Here is some basic information on Mongolia for the interested reader. For those who have not yet developed a passion for all things Mongolian, but plan to go there anyway: some of this might turn out to be useful! At any rate, you can't claim that we didn't at least try to inform you.
Mongolia is located in the heart of central Asia. In the north it borders on Russia, in the east, south and west on China. Area
: 1.56 mill. km² (which is more than 4x Germany). 15% is sand and rocky desert. Population
: 2.7 mill. (2005), about 85% are Mongolian. The others are Russian and Chinese. 50% of the habitants live in towns. This means that in the country you'll find an average of less than 1 person per km². Religion
: Tibetan Buddhism is most common. Capital
: Ulaanbaatar, over 800,000 habitants, 1307m above sea level. Official language
: Mongolian. Many people speak Russian as well. Average income
: about 150 EUR / month. National holidays
: July, 11th (National day) and November, 26th (foundation of the republic). Currency
: 1 Tugrik (plural Tugrig) = 100 Mungu. Electricity
: 220V, 50Hz. Time zone: GMT plus 6 to 8 hours. Geography
: 85% of the land is above 1000m. Lowest place is 518m above sea level. In the east salt lakes. To the south the Gobi desert. In the west mountains. Climate
: extremely continental dry climate with long cold winters and short sunny summers. From May to September there is nearly no rain and normally between 10 and 14 hours sun shine. Temperatures range from 16 to 30°C (in summer). Animals
: Mongolia has one of the oldest national parks in the world (founded in 1778). Fervently protected is the snow leopard, the Taiga antelope, wild camel, Prschewalski horse and the Mongolian donkey. Economy
: Agriculture and livestock farming are most important. Especially cattle, horses, sheep, goats, camels and yaks. Real agriculture is only possible in the north. Railway
: connection from north to south, from Ulan-Ude in Russia, via Ulaanbaatar to Beijing. Traffic
: only a few kilometers of tarred roads. The rest are country lanes or gravel roads. Not all of them are passable the whole year round. Airport
: only one international airport in Ulaanbaatar.
: a large and powerful state at the time of Genghis Khan (until 1227), Mongolia later came under the influence of China. In 1911 Mongolia declared its independence from China and established a monarchy similar to the Tibetan model, with the highest Lamaist priest as the sovereign. In 1915 China again occupied the country. In 1919 the Chinese were ousted with the help of the Russian Soviets. On the 26th November 1924 the Peoples Republic of Mongolia was founded. It was initially organised much like the Soviet republics in Russia, with a leading communist party. In the years 1937 to 1939, there ensued the almost total eradication of the Lamaist Church. The desire for total independence was expressed in a public vote, in 1945. This decision was confirmed in the Russian-Chinese Contract of 1950. Since 1992 Mongolia has held free parliamentary elections.