and useful goods from only animals. Nomads lifestyle is highly sophisticated ecological system that provides the most healthy relationship between human, animal and nature. Which is the only civilization way to keep the nature as pristine and survive it for the future. If any of these three parts is missing, there is no way to live for nomads. The main organizer for the system relates to old traditions of Mongolians.
Mongolians consider that parents and elder peoples of the family have a role to teach children and youngsters, then youngsters should follow the elders words with no refuses.
The secret of thousands of years of Nomadic lifestyle is generally based on studying their children by the old traditions of them as well.
Nomads have a labor management to keep the equivalent of animal species, resource of pasture and water. A number of families live in a valley as a neighborhood, and live together as partners. Everyone shares the pastures and always care for the animals of each others. Sometimes, families cooperate to herd their animals week by week, especially on sheep herding. This management helps them to prove their ability and exchange experiences and saves time.
Art of Mongolia
Mongolian Folk Art
The Mongolian folklore is one of the art kinds which is being inherited through Tuulich / folk poet/, eruulch / praise reciter/, and ulgerch / storytellers/ from the centuries to century. The Folklore Heritage includes the folklore arts such as folk poetry, folk tales, folk legend and story, true story, folk and long song lyrics, phrase, folk say and mantras. It is classified as melodious and unmelodious. Unmelodious Folklore arts are legend and fairy tale, phrase, patter and guessing. Melodious Folklores are cradle song, short song, long song, praise, and tuuli/folk poet/.
The short song is the kind of folk sonag that has a shorter melodies and being developed by nomads and its author is always unknown. Its melodies sound differently in each parts of Mongolia, because they expresses the character of that nationality and place in the songs. There are the short songs of Khalkh, buriad, uzemchin, bayad, khotgoid, dariganga, tsakhar, and khuree. The short songs of Khuree were usually spread in 1900-1930. And, sing with Shanz musical instrument. For example: Yanjuur Tamkhi, Khukh trogon tsamts, Gangan khul, Jiijuu khot, Kheyenkhuar and Zuun langiyn joroo luus etc. Melody of short song is short spoken, few vibrations and easier to sing, so people mostly like to sing this kind of songs.
Urtiyn Duu/Long Song/
Mongolian folk Urtiyn duu / long song/ is unique in the world. Wide steppe of Mongolia is influenced in the voice range of Mongolians. Otherwise, its melody is based on the everyday life of nomadic Mongolians. Long songs have no author or writer. Generally, it is founded by the people of Mongolia and had been developing by itself until nowadays. The meanings of songs are usually about nomads life and nature. In 2005, Long Song registered as the Best Art Heritage in the World Heritage Center by UNESCO.