Mongolia

Mongolia

Overview
Mongolia is a landlocked
Landlocked
A landlocked country is a country entirely enclosed by land, or whose only coastlines lie on closed seas. There are 48 landlocked countries in the world, including partially recognized states...

 country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 in East
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

 and Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. It is bordered by Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 to the north and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, its western-most point is only 38 kilometres (23.6 mi) from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest city, is home to about 45% of the population. Mongolia's political system
Political system
A political system is a system of politics and government. It is usually compared to the legal system, economic system, cultural system, and other social systems...

 is a parliamentary republic
Parliamentary republic
A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government - meaning a system with no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. There are a number of variations of...

.

The area of what is now Mongolia has been ruled by various nomadic empires, including the Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

, the Xianbei
Xianbei
The Xianbei were a significant Mongolic nomadic people residing in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia and eastern Mongolia. The title “Khan” was first used among the Xianbei.-Origins:...

, the Rouran
Rouran
Rouran , Mongolia name Jujan or Nirun Ruanruan/Ruru , Tan Tan , Juan-Juan or Zhu-Zhuwas the name of a confederation of nomadic tribes on the northern borders of Inner China from the late 4th century until the middle 6th century...

, the Gökturks
Göktürks
The Göktürks or Kök Türks, were a nomadic confederation of peoples in medieval Inner Asia. Known in Chinese sources as 突厥 , the Göktürks under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan The Göktürks or Kök Türks, (Old Turkic: Türük or Kök Türük or Türük; Celestial Turks) were a nomadic confederation of...

 and others.
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Timeline

1229   Ögedei Khan was proclaimed Qaghan of the Mongol Empire in Kodoe Aral, Khentii: Mongolia.

1271   Kublai Khan renames his empire "Yuan" (元 yuán), officially marking the start of the Yuan Dynasty of Mongolia and China.

1287   Kublai Khan defeated the force of Nayan and other traditionalist Borjigin princes in East Mongolia and Manchuria.

1911   Mongolia gains independence from the Qing dynasty.

1921   Mongolia, under Baron Roman Ungern von Sternberg, declares its independence from China.

1921   The Red Army captures Mongolia from the White Army and establishes the Mongolian People's Republic.

1971   People's Republic of China: Chairman Mao Zedong's second in command and successor Marshal Lin Biao flees the country via plane after the failure of alleged coup against Mao. The plane crashes in Mongolia, killing all aboard.

1989   Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj announces the establishment of Mongolia's democratic movement that changes the second oldest communist country into a democracy.

1993   Mongolia holds its first direct presidential elections.

1997   Comet Hale-Bopp: Observers in China, Mongolia and eastern Siberia are treated to a rare double feature as an eclipse permits Hale-Bopp to be seen during the day.

 
Encyclopedia
Mongolia is a landlocked
Landlocked
A landlocked country is a country entirely enclosed by land, or whose only coastlines lie on closed seas. There are 48 landlocked countries in the world, including partially recognized states...

 country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 in East
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

 and Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. It is bordered by Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 to the north and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, its western-most point is only 38 kilometres (23.6 mi) from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest city, is home to about 45% of the population. Mongolia's political system
Political system
A political system is a system of politics and government. It is usually compared to the legal system, economic system, cultural system, and other social systems...

 is a parliamentary republic
Parliamentary republic
A parliamentary republic or parliamentary constitutional republic is a type of republic which operates under a parliamentary system of government - meaning a system with no clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. There are a number of variations of...

.

The area of what is now Mongolia has been ruled by various nomadic empires, including the Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

, the Xianbei
Xianbei
The Xianbei were a significant Mongolic nomadic people residing in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia and eastern Mongolia. The title “Khan” was first used among the Xianbei.-Origins:...

, the Rouran
Rouran
Rouran , Mongolia name Jujan or Nirun Ruanruan/Ruru , Tan Tan , Juan-Juan or Zhu-Zhuwas the name of a confederation of nomadic tribes on the northern borders of Inner China from the late 4th century until the middle 6th century...

, the Gökturks
Göktürks
The Göktürks or Kök Türks, were a nomadic confederation of peoples in medieval Inner Asia. Known in Chinese sources as 突厥 , the Göktürks under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan The Göktürks or Kök Türks, (Old Turkic: Türük or Kök Türük or Türük; Celestial Turks) were a nomadic confederation of...

 and others. The Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 was founded by Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

 in 1206. After the collapse of the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

, the Mongols returned to their earlier pattern of constant internal conflict and occasional raids on the Chinese borderlands. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Mongolia came under the influence of Tibetan Buddhism
Buddhism in Mongolia
Buddhism in Mongolia derives much of its recent characteristics from Tibetan Buddhism of the Gelugpa school. Traditionally, Mongols worshiped heaven and their ancestors, and they followed ancient northern Asian practices of shamanism, in which human intermediaries went into trance and spoke to...

. At the end of the 17th century, all of Mongolia had been incorporated into the area ruled by the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

. During the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, Mongolia declared independence, but had to struggle until 1921 to firmly establish de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

independence from the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

, and until 1945 to gain international recognition
Diplomatic recognition
Diplomatic recognition in international law is a unilateral political act with domestic and international legal consequences, whereby a state acknowledges an act or status of another state or government in control of a state...

.

As a consequence, it came under strong Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n and Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 influence; in 1924, the Mongolian People's Republic was declared, and Mongolian politics began to follow the same patterns as the Soviet politics of the time. After the breakdown of communist regimes in Eastern Europe
Revolutions of 1989
The Revolutions of 1989 were the revolutions which overthrew the communist regimes in various Central and Eastern European countries.The events began in Poland in 1989, and continued in Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and...

 in late 1989, Mongolia saw its own Democratic Revolution
1990 Democratic Revolution in Mongolia
The 1990 Peaceful Democratic Revolution in Mongolia was a democratic revolution that started with hunger strikes to overthrow the Mongolian People's Republic and eventually moved towards the democratic present day Mongolia and the writing of the new constitution. It was spearheaded by mostly...

 in early 1990, which led to a multi-party system
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

, a new constitution in 1992, and transition to a market economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

.

At 1564116 square kilometres (603,908.6 sq mi), Mongolia is the 19th largest and the most sparsely populated independent country in the world, with a population of around 2.75 million people. It is also the world's second-largest landlocked country after Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

. The country contains very little arable land
Arable land
In geography and agriculture, arable land is land that can be used for growing crops. It includes all land under temporary crops , temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow...

, as much of its area is covered by steppe
Steppe
In physical geography, steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes...

s, with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert
Gobi Desert
The Gobi is a large desert region in Asia. It covers parts of northern and northwestern China, and of southern Mongolia. The desert basins of the Gobi are bounded by the Altai Mountains and the grasslands and steppes of Mongolia on the north, by the Hexi Corridor and Tibetan Plateau to the...

 to the south. Approximately 30% of the population are nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic or semi-nomadic. The predominant religion in Mongolia is Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism is the body of Buddhist religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet and certain regions of the Himalayas, including northern Nepal, Bhutan, and India . It is the state religion of Bhutan...

, and the majority of the state's citizens are of the Mongol ethnicity
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

, though Kazakhs
Kazakhs
The Kazakhs are a Turkic people of the northern parts of Central Asia ....

, Tuvans
Tuvans
Tuvans or Tuvinians are Turkic peoples living in southern Siberia. They are historically known as one of the Uriankhai, from the Mongolian designation...

, and other minorities also live in the country, especially in the west. About 20% of the population live on less than US$1.25 per day. Mongolia joined the World Trade Organization in 1997 and seeks to expand its participation in regional economic and trade regimes.

Prehistory



Sites such as Tsagaan Agui (White Cave) in Bayankhongor Province show that Homo erectus
Homo erectus
Homo erectus is an extinct species of hominid that lived from the end of the Pliocene epoch to the later Pleistocene, about . The species originated in Africa and spread as far as India, China and Java. There is still disagreement on the subject of the classification, ancestry, and progeny of H...

 inhabited Mongolia from 800,000 years ago. Modern humans reached Mongolia approximately 40,000 years ago during the Upper Paleolithic
Upper Paleolithic
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. Very broadly it dates to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, roughly coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of...

. The Khoid Tsenkher Cave in Khovd Province shows lively pink, brown and red ochre paintings (20,000 years ago) of mammoths, lynx, bactrian camels and ostriches, earning it the nickname "the Lascaux
Lascaux
Lascaux is the setting of a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. The original caves are located near the village of Montignac, in the department of Dordogne. They contain some of the best-known Upper Paleolithic art. These paintings are estimated to be...

 of Mongolia". The Mal'ta Venus
Mal'ta Venus
The Mal'ta Venus is a palaeolithic figurine of a woman, discovered in a cave at Mal'ta, at the Angara River, near Lake Baikal in Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia, Russia. The figurine is about 23,000 years old. It was carved from mammoth ivory. As is typical for the so-called Venus figurines, some of the...

 (21,000 years ago) testifies to the level of Upper Paleolithic art in northern Mongolia, though Mal'ta is now part of Russia.

Neolithic agricultural settlements (c. 5500–3500 BC) such as those at Norovlin, Tamsagbulag, Bayanzag and Rashaan Khad predated the introduction of horse-riding nomadism, a pivotal event in the history of Mongolia as it became the dominant lifestyle. Horse-riding nomadism is first seen in Mongolia during the Copper and Bronze Age Afanasevo culture
Afanasevo culture
The Afanasevo culture, traditionally dated to 2500–2000 BC , is an archaeological culture of the late copper and early Bronze Age of southern Siberia....

 (3500–2500 BC) which stretched to the Khangai Mountains in Central Mongolia. The wheeled vehicles found in the burials of the Afanasevans have been dated to before 2200 BC. Pastoral nomadism and metalworking became more and more developed with the later Okunev Culture
Okunev Culture
Okunev Culture is a Bronze Age culture dated to the first half of 2nd millennium BC in Minusinsk Hollow of southern Siberia....

 (2nd millennium BC), Andronovo culture
Andronovo culture
The Andronovo culture, is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished ca. 21200–1400 BCE in western Siberia and the west Asiatic steppe. It is probably better termed an archaeological complex or archaeological horizon...

 (2300–1000 BC) and Karasuk culture
Karasuk culture
The Karasuk culture describes a group of Bronze Age societies who ranged from the Aral Sea or the Volga River to the upper Yenisei catchment, ca. 1500–800 BC, preceded by the Afanasevo culture. The remains are minimal and entirely of the mortuary variety. At least 2000 burials are known. The...

 (1500–300 BC), culminating with the Iron Age Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

 Empire in 209 BC. Monuments of the pre-Xiongnu Bronze Age include deer stone
Deer stone
Deer stones are Mongolian ancient megaliths carved with symbols. The name comes from their carved depictions of flying deer. Their purpose and creators are unknown.-Geographic distribution:...

s, keregsur kurgans, square slab tombs and rock paintings.

Although cultivation of crops has continued since the Neolithic it always remained small in scale compared to pastoral nomadism, which was first introduced from the west. The population during the Copper Age
Copper Age
The Chalcolithic |stone]]") period or Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic/Æneolithic , is a phase of the Bronze Age in which the addition of tin to copper to form bronze during smelting remained yet unknown by the metallurgists of the times...

 has been described as paleomongoloid in the east of what is now Mongolia, and as europoid in the west. Tocharians (Yuezhi
Yuezhi
The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi , also known as the Da Yuezhi or Da Rouzhi , were an ancient Central Asian people....

) and Scythians inhabited western Mongolia during the Bronze Age. The mummy of a Scythian warrior, which is believed to be about 2,500 years old, was a 30-to-40 year-old man with blond hair and was found in the Altai, Mongolia. As horse nomadism was introduced into Mongolia, the political center of the Eurasian Steppe
Eurasian Steppe
The Eurasian Steppe is the vast steppe ecoregion of Eurasia in the Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands Biome. It stretches from Hungary to Mongolia...

 also shifted to Mongolia, where it remained until the 18th century CE. The intrusions of northern pastoralists (e.g. Guifang, Shanrong, Donghu) into China during the Shang dynasty
Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...

 (1600–1046 BC) and Zhou dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

 (1046–256 BC) presaged the age of nomadic empire
Nomadic empire
Nomadic empires, sometimes also called Steppe Empires, Central or Inner Asian Empires, are the empires erected by the bow-wielding, horse-riding, nomadic peoples in the Eurasian steppe, from Classical Antiquity to the Early Modern era .The nomadic or semi-nomadic Cimmerians, Avars, Magyars,...

s.

Early states in Mongolia (209 BC-1206 AD)



Mongolia, since prehistoric times, has been inhabited by nomads who, from time to time, formed great confederations that rose to prominence. The first of these, the Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

 of undetermined ethnicity, were brought together to form a confederation by Modu Shanyu
Modu Shanyu
Modu Chanyu was born c. 234 BCE was the fourth known emperor and founder of the Xiongnu Empire after he killed his father in 209 BCE. The years of his rule were 209 BCE to 174 BCE...

 in 209 BC. Soon they emerged as the greatest threat to the Qin Dynasty
Qin Dynasty
The Qin Dynasty was the first imperial dynasty of China, lasting from 221 to 207 BC. The Qin state derived its name from its heartland of Qin, in modern-day Shaanxi. The strength of the Qin state was greatly increased by the legalist reforms of Shang Yang in the 4th century BC, during the Warring...

, forcing the latter to construct the Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by various nomadic groups...

, itself being guarded by up to almost 300,000 soldiers during marshal Meng Tian
Meng Tian
Meng Tian was a general of the Qin Dynasty who distinguished himself in campaigns against the Xiongnu and in the construction of the Great Wall of China. He was the elder brother of Meng Yi. He descended from a great line of military generals and architects...

's tenure, as a means of defense against the destructive Xiongnu raids.

The vast Xiongnu empire (209 BC-93 AD) was followed by the Mongolic Xianbei empire
Xianbei state
The Xianbei state or Xianbei confederation was a nomadic confederation existed in northern Manchuria and eastern Mongolia from 93 to 234 AD. They descended from the Donghu and spoke a Mongolic language....

 (93–234) which also ruled more than the entirety of present-day Mongolia. The Mongolic Rouran
Rouran
Rouran , Mongolia name Jujan or Nirun Ruanruan/Ruru , Tan Tan , Juan-Juan or Zhu-Zhuwas the name of a confederation of nomadic tribes on the northern borders of Inner China from the late 4th century until the middle 6th century...

 Khaganate (330–555), of Xianbei
Xianbei
The Xianbei were a significant Mongolic nomadic people residing in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia and eastern Mongolia. The title “Khan” was first used among the Xianbei.-Origins:...

 provenance, ruled a massive empire before being defeated by the Göktürks
Göktürks
The Göktürks or Kök Türks, were a nomadic confederation of peoples in medieval Inner Asia. Known in Chinese sources as 突厥 , the Göktürks under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan The Göktürks or Kök Türks, (Old Turkic: Türük or Kök Türük or Türük; Celestial Turks) were a nomadic confederation of...

 (555–745) whose empire was even bigger (laid siege to Panticapaeum
Panticapaeum
Panticapaeum , present-day Kerch: an important city and port in Taurica , situated on a hill Panticapaeum (Greek: Παντικάπαιον, Pantikápaion), present-day Kerch: an important city and port in Taurica (Tauric Chersonese), situated on a hill Panticapaeum (Greek: Παντικάπαιον, Pantikápaion),...

, present-day Kerch
Kerch
Kerch is a city on the Kerch Peninsula of eastern Crimea, an important industrial, transport and tourist centre of Ukraine. Kerch, founded 2600 years ago, is considered as one of the most ancient cities in Ukraine.-Ancient times:...

, in 576). They were succeeded by the Uyghur Khaganate (745–840) who were defeated by the Kyrgyz. The Mongolic Khitans
Khitan people
thumb|250px|Khitans [[Eagle hunting|using eagles to hunt]], painted during the Chinese [[Song Dynasty]].The Khitan people , or Khitai, Kitan, or Kidan, were a nomadic Mongolic people, originally located at Mongolia and Manchuria from the 4th century...

, also descendants of the Xianbei, ruled Mongolia during the Liao Dynasty
Liao Dynasty
The Liao Dynasty , also known as the Khitan Empire was an empire in East Asia that ruled over the regions of Manchuria, Mongolia, and parts of northern China proper between 9071125...

 (907–1125) after which the Khamag Mongol
Khamag Mongol
Khamag Mongol was a major tribal confederation in Mongolian plateau in 12th century. It is sometimes also considered a predecessor state to the Mongol Empire....

 (1125–1206) rose to prominence.

Mongol Empire (1206-1368)


In the chaos of the late 12th century, a chieftain named Temüjin finally succeeded in uniting the Mongol tribes (belonging to the Shiwei
Shiwei
Shiwei were a Mongolic people that inhabited far-eastern Mongolia, northern Inner Mongolia and northern Manchuria and were recorded from the time of the Northern Wei until the rise of the Mongols of Genghis Khan in 1206 when the name "Mongol" and "Tatar" were applied to all the Shiwei tribes....

 branch of the Mongolic Xianbei
Xianbei
The Xianbei were a significant Mongolic nomadic people residing in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia and eastern Mongolia. The title “Khan” was first used among the Xianbei.-Origins:...

) between Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 and the Altai Mountains. In 1206, he took the title Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

, and waged a series of military campaigns – renowned for their brutality and ferocity – sweeping through much of Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, and forming the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

, the largest contiguous land empire
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

 in world history. Under his successors it stretched from present-day Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 in the west to Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

 in the east, and from Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 in the north to the Gulf of Oman
Gulf of Oman
The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman is a strait that connects the Arabian Sea with the Strait of Hormuz, which then runs to the Persian Gulf. It is generally included as a branch of the Persian Gulf, not as an arm of the Arabian Sea. On the north coast is Pakistan and Iran...

 and Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 in the south, covering some 33000000 square kilometres (12,741,371.2 sq mi), (22% of Earth's total land area) and having a population of over 100 million people. The emergence of Pax Mongolica
Pax Mongolica
The Pax Mongolica is a Latin phrase meaning "Mongol Peace" coined by Western scholars to describe the stabilizing effects of the conquests of the Mongol Empire on the social, cultural, and economic life of the inhabitants of the vast Eurasian territory that the Mongols conquered in the 13th and...

 also significantly eased trade
Trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

 and commerce
Commerce
While business refers to the value-creating activities of an organization for profit, commerce means the whole system of an economy that constitutes an environment for business. The system includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural, and technological systems that are in operation in any...

 across Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 during its height.

After Genghis Khan's death, the empire was subdivided into four kingdoms or Khanate
Khanate
Khanate, or Chanat, is a Turco-Mongol-originated word used to describe a political entity ruled by a Khan. In modern Turkish, the word used is kağanlık, and in modern Azeri of the republic of Azerbaijan, xanlıq. In Mongolian the word khanlig is used, as in "Khereidiin Khanlig" meaning the Khanate...

s which eventually became quasi-independent after Möngke
Möngke Khan
Möngke Khan , born Möngke, , was the fourth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from July 1, 1251 – August 11, 1259. He was the first Great Khan from the Toluid line, and made significant reforms to improve the administration of the Empire during his reign...

's death in 1259. One of the khanates, the "Great Khaanate", consisting of the Mongol homeland and China
History of China
Chinese civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River valleys in the Neolithic era, but the Yellow River is said to be the Cradle of Chinese Civilization. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest...

, became the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 under Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan , born Kublai and also known by the temple name Shizu , was the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1294 and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty in China...

, the grandson of Genghis Khan. He set up his capital in present day Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 but after more than a century of power, the Yuan was replaced by the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 in 1368, with the Mongol court fleeing to the north. As the Ming armies pursued the Mongols into their homeland, they successfully sacked and destroyed the Mongol capital Karakorum
Karakorum
Karakorum was the capital of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, and of the Northern Yuan in the 14-15th century. Its ruins lie in the northwestern corner of the Övörkhangai Province of Mongolia, near today's town of Kharkhorin, and adjacent to the Erdene Zuu monastery...

 among a few other cities, although some of these attempts were repelled by the Mongols under Ayushridar and his general Köke Temür
Köke Temür
Köke Temür , also known as Wang Baobao , was a Han-Naiman general of the Yuan Dynasty. His mother was the daughter of a Mongolian prince while his father was an ethnic Han Chinese with the surname Wang. Before he was given the Mongolian name by the Yuan court in the early 1360s, he was known by his...

.

Post-Imperial Mongolia (1368-1691)



After the expulsion of the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 rulers from China, the Mongols continued to rule Mongolia, also referred to as the Northern Yuan. The next centuries were marked by violent power struggles among various factions, notably the Genghisids and the non-Genghisid Oirads
Oirats
Oirats are the westernmost group of the Mongols who unified several tribes origin whose ancestral home is in the Altai region of western Mongolia. Although the Oirats originated in the eastern parts of Central Asia, the most prominent group today is located in the Republic of Kalmykia, a federal...

, as well as by several Chinese invasions (like the five expeditions led by the Yongle Emperor
Yongle Emperor
The Yongle Emperor , born Zhu Di , was the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty of China from 1402 to 1424. His Chinese era name Yongle means "Perpetual Happiness".He was the Prince of Yan , possessing a heavy military base in Beiping...

). In the early 15th century, the Oirads under Esen Tayisi
Esen Tayisi
Esen taishi was a powerful Oirat Khagan of the Northern Yuan Dynasty in Mongolia in the 15th century. He is best known for capturing the Zhengtong Emperor of the Ming Dynasty in 1450 after the Battle of Tumu Fortress and briefly reuniting the Mongols...

 gained the upper hand, and even raided China in 1449 in a conflict
Tumu Crisis
The Tumu Crisis ; also called the Crisis of Tumubao or Battle of Tumu Fortress , was a frontier conflict between the Oirat Mongols and the Chinese Ming Dynasty which led to the capture of the Zhengtong Emperor on September 1, 1449 and the loss of an army of 500,000 men to a much smaller force....

 over Esen's right to pay tribute, capturing the Ming emperor
Zhengtong Emperor
Zhu Qizhen was an emperor of the Ming Dynasty. He ruled as the Zhengtong Emperor from 1435 to 1449, and as the Tianshun Emperor from 1457 to 1464....

 in the process. However, Esen was murdered in 1454, and the Borjigids recovered.

Batumöngke Dayan Khan and his khatun
Khatun
Khatun is a female title of nobility and alternative to male "khan" prominently used in the First Turkic Empire and in the subsequent Mongol Empire...

 Mandukhai reunited the entire Mongol nation under the Genghisids in the early 16th century. In the mid-16th century, Altan Khan
Altan Khan
Altan Khan , whose given name was Anda , was the ruler of the Tümet Mongols and de facto ruler of the Right Wing, or western tribes, of the Mongols...

 of the Tümed, a grandson of Dayan Khan
Dayan Khan
Dayan Khan , was a Mongol khan who reunited the Mongols under Chinggisid supremacy in the Northern Yuan Dynasty in Mongolia...

 – but no legitimate Khan himself – became powerful. He founded Hohhot
Hohhot
Hohhot , is a city in north-central China and the capital of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, serving as the region's administrative, economic, and cultural centre....

 in 1557 and his meeting with the Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama is a high lama in the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The name is a combination of the Mongolian word далай meaning "Ocean" and the Tibetan word bla-ma meaning "teacher"...

 in 1578 sparked the second introduction of Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism is the body of Buddhist religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet and certain regions of the Himalayas, including northern Nepal, Bhutan, and India . It is the state religion of Bhutan...

 to Mongolia. Abtai Khan of the Khalkha
Khalkha
Khalkha is the largest subgroup of Mongol people in Mongolia since 15th century. The Khalkha together with Tsahar, Ordos and Tumed, were directly ruled by the Altan Urag Khans until the 20th century; unlike the Oirat people who were ruled by the Dzungar nobles or the Khorchins who were ruled by...

 converted to Buddhism and founded the Erdene Zuu monastery in 1585. His grandson Zanabazar became the first Jebtsundamba Khutughtu in 1640.

Mongolia under the Qing Dynasty (1691-1911)




The last Mongol Khan was Ligden Khan in the early 17th century. He got into conflicts with the Manchus over the looting of Chinese cities, and managed to alienate most Mongol tribes. He died in 1634 on his way to Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

, in an attempt to evade the Manchus and destroy the Yellow Hat sect of Buddhism. By 1636, most Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the northern region of the country. Inner Mongolia shares an international border with the countries of Mongolia and the Russian Federation...

n tribes had submitted to the Manchus, who founded the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

. The Khalkha
Khalkha
Khalkha is the largest subgroup of Mongol people in Mongolia since 15th century. The Khalkha together with Tsahar, Ordos and Tumed, were directly ruled by the Altan Urag Khans until the 20th century; unlike the Oirat people who were ruled by the Dzungar nobles or the Khorchins who were ruled by...

 eventually submitted to Qing rule in 1691, thus bringing all of today's Mongolia under Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

's rule. After several wars, the Dzungars (the western Mongols or Oirats) were virtually annihilated during the Qing conquest of Dzungaria in 1757–58. Some scholars estimate that about 80% of the 600,000 or more Dzungars were destroyed by a combination of disease and warfare. Outer Mongolia was given relative autonomy, being administered by the hereditary Genghisid khanates of Tusheet Khan, Setsen Khan, Zasagt Khan and Sain Noyon Khan. The Jebtsundamba Khutuktu of Mongolia had immense de-facto authority. The Manchus also forbade mass Chinese immigration, allowing the Mongols to keep their culture.

Until 1911, Qing Dynasty maintained control of Mongolia with a series of alliances and intermarriages, as well as military and economic measures. Amban
Amban
Amban is a Manchu word meaning "high official," which corresponds to a number of different official titles in the Qing imperial government...

s, Manchu "high officials", were installed in Khüree
Ulaanbaatar
Ulan Bator or Ulaanbaatar is the capital and largest city of Mongolia. An independent municipality, the city is not part of any province, and its population as of 2008 is over one million....

, Uliastai
Uliastai
Uliastai is a city in Mongolia. It is located in the western part of the country, 1,115 kilometers from the capital Ulaanbaatar. Uliastai is the capital of Zavkhan Province and was the 10th most populous city in the country with a population of 24,276 , now this city has 16,240 population and is...

, and Khovd, and the country was subdivided into ever more feudal and ecclesiastical fiefdoms. Over the course of the 19th century, the feudal lords attached more importance to representation and less importance to the responsibilities towards their subjects. The behaviour of Mongolia's nobility, together with the usurious
Usury
Usury Originally, when the charging of interest was still banned by Christian churches, usury simply meant the charging of interest at any rate . In countries where the charging of interest became acceptable, the term came to be used for interest above the rate allowed by law...

 practices of the Chinese traders and the collection of imperial taxes in silver instead of animals, resulted in poverty becoming ever more rampant.

Independent Mongolia (1911-1919)




With the fall of the Qing Dynasty, Mongolia under the Bogd Khaan declared independence in 1911. However, the newly established Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 considered Mongolia to be part of its own territory. The area controlled by the Bogd Khaan was approximately that of the former Outer Mongolia
Outer Mongolia
Outer Mongolia was a territory of the Qing Dynasty = the Manchu Empire. Its area was roughly equivalent to that of the modern state of Mongolia, which is sometimes informally called "Outer Mongolia" today...

 during the Qing period. In 1919, after the October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 in Russia, Chinese troops led by Xu Shuzheng
Xu Shuzheng
Hsu Seu-Cheng or Xu Shuzheng , was a Chinese warlord in Republican China. A subordinate and right-hand man of Duan Qirui, he was a prominent member of the Anhui Clique....

 occupied Mongolia.

However, as a result of the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

, the White
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 Russian adventurer Baron Ungern
Roman Ungern von Sternberg
Baron Roman Nikolai Maximilian von Ungern-Sternberg was a Russian Yesaul , Lieutenant-general, and a hero of World War I...

 led his troops into Mongolia in October 1920, defeating the Chinese forces in Niislel Khüree (Ulaanbaatar) in early February 1921. In order to eliminate the threat posed by Ungern, Bolshevik Russia
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

 decided to support the establishment of a communist Mongolian government and army. This Mongolian army took the Mongolian part of Kyakhta
Kyakhta
Kyakhta is a town in the Republic of Buryatia, Russia, located on the Kyakhta River near the Russian-Mongolian border. Population: The town stands directly opposite the Mongolian border town of Altanbulag.-History:...

 from Chinese forces on March 18, 1921, and on July 6 Russian and Mongolian troops arrived in Khüree. Mongolia's independence was declared once again on July 11, 1921. These events led to Mongolia's close alignment with the Soviet Union over the next seven decades.

Communist Mongolia (1921-1990)



In 1924, after the death of the religious leader and king Bogd Khan
Bogd Khan
The Bogd Khan was enthroned as the Great Khaan of Mongolia on 29 December 1911, when Outer Mongolia declared independence from the Qing Dynasty after the Xinhai Revolution. He was born in the Kham region of eastern Tibet, today's Sichuan province of the People's Republic of China...

, a Mongolian People's Republic was proclaimed with support from the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

.
In 1928, Khorloogiin Choibalsan rose to power. He instituted collectivisation of livestock, the destruction of Buddhist
Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism is the body of Buddhist religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet and certain regions of the Himalayas, including northern Nepal, Bhutan, and India . It is the state religion of Bhutan...

 monasteries
Monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

 and the Mongolia's enemies of the people persecution resulting in the murder of monk
Monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

s and other people. In Mongolia during the 1920s, approximately one third of the male population were monks. By the beginning of the 20th century, about 750 monasteries were functioning in Mongolia. The Stalinist purges in Mongolia
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

 that began in 1937 affected the Republic by killing more than 30,000 people. Japanese imperialism became even more alarming after the invasion of neighboring Manchuria in 1931. During the Soviet-Japanese Border War
Battle of Khalkhin Gol
The Battles of Khalkhyn Gol was the decisive engagement of the undeclared Soviet–Japanese Border Wars fought among the Soviet Union, Mongolia and the Empire of Japan in 1939. The conflict was named after the river Khalkhyn Gol, which passes through the battlefield...

 of 1939, the Soviet Union successfully defended Mongolia against Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese expansionism.

In August 1945 Mongolian forces also took part in the Soviet Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation in Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the northern region of the country. Inner Mongolia shares an international border with the countries of Mongolia and the Russian Federation...

. The Soviet threat of seizing parts of Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the northern region of the country. Inner Mongolia shares an international border with the countries of Mongolia and the Russian Federation...

induced China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 to recognize Outer Mongolia's independence, provided that a referendum be held. The referendum took place on October 20, 1945, with (according to official numbers) 100% of the electorate voting for independence. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, both countries confirmed their mutual recognition on October 6, 1949.

On January 26, 1952, Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal took power. In 1956 and again in 1962, Choibalsan's personality cult was condemned at the ruling Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party
Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party
The Mongolian People's Party formerly the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party is an ex-communist political party in Mongolia. The party is abbreviated MPP in English and ' in Mongolian...

 Central Committee plenums. Mongolia continued to align itself closely with the Soviet Union, especially after the Sino-Soviet split
Sino-Soviet split
In political science, the term Sino–Soviet split denotes the worsening of political and ideologic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during the Cold War...

 of the late 1950s. In the 1980s, an estimated 55,000 Soviet troops were based in Mongolia. While Tsedenbal was visiting Moscow in August 1984, his severe illness prompted the parliament to announce his retirement and replace him with Jambyn Batmönkh.

Democratic Mongolia (1990-present)



The introduction of perestroika
Perestroika
Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev...

 and glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

 in the USSR by Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 strongly influenced Mongolian politics, leading to the peaceful Democratic Revolution and the introduction of a multi-party system and market economy. A new constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 was introduced in 1992, and the "People's Republic" was dropped from the country's name. The transition to market economy was often rocky. The early 1990s saw high inflation and food shortages. The first election wins for non-communist parties came in 1993 (presidential elections) and 1996 (parliamentary elections). The signing of the Oyu Tolgoi mine contract is considered a major milestone in modern Mongolian history. The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party renamed itself the Mongolian People's Party in 2010.

Demographics





Mongolia's total population as of July 2007 is estimated by U.S. Census Bureau at 2,951,786 people, ranking at around 138th in the world in terms of population. But the U.S. Department of State Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
In the United States Government, the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs is part of the United States Department of State and is charged with advising the Secretary of State and Under Secretary for Political Affairs on matters of the Asia-Pacific region, as well as dealing with U.S. foreign...

 uses the U.N. estimations instead of the U.S. Census Bureau estimations. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs is part of the United Nations Secretariat and is responsible for the follow-up to the major United Nations Summits and Conferences, as well as services to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and the Second and Third Committees...

 Population Division estimates Mongolia's total population (mid 2007) as 2,629,000 (11% less than the U.S. Census Bureau figure). UN estimates resemble those made by the Mongolian National Statistical Office (2,612,900, end of June 2007). Mongolia's population growth rate is estimated at 1.2% (2007 est.). About 59% of the total population is under age 30, 27% of whom are under 14. This relatively young and growing population has placed strains on Mongolia's economy.

Since the end of socialism, Mongolia has experienced a decline of total fertility rate
Total Fertility Rate
The total fertility rate of a population is the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime if she were to experience the exact current age-specific fertility rates through her lifetime, and she...

 (children per woman) that is steeper than in any other country in the world, according to recent UN estimations: in 1970–1975, fertility was estimated to be 7.33 children per woman, but 2005–2010 prospects are 1.87 (4 times less).

Mongolia has become more urbanized. About 40% of the population lives in Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar
Ulan Bator or Ulaanbaatar is the capital and largest city of Mongolia. An independent municipality, the city is not part of any province, and its population as of 2008 is over one million....

, and in 2002 a further 23% lived in Darkhan, Erdenet
Erdenet
Erdenet is the third-largest city in Mongolia and the capital of the aimag of Orkhon.Located in the northern part of the country, it lies in a valley between the Selenge and Orkhon rivers about 150 miles northwest of Ulan Bator, the capital...

, the aimag
Aimags of Mongolia
Mongolia is divided into 21 aimags . Each aimag is subdivided into several sums. The name aimag is derived from the Mongolian and Turkic languages word for "tribe". The modern aimags were established since 1921...

 centers and sum-level permanent settlements. Another share of the population lives in the sum centers. In 2002, about 30% of all households in Mongolia lived from breeding lifestock. Most herders in Mongolia follow a pattern of nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralism
Pastoralism
Pastoralism or pastoral farming is the branch of agriculture concerned with the raising of livestock. It is animal husbandry: the care, tending and use of animals such as camels, goats, cattle, yaks, llamas, and sheep. It may have a mobile aspect, moving the herds in search of fresh pasture and...

.

Ethnic Mongols account for about 95% of the population and consist of Khalkha and other groups, all distinguished primarily by dialects of the Mongol language. The Khalkha
Khalkha
Khalkha is the largest subgroup of Mongol people in Mongolia since 15th century. The Khalkha together with Tsahar, Ordos and Tumed, were directly ruled by the Altan Urag Khans until the 20th century; unlike the Oirat people who were ruled by the Dzungar nobles or the Khorchins who were ruled by...

 make up 86% of the ethnic Mongol population. The remaining 14% include Oirats
Oirats
Oirats are the westernmost group of the Mongols who unified several tribes origin whose ancestral home is in the Altai region of western Mongolia. Although the Oirats originated in the eastern parts of Central Asia, the most prominent group today is located in the Republic of Kalmykia, a federal...

, Buryats
Buryats
The Buryats or Buriyads , numbering approximately 436,000, are the largest ethnic minority group in Siberia and are mainly concentrated in their homeland, the Buryat Republic, a federal subject of Russia...

 and others. Turkic peoples (Kazakhs
Kazakhs
The Kazakhs are a Turkic people of the northern parts of Central Asia ....

, Tuvans
Tuvans
Tuvans or Tuvinians are Turkic peoples living in southern Siberia. They are historically known as one of the Uriankhai, from the Mongolian designation...

, and Chantuu (Uzbek
Uzbeks
The Uzbeks are a Turkic ethnic group in Central Asia. They comprise the majority population of Uzbekistan, and large populations can also be found in Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Pakistan, Mongolia and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China...

) constitute 4.5% of Mongolia's population, and the rest are Russian, Chinese, Korean and American nationalities. and Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

. Most but not all Russians left the country following the withdrawal of economic aid and dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Languages


The official language of Mongolia is Mongolian
Mongolian language
The Mongolian language is the official language of Mongolia and the best-known member of the Mongolic language family. The number of speakers across all its dialects may be 5.2 million, including the vast majority of the residents of Mongolia and many of the Mongolian residents of the Inner...

, and is spoken by 95% of the population. A variety of dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

s of Oirat
Oirat language
Oirat belongs to the group of Mongolic languages. Scholars differ as to whether Oirat is a distinct language or a major dialect of the Mongolian language...

 and Buryat
Buryat language
Buryat is a Mongolic variety spoken by the Buryats that is either classified as a language or as a major dialect group of Mongolian. The majority of Buryat speakers live in Russia along the northern border of Mongolia where it is an official language in the Buryat Republic, Ust-Orda Buryatia and...

 are spoken across the country, and there are also some speakers of Mongolic Khamnigan. In the west of the country, Kazakh
Kazakh language
Kazakh is a Turkic language which belongs to the Kipchak branch of the Turkic languages, closely related to Nogai and Karakalpak....

 and Tuvan
Tuvan language
Tuvan , also known as Tuvinian, Tyvan or Tuvin, is a Turkic language spoken in the Republic of Tuva in south-central Siberia in Russia. The language has borrowed a great number of roots from the Mongolian language and more recently from the Russian language...

, both Turkic languages
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

, are also spoken.

Today, Mongolian is written using the Cyrillic alphabet
Mongolian Cyrillic alphabet
The Mongolian Cyrillic script is the writing system used for the Khalkha dialect of the Mongolian language as the standard dialect of the modern state of Mongolia. Cyrillic has not been adopted by the Khalkha in the Inner Mongolia region of China, who still use the Mongolian script.Mongolian...

, although in the past it was written using the Mongolian script
Mongolian script
The classical Mongolian script , also known as Uyghurjin, was the first writing system created specifically for the Mongolian language, and was the most successful until the introduction of Cyrillic in 1946...

. An official reintroduction of the old script was planned for 1994, but has not yet taken place as older generations encountered practical difficulties.
The traditional alphabet is being slowly reintroduced through schools.
The Russian language
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 is the most frequently spoken foreign language in Mongolia, followed by English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, though English has been gradually replacing Russian as the second language. Korean
Korean language
Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

 has gained popularity as tens of thousands of Mongolians work in South Korea
Mongolians in South Korea
Mongols in South Korea form the world's largest population of Mongolian citizens abroad.-Population:By 2003, there were already 20,000 Mongols working in South Korea, making their population larger than the combined total of Mongolian Americans, Mongolians in Japan, and Mongolians in Europe...

. Interest in Chinese
Standard Mandarin
Standard Chinese or Modern Standard Chinese, also known as Mandarin or Putonghua, is the official language of the People's Republic of China and Republic of China , and is one of the four official languages of Singapore....

, as the language of the other neighbouring power, has been growing; in fact, according to Uradyn E. Bulag, anthropologist at Hunter College
Hunter College
Hunter College, established in 1870, is a public university and one of the constituent colleges of the City University of New York, located on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Hunter grants undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degrees in more than one hundred fields of study, and is recognized...

 and the Graduate Center, City University of New York
City University of New York
The City University of New York is the public university system of New York City, with its administrative offices in Yorkville in Manhattan. It is the largest urban university in the United States, consisting of 23 institutions: 11 senior colleges, six community colleges, the William E...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, USA, ethnic Mongols in bordering Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the northern region of the country. Inner Mongolia shares an international border with the countries of Mongolia and the Russian Federation...

 are displaying significant linguistic anxiety about losing their language and linguistic identity to powerful Chinese nationalistic and cultural forces. Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

 is also popular among the younger people. A number of older educated Mongolians speak some German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, as they studied in the former East Germany, while a few speak other languages from the former Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

. Besides that, many younger Mongolians are fluent in the Western European languages as they study or work in foreign countries including Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

.

Deaf people in Mongolia use Mongolian Sign Language
Mongolian Sign Language
Mongolian Sign Language is a sign language used in Mongolia. Ethnologue estimates that there were between 10,000 to 147,000 deaf people in Mongolia ; however, it is not known how many of those are users of MSL....

.

Geography and climate





At 1564116 square kilometre, Mongolia is the world's 19th-largest country (after Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

). It is significantly larger than the next-largest country, Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

. It mostly lies between latitudes 41°
41st parallel north
The 41st parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 41 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 52°N
52nd parallel north
The 52nd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 52 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

 (a small area is north of 52°), and longitudes 87°
87th meridian east
The meridian 87° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 120°E
120th meridian east
The meridian 120° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Indian Ocean, Australia, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

The geography of Mongolia is varied, with the Gobi Desert
Gobi Desert
The Gobi is a large desert region in Asia. It covers parts of northern and northwestern China, and of southern Mongolia. The desert basins of the Gobi are bounded by the Altai Mountains and the grasslands and steppes of Mongolia on the north, by the Hexi Corridor and Tibetan Plateau to the...

 to the south and with cold and mountainous regions to the north and west. Much of Mongolia consists of steppe
Steppe
In physical geography, steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes...

s. The highest point in Mongolia is the Khüiten Peak
Khüiten Peak
Hüiten Peak is the highest point in Mongolia, located in the far west of the country on the border with PRC. The Peak towers at the elevation of 4,374 m under the permanent snow-cap...

 in the Tavan bogd massif in the far west at 4374 m (14,350 ft). The basin of the Uvs Lake, shared with Tuva Republic in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, is a natural World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

.
Most of the country is hot in the summer and extremely cold in the winter, with January averages dropping as low as -30 °C.

The country is also subject to occasional harsh climatic conditions known as zud
Zud
A zud or dzud is a Mongolian term for an extremely snowy winter in which livestock are unable to find fodder through the snow cover, and large numbers of animals die due to starvation and the cold. The term is also used for other meteorological conditions, especially in winter, that make livestock...

. Ulan Bator has the lowest average temperature of any national capital in the world.
Mongolia is high, cold, and windy. It has an extreme continental climate with long, cold winters and short summers, during which most of its annual precipitation falls. The country averages 257 cloudless days a year, and it is usually at the center of a region of high atmospheric pressure. Precipitation is highest in the north (average of 200 to 350 mm (7.9 to 13.8 in) per year) and lowest in the south, which receives 100 to 200 mm (3.9 to 7.9 in) annually. The extreme south is the Gobi, some regions of which receive no precipitation at all in most years.

The name "Gobi" is a Mongol term for a desert steppe, which usually refers to a category of arid rangeland with insufficient vegetation to support marmot
Marmot
The marmots are a genus, Marmota, of squirrels. There are 14 species in this genus.Marmots are generally large ground squirrels. Those most often referred to as marmots tend to live in mountainous areas such as the Alps, northern Apennines, Eurasian steppes, Carpathians, Tatras, and Pyrenees in...

s but with enough to support camel
Camel
A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as humps on its back. There are two species of camels: the dromedary or Arabian camel has a single hump, and the bactrian has two humps. Dromedaries are native to the dry desert areas of West Asia,...

s. Mongols distinguish Gobi from desert proper, although the distinction is not always apparent to outsiders unfamiliar with the Mongolian landscape. Gobi rangelands are fragile and are easily destroyed by overgrazing, which results in expansion of the true desert, a stony waste where not even Bactrian camel
Bactrian camel
The Bactrian camel is a large, even-toed ungulate native to the steppes of central Asia. It is presently restricted in the wild to remote regions of the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts of Mongolia and Xinjiang. A small number of wild Bactrian camels still roam the Mangystau Province of southwest...

s can survive.

Administrative divisions


Mongolia is divided into 21 aimag
Aimag
Aimag is a Mongolian and Turkic word for a tribe.It is also used as a term for country subdivisions in Mongolia and China, see aimag .The name of the Aimak people in central Afghanistan derives from the same root....

s (province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

s), which are in turn divided into 329 sums (district
District
Districts are a type of administrative division, in some countries managed by a local government. They vary greatly in size, spanning entire regions or counties, several municipalities, or subdivisions of municipalities.-Austria:...

s). The capital Ulaanbaatar is administrated separately as a capital city
Capital City
Capital City was a television show produced by Euston Films which focused on the lives of investment bankers in London living and working on the corporate trading floor for the fictional international bank Shane-Longman....

 (municipality
Municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

) with provincial status. The aimags are:

Major cities



The largest city in Mongolia is Ulan Bator, with a population of just over 1 million, followed by Erdenet
Erdenet
Erdenet is the third-largest city in Mongolia and the capital of the aimag of Orkhon.Located in the northern part of the country, it lies in a valley between the Selenge and Orkhon rivers about 150 miles northwest of Ulan Bator, the capital...

, Darkhan, Choibalsan, and Mörön.

Government and politics



Mongolia is a parliamentary republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

. The parliament is elected by the people and in turn elects the government. The president is elected directly. Mongolia's constitution
Constitution of Mongolia
Constitution of Mongolia is the constitution of Mongolia.It was adopted on January 13. 1992, put into force on February 12, and amended in 1999 and 2001. The new constitution established a parliamentary democracy in Mongolia, guaranteeing freedom of religion, rights, travel, expression,...

 guarantees full freedom of expression, religion, and gives other freedoms. Mongolia has a number of political parties, the biggest ones being the Mongolian People's Party (MPP or MPRP) and the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (Mongolia)
The Democratic Party is a conservative liberal and libertarian political party in Mongolia. Its primary goals are the continued transformation of Mongolia into an open and democratic society.- History :...

 (DP).

The MPRP formed the government of the country from 1921 to 1996 (until 1990 in a one-party system) and from 2000 to 2004. From 2004 to 2006, it was part of a coalition with the DP and two other parties, and since 2006 it has been the dominant party in two other coalitions. Both changes of government after 2004 were initiated by the MPRP. The DP was the dominant force in the ruling coalition between 1996 and 2000, and also an approximately equal partner with the MPRP in the 2004–2006 coalition. The MPRP won the last round of parliamentary elections
Mongolian legislative election, 2008
A legislative election in Mongolia was held on June 29, 2008. A total of 356 candidates were running for 76 seats in the State Great Khural. According to official results published on July 14, at least 39 seats went to the ruling Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party , and at least 25 seats went...

, held in June 2008.

President




Mongolia's president
President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 has a largely symbolic role, but can block the Parliament's decisions. The parliament, in response, can then overrule the veto by a two-thirds majority vote. Mongolia's constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 provides three requirements for taking office as president
President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

; the candidate must be a native-born Mongolian, be at least 45 years of age, and have resided in Mongolia for five years prior to taking office. The president is also required to formally resign his or her party membership. The current president is Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, a former two-time prime minister and member of the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (Mongolia)
The Democratic Party is a conservative liberal and libertarian political party in Mongolia. Its primary goals are the continued transformation of Mongolia into an open and democratic society.- History :...

. He was elected as president on May 24, 2009 and inaugurated on June 18.

The State Great Khural




Mongolia uses a unicameral parliamentary system
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 in which the president
President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 has a symbolic role and the government chosen by the legislature exercises executive power. The legislative arm, the State Great Khural, has one chamber with 76 seats and is chaired by the speaker of the house. It elects its members every four years by general elections. The State Great Khural is powerful in the Mongolian government with the president being largely symbolic and the prime minister being chosen by the parliament from among its own membership.

Prime Minister and the cabinet



The Prime Minister of Mongolia
Prime Minister of Mongolia
The Prime Minister of Mongolia is the highest member of the Mongolian government's executive arm, and heads the Mongolian cabinet. The Prime Minister is appointed by Parliament, and can be removed by a vote of no confidence.-Powers:...

 is elected by the State Great Khural. The current prime minister is Sükhbaataryn Batbold
Sükhbaataryn Batbold
Sükhbaataryn Batbold is the Prime Minister of Mongolia. He was previously the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the government of his predecessor, Sanjaagiin Bayar.-Education and Personal Life:...

, who assumed the office on 29 October 2009. The deputy prime minister is Norovyn Altankhuyag
Norovyn Altankhuyag
Norovyn Altankhuyag is the First Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia. Previously, he served as Minister of Agriculture and Industry between 1996–2000 and Minister of Finance from 2004-2006...

. There are ministers for each department (finance, defense, labor, agriculture, etc.), and those officers constitute the prime minister's cabinet.

The cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

 is nominated by the prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 in consultation with the president and confirmed by the State Great Khural.

Foreign relations and the military


Mongolia maintains positive relations and has diplomatic missions in many countries such as Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, North
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 and South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The government has focused a great deal on encouraging foreign investments and trade. Mongolia supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

, and has sent several successive contingents of 103 to 180 troops each to Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. About 130 troops are currently deployed in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. 200 Mongolian troops are serving in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone , officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of and has an estimated population between 5.4 and 6.4...

 on a UN mandate to protect the UN's special court
Special Court for Sierra Leone
The Special Court for Sierra Leone is an independent judicial body set up to "try those who bear greatest responsibility" for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Sierra Leone after 30 November 1996 during the Sierra Leone Civil War...

 set up there, and in July 2009, Mongolia decided to send a battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 to Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

 in support of MINURCAT.

From 2005 to 2006, about 40 troops were deployed with the Belgian and Luxembourgish contingent in Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

. On November 21, 2005, George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 became the first-ever sitting U.S. President to visit Mongolia. In 2004, under the Bulgarian chairmanship, The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), invited Mongolia as its newest Asian Partner. In August, 2011, U.S. vice president Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President Barack Obama...

 is scheduled to make the first visit by a sitting vice president to Mongolia since Henry Wallace
Henry A. Wallace
Henry Agard Wallace was the 33rd Vice President of the United States , the Secretary of Agriculture , and the Secretary of Commerce . In the 1948 presidential election, Wallace was the nominee of the Progressive Party.-Early life:Henry A...

 toured the region in 1944.

Mongolia has embassies in Almaty
Almaty
Almaty , also known by its former names Verny and Alma-Ata , is the former capital of Kazakhstan and the nation's largest city, with a population of 1,348,500...

, Ankara
Ankara
Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. The city has a mean elevation of , and as of 2010 the metropolitan area in the entire Ankara Province had a population of 4.4 million....

, Bangkok
Bangkok
Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...

, Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

, Budapest
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

, Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, Canberra
Canberra
Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 345,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory , south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne...

, Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

, Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, Vientiane
Vientiane
-Geography:Vientiane is situated on a bend of the Mekong river, which forms the border with Thailand at this point.-Climate:Vientiane features a tropical wet and dry climate with a distinct monsoon season and a dry season. Vientiane’s dry season spans from November through March. April marks the...

, Havana
Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...

, Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

, Kuwait City
Kuwait City
-Suburbs:Although the districts below are not usually recognized as suburbs, the following is a list of a few areas surrounding Kuwait city:Al-Salam ""السلام"" -Economy:...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

, Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

, Pyongyang
Pyongyang
Pyongyang is the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was...

, Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

, Sofia
Sofia
Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria and the 12th largest city in the European Union with a population of 1.27 million people. It is located in western Bulgaria, at the foot of Mount Vitosha and approximately at the centre of the Balkan Peninsula.Prehistoric settlements were excavated...

, Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

, Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

, and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, a consulate in Irkutsk
Irkutsk
Irkutsk is a city and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, one of the largest cities in Siberia. Population: .-History:In 1652, Ivan Pokhabov built a zimovye near the site of Irkutsk for gold trading and for the collection of fur taxes from the Buryats. In 1661, Yakov Pokhabov...

 and Ulan-Ude
Ulan-Ude
Ulan-Ude is the capital city of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia, located about southeast of Lake Baikal on the Uda River at its confluence with the Selenga...

, and diplomatic missions to the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and in Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

.

Air pollution


Mongolia's capital city, Ulan Bator, is affected by air pollution
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

 caused by coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

 and wood-burning stoves used for heating and cooking. The new market economy of the country and its very cold winter seasons have led to the formation of ger districts outside the urban center, where 60% of the population resides. The resulting air pollution problem is characterized by very high concentrations of airborne particles, particulate matter (PM), and by less severe sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide levels. Measurements carried out in Ulan Bator have shown that PM is by far the most serious component of the air pollution problem. During the winter months, urban air obscures vision and negatively impacts human health. The air pollution also affects the visibility in the city to such an extent that airplanes on some occasions are prevented from landing at the local airport. The annual average temperature in Ulan Bator is 0°C, making it the world's coldest capital city.

About 40% of the population in Ulan Bator live in apartments, with about 80% of them supplied with central heating systems from three combined heat and power plants
Cogeneration
Cogeneration is the use of a heat engine or a power station to simultaneously generate both electricity and useful heat....

 (CHP). The power plants consumed almost 3.4 million tons of coal in 2007; however, the pollution control technology is unable to accommodate this level of contaminant production. In Ulan Bator, the annual seasonal average particulate matter concentrations (PM10) have been recorded as high as 279, though the recommended maximum PM10 level is 20, as set forth by the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 (WHO). Thus, the PM10 level in Ulan Bator is 14 times higher than the recommended maximum level. This concentration is also greater than many cities of northern China
North China
thumb|250px|Northern [[People's Republic of China]] region.Northern China or North China is a geographical region of China. The heartland of North China is the North China Plain....

, long known for their high levels of air pollution, in which concentrations were above 200 up until a few years ago when active measure were taken to reduce levels of harmful particulate matter.

Economy




Mongolia's economy is centered on agriculture
Agriculture in Mongolia
Agriculture in Mongolia constitutes 20.6% of Mongolia's annual Gross domestic product and employs 42% of the labor force. However, the high altitude, extreme fluctuation in temperature, long winters, and low precipitation provides limited potential for agricultural development. The growing season...

 and mining. Mongolia has rich mineral resources, and copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

, molybdenum
Molybdenum
Molybdenum , is a Group 6 chemical element with the symbol Mo and atomic number 42. The name is from Neo-Latin Molybdaenum, from Ancient Greek , meaning lead, itself proposed as a loanword from Anatolian Luvian and Lydian languages, since its ores were confused with lead ores...

, tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

, tungsten
Tungsten
Tungsten , also known as wolfram , is a chemical element with the chemical symbol W and atomic number 74.A hard, rare metal under standard conditions when uncombined, tungsten is found naturally on Earth only in chemical compounds. It was identified as a new element in 1781, and first isolated as...

, and gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 account for a large part of industrial production. In March 2011, six big mining companies prepared to bid for the Tavan Tolgoi area, which is the world's largest untapped coking coal deposit. ArcelorMittal, Vale, Xstrata
Xstrata
Xstrata plc is a global mining company headquartered in Zug, Switzerland and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is a major producer of coal , copper, nickel, primary vanadium and zinc and the world's largest producer of ferrochrome...

, U.S. coal miner Peabody
Peabody Energy
Peabody Energy Corporation , previously Peabody Coal Company, is the largest private-sector coal company in the world. The company is headquartered in Downtown St. Louis, Missouri....

, a consortium of Chinese energy firm Shenhua
Shenhua Group
Shenhua Group is a state-owned mining and energy company in China. It is the largest coal-producing company in the world. It was founded in October 1995 under the auspices of the State Council of the People's Republic of China.-Activities:...

 and Japan's Mitsui & Co, and a separate consortium of Japanese, South Korean and Russian firms are the preferred bidders, said Erdenes MGL, the government body which controls Tavan Tolgoi.

There are currently over 30,000 independent businesses in Mongolia, chiefly centered around the capital city. The majority of the population outside urban areas participates in subsistence herding
Herding
Herding is the act of bringing individual animals together into a group , maintaining the group and moving the group from place to place—or any combination of those. While the layperson uses the term "herding", most individuals involved in the process term it mustering, "working stock" or...

; livestock typically consists of sheep, goats, cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

, horses, and Bactrian camels. Agricultural crops include wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

, potato
Potato
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family . The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species...

, vegetables, tomato
Tomato
The word "tomato" may refer to the plant or the edible, typically red, fruit which it bears. Originating in South America, the tomato was spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and its many varieties are now widely grown, often in greenhouses in cooler...

, watermelon
Watermelon
Watermelon is a vine-like flowering plant originally from southern Africa. Its fruit, which is also called watermelon, is a special kind referred to by botanists as a pepo, a berry which has a thick rind and fleshy center...

, sea-buckthorn
Sea-buckthorn
The sea-buckthorns are deciduous shrubs in the genus Hippophae, family Elaeagnaceae. The name sea-buckthorn is hyphenated here to avoid confusion with the buckthorns...

, and fodder crops. GDP per capita in 2006 was $2,100.

Although GDP has risen steadily since 2002 at the rate of 7.5% in an official 2006 estimate, the state is still working to overcome a sizable trade deficit. A massive ($11 billion) foreign debt to Russia was settled by the Mongolian government in 2004 with a $250 million payment. Despite growth, the proportion of the population below the poverty line was estimated to be 35.6% in 1998, 36.1% in 2002–2003, 32.2% in 2006, and both the unemployment rate and inflation rate are relatively high at 3.2% and 6.0%, respectively (in 2006). Mongolia's largest trading partner is the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. As of 2006, 68.4% of Mongolia's exports went to the PRC, and the PRC supplied 29.8% of Mongolia's imports.

Mongolia was never listed among the Emerging markets
Emerging markets
Emerging markets are nations with social or business activity in the process of rapid growth and industrialization. Based on data from 2006, there are around 28 emerging markets in the world . The economies of China and India are considered to be the largest...

 countries until February 2011 when Citigroup
Citigroup
Citigroup Inc. or Citi is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States. Citigroup was formed from one of the world's largest mergers in history by combining the banking giant Citicorp and financial conglomerate...

 analysts determined Mongolia to be one of Global Growth Generators
3G (countries)
3G countries or Global Growth Generators countries are 11 countries economies which have been identified as sources of growth potential and of profitable investment opportunities.-Background:...

 countries which being countries with the most promising growth prospects for 2010–2050.

The Mongolian Stock Exchange
Mongolian Stock Exchange
The Mongolian Stock Exchange , located in Ulan Bator, is Mongolia's sole stock exchange. It was established in January 1991 by the decree of the Mongolian Government to privatize state-owned assets, it was the world’s best-performing stock market after a run-up of 121 per cent in 12 months...

, established in 1991 in Ulan Bator, is the world's smallest stock exchange
Stock exchange
A stock exchange is an entity that provides services for stock brokers and traders to trade stocks, bonds, and other securities. Stock exchanges also provide facilities for issue and redemption of securities and other financial instruments, and capital events including the payment of income and...

 by market capitalisation. In 2010, the Mongolian Stock Exchange had 336 companies listed with a total market capitalization of US$1 billion after doubling from US$406 million in 2008.

Industrial sector


Industry currently accounts for 21.4% of GDP, approximately equal to the contribution of the agriculture sector (20.4%). These industries include construction materials, mining (coal, copper, molybdenum, fluorspar, tin, tungsten, and gold), oil, food and beverages, processing of animal products, and cashmere and natural fiber manufacturing. The industrial production growth rate was estimated to be 4.1% in 2002. Mining is continuing to rise as a major industry of Mongolia as evidenced by number of Chinese, Russian and Canadian firms opening and starting mining business in Mongolia. Domestic food production, especially packaged food production, has been increasingly coming up to speed with investments from foreign companies.

Science and technology


Some technology companies from nearby countries, such as South Korea and the People's Republic of China, have started to open offices in Mongolia. Those companies have tended to focus on software development rather than hardware production. A number of telecommunications companies and Internet service provider
Internet service provider
An Internet service provider is a company that provides access to the Internet. Access ISPs directly connect customers to the Internet using copper wires, wireless or fiber-optic connections. Hosting ISPs lease server space for smaller businesses and host other people servers...

s have been established resulting in greater competition in the Internet and phone market, especially in cell phones like Mobicom Corporation
Mobicom Corporation
Mobicom Corporation is the largest mobile phone operator in Mongolia.It was established as a joint Mongolian-Japanese venture on 18th March of 1996, to be the first Mongolian cell phone service. It was founded by Newcom Group, Sumitomo, and KDDI...

 and Magicnet
Magicnet
Magicnet is the first ISP provider company in Mongolia and holds significant market share in terms of providing internet access in Mongolia.-External links:*...

, that are the largest cellphone and ISP operators in Mongolia respectively.

Service sector


After the transition shocks of the early 1990s, Mongolian domestic production has picked up again. According to the CIA World Factbook, in 2008, the service sector accounted for 49% of the GDP, with 61% of the labor force of 1.06 million involved.

Foreign investment from other countries (including the PRC, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

) has helped to add more paved roads. The most important is a 1000 km north-south road leading from the Russian border at Sükhbaatar
Sükhbaatar (city)
Sükhbaatar is the capital of Selenge Province in northern Mongolia, on the Orkhon river.City population is 19.224 -History:The city was founded in 1940 and named after the Mongolian revolutionary leader Damdin Sükhbaatar.-Transport:...

 to the Chinese border at Zamyn-Üüd
Zamyn-Üüd
Zamyn-Üüd is a sum of Dornogovi Province in southeastern Mongolia.The population of Zamyn-Üüd was 11,527 in 2008.Zamyn-Üüd actual name comes from the former Dzamiin Üüde settlement located 101 km NW from the modern town ....

. There are several air transport companies in Mongolia, including MIAT
MIAT Mongolian Airlines
MIAT Mongolian Airlines , Mongolian Civil Air Transport) is Mongolia's national airline, headquartered in the MIAT Building in Ulaanbataar, the capital...

, Aero Mongolia
Aero Mongolia
Aero Mongolia is one of the major airlines in Mongolia. Its head office is on the third floor of Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulan Bator. It operates domestic flights to eleven local destinations and operates international scheduled services to Irkutsk, Russia and Hohhot, Urumqi in China...

, and Eznis Airways
Eznis Airways
Eznis Airways LLC is a scheduled and charter airline based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It is the largest domestic airline with services to a number of Mongolian domestic points, with an international route to China and Russia .With its main base located at...

.

Petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 products are mainly (80%) imported from Russia, which makes Mongolia vulnerable to supply side shocks. This is one strong example of the influence of Mongolia's neighbors on its economy.

Transportation





The Trans-Mongolian Railway
Trans-Mongolian Railway
The Trans-Mongolian Railway connects Ulan-Ude, on the Trans-Baikal railway in Russia, with the Chinese city of Jining, by way of Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia....

 is the main rail link between Mongolia and its neighbors. It begins at the Trans-Siberian Railway
Trans-Siberian Railway
The Trans-Siberian Railway is a network of railways connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East and the Sea of Japan. It is the longest railway in the world...

 in Russia at the town of Ulan-Ude
Ulan-Ude
Ulan-Ude is the capital city of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia, located about southeast of Lake Baikal on the Uda River at its confluence with the Selenga...

, crosses into Mongolia, runs through Ulaanbaatar, then passes into China at Erenhot
Erenhot
Erenhot is a city located in the Gobi Desert, in the Xilin Gol league of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China . It has 16,330 inhabitants and the elevation is...

 where it joins the Chinese railway system. A separate railroad link connects the eastern city of Choibalsan with the Trans-Siberian Railway. However, that link is closed to passengers after the Mongolian town of Chuluunkhoroot.

Mongolia has a number of domestic airports. The only international airport is the Chinggis Khaan International Airport
Chinggis Khaan International Airport
Chinggis Khaan International Airport is the international airport serving Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It is 18 km southwest of the capital. It is the largest international air facility in the country...

 near Ulaanbaatar. Direct flight connections exist between Mongolia and South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, China, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. MIAT
MIAT Mongolian Airlines
MIAT Mongolian Airlines , Mongolian Civil Air Transport) is Mongolia's national airline, headquartered in the MIAT Building in Ulaanbataar, the capital...

 is Mongolia's largest carrier in Mongolia and provides both domestic and international flights.

Most overland roads in Mongolia are only gravel roads or simple cross-country tracks. There are paved roads from Ulaanbaatar to the Russian and Chinese border, and from Darkhan to Bulgan
Bulgan (city)
Bulgan is a town, administrative centre of Bulgan province of Mongolia. Bulgan sum has a population of 11,984 , 12,323, town proper has a population of 11,198...

. Some road construction projects are currently underway — for example, construction of the east–west so-called Millennium Road.

Religion


According National Census 2010 among Mongolians aged 15 and above were 53% Buddhists, 39% Atheists:
Religions in Mongolia
(population aged 15 and above)
Religion Population Share
%
Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 
1,009,357 53.0
Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 
57,702 3.0
Shamanism
Shamanism
Shamanism is an anthropological term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world. To quote Eliade: "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = technique of ecstasy." Shamanism encompasses the...

 
55,174 2.9
Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 
41,117 2.1
Other religions 6,933 0.4
Atheism
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

 
735,283 38.6
TOTAL 1,905,566 100.0


Various forms of Tengriism
Tengriism
Tengriism is a Central Asian religion that incorporates elements of shamanism, animism, totemism and ancestor worship. Despite still being active in some minorities, it was, in old times, the major belief of Turkic peoples , Bulgars, Hungarians and Mongols...

 and shamanism
Shamanism
Shamanism is an anthropological term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world. To quote Eliade: "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = technique of ecstasy." Shamanism encompasses the...

 have been widely practiced throughout the history of what is now modern day Mongolia, as such beliefs were common among nomadic people in Asian history. Such beliefs gradually gave way to Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism is the body of Buddhist religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet and certain regions of the Himalayas, including northern Nepal, Bhutan, and India . It is the state religion of Bhutan...

, but shamanism has left a mark on Mongolian religious culture, and it continues to be practiced. In the three Western khanates of the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

, which were established on Muslim territories, the Mongol conqueror elites eventually adopted Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 (along with other aspects of the local cultures, including the indigenous languages).

Throughout much of the 20th century, the communist government ensured that the religious practices of the Mongolian people were largely repressed. It targeted the clergy of the Mongolian Tibetan Buddhist Church, which had been tightly intertwined with the previous feudal government structures (e.g. from 1911 on, the head of the Church had also been the khan
Khan (title)
Khan is an originally Altaic and subsequently Central Asian title for a sovereign or military ruler, widely used by medieval nomadic Turko-Mongol tribes living to the north of China. 'Khan' is also seen as a title in the Xianbei confederation for their chief between 283 and 289...

 of the country). In the late 1930s, the regime, then led by Khorloogiin Choibalsan, closed almost all of Mongolia's over 700 Buddhist monasteries and killed at least 18.000 lamas. The number of Buddhist monks dropped from 100,000 in 1924 to 110 in 1990.

The fall of communism in 1991 restored the legality of public religious practice, and Tibetan Buddhism, which had been the predominant religion in the region before the rise of communism, again rose to become the most widely practiced religion in Mongolia. The end of religious repression in the 1990s also allowed for other religions, such as Islam, Baha'i Faith and Christianity, to spread in the country. According to the Christian missionary group Barnabas Fund
Barnabas Fund
The Barnabas Fund is an international, interdenominational Christian aid agency that supports Christians who face discrimination or persecution as a consequence of their faith...

, the number of Christians grew from just four in 1989 to around 40,000 as of 2008.

Education


During the state socialist period, education was one of the areas of significant achievement in Mongolia. Illiteracy was virtually eliminated, in part through the use of seasonal boarding schools for children of nomadic families. Funding to these boarding schools was cut in the 1990s, contributing to slightly increased illiteracy.

Primary and secondary education formerly lasted 10 years, but was expanded to 11 years. Since the 2008–2009 school year, new first graders are using the 12 year system. As such, full transition to the 12-year system will not happen until the 2019–2020 school year, when the current third graders graduate.

Mongolian national universities are all spin-offs from the National University of Mongolia
National University of Mongolia
The National University of Mongolia is the oldest university in Mongolia. It hosts twelve schools and faculties in Ulaanbaatar, and runs branches in the Zavkhan and Orkhon Aimags...

 and the Mongolian University of Science and Technology
Mongolian University of Science and Technology
The Mongolian University of Science and Technology is a multidisciplinary and multileveled center for education, training and scientific research based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia...

.

The broad liberalization of the 1990s led to a boom in private institutions of higher education, although many of these establishments have difficulty living up to their name of "college" or "university".

Health


Since 1990, key health indicators like life expectancy and infant
Infant mortality
Infant mortality is defined as the number of infant deaths per 1000 live births. Traditionally, the most common cause worldwide was dehydration from diarrhea. However, the spreading information about Oral Re-hydration Solution to mothers around the world has decreased the rate of children dying...

 and child mortality
Child mortality
Child mortality, also known as under-5 mortality, refers to the death of infants and children under the age of five. In 2010, 7.6 million children under five died , down from 8.1 million in 2009, 8.8 million in 2008, and 12.4 million in 1990. About half of child deaths occur in Africa....

 have steadily improved, both due to social changes and to improvement in the health sector. However, serious problems remain, especially in the countryside.

Average childbirth (fertility rate) is around 2.25 – 1.87 per woman (2007) and average life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

 is 67-68 years. Infant mortality is at 1.9%-4% and child mortality is at 4.3%.

The health sector comprises 17 specialized hospitals and centers, 4 regional diagnostic and treatment centers, 9 district and 21 aimag general hospitals, 323 soum hospitals, 18 feldsher posts, 233 family group practices, and 536 private hospitals and 57 drug supply companies/pharmacies. In 2002 the total number of health workers was 33,273, of which 6823 were doctors, 788 pharmacists, 7802 nurses, and 14,091 mid-level personnel. At present, there are 27.7 physicians and 75.7 hospital beds per 10,000 inhabitants.

Culture




The main festival is Naadam
Naadam
Naadam is a traditional type of festival in Mongolia. The festival is also locally termed "eriin gurvan naadam" "the three games of men". The games are Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery and are held throughout the country during the midsummer holidays...

, which has been organised for centuries, consists of three Mongolian traditional sports, archery
Archery
Archery is the art, practice, or skill of propelling arrows with the use of a bow, from Latin arcus. Archery has historically been used for hunting and combat; in modern times, however, its main use is that of a recreational activity...

, horse-racing (over long stretches of open country, not the short racing around a track practiced in the West), and wrestling. Nowadays it is held on July 11 to July 13 in the honour of the anniversaries of the National Democratic Revolution and foundation of the Great Mongol State. Another very popular activity called Shagaa is the "flicking" of sheep ankle bones at a target several feet away, using a flicking motion of the finger to send the small bone flying at targets and trying to knock the target bones off the platform. This contest at Naadam is very popular and develops a serious audience among older Mongolians.
In Mongolia, the khoomei (or throat singing), style of music is popular, particularly in parts of Western Mongolia.

The ornate symbol in the leftmost bar of the national flag is a Buddhist icon called Soyombo
Soyombo symbol
The Soyombo symbol is a special character out of the Mongolian Soyombo script. It serves as a national symbol of Mongolia, to be found on the Flag of Mongolia, the Coat of arms of Mongolia, and on many other official documents....

. It represents the sun, moon, stars, and heavens per standard cosmological symbology abstracted from that seen in traditional thangka
Thangka
A "Thangka," also known as "Tangka", "Thanka" or "Tanka" is a Tibetan silk painting with embroidery, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, famous scene, or mandala of some sort. The thankga is not a flat creation like an oil painting or acrylic painting...

 paintings.

Sports and recreation


Mongolia's Naadam
Naadam
Naadam is a traditional type of festival in Mongolia. The festival is also locally termed "eriin gurvan naadam" "the three games of men". The games are Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery and are held throughout the country during the midsummer holidays...

 festival takes place over three days in the summer and includes horse racing
Horse racing
Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has a long history. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in ancient Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC...

, archery
Archery
Archery is the art, practice, or skill of propelling arrows with the use of a bow, from Latin arcus. Archery has historically been used for hunting and combat; in modern times, however, its main use is that of a recreational activity...

, and Mongolian wrestling
Mongolian wrestling
Mongolian wrestling, known as Bökh , is the folk wrestling style of Mongols in Mongolia, Inner Mongolia and other regions...

. These three sports, traditionally recognized as the three primary masculine activities, are the most widely watched and practiced sports throughout the country.

Horse riding is especially central to Mongolian culture. The long-distance races that are showcased during Naadam festivals are one aspect of this, as is the popularity of trick riding. One example of trick riding is the legend that the Mongolian military hero Damdin Sükhbaatar scattered coins on the ground and then picked them up while riding a horse at full gallop.

Other sports such as table tennis, basketball, and association football are increasingly getting popular. More Mongolian table tennis players are competing internationally.

Wrestling is the most popular of all Mongol sports. It is the highlight of the Three Manly Games of Naadam. Historians claim that Mongol-style wrestling originated some seven thousand years ago. Hundreds of wrestlers from different cities and aimags around the country take part in the national wrestling competition.

There are no weight categories or age limits. Each wrestler has his own attendant herald. The aim of the sport is to knock one's opponent off balance and throw him down, making him touch the ground with his elbow and knee.

The winners are honored with ancient titles: the winner of the fifth round gets the honorary title of nachin (falcon), of the seventh and eighth rounds zaan (elephant), and of the tenth and eleventh rounds arslan (lion). The wrestler who becomes the absolute champion is awarded the title of avarga (Titan). Every subsequent victory at the national Naadam-festival will add an epithet to the avarga title, like "Invincible Titan to be remembered by all". Beginning in 2003, the Mongolian parliament adopted a new law on Naadam, making amendments to some of the wrestling titles. The titles of iarudi and Khartsaga (Hawk) were added to the existing above-mentioned rules.

The traditional wrestling costume includes an open-fronted jacket, tied around the waist with a string. This is said to have come into use after the champion of a wrestling competition many years ago was discovered to be a woman. The jacket was introduced to ensure that only men could compete.

International sports


Mongolia's traditional wrestlers have made the transition to Japanese sumo wrestling with great success. Asashōryū Akinori
Asashōryū Akinori
is a former sumo wrestler from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. He was the 68th yokozuna in the history of the sport in Japan and became the first Mongol to reach sumo's highest rank in January 2003. He was one of the most successful yokozuna ever. In 2005 he became the first man to win all six official...

 was the first Mongolian to be promoted to the top sumo rank of yokozuna in 2003 and was followed by his countryman Hakuhō Shō
Hakuho Sho
is a professional sumo wrestler from Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Making his debut in March 2001, he reached the top makuuchi division in May 2004. On May 30, 2007 at the age of 22 he became the second native of Mongolia, and the fourth non-Japanese overall, to be promoted to the highest rank in sumo,...

 in 2007.

Naidangiin Tüvshinbayar
Naidangiin Tüvshinbayar
Naidangiin Tüvshinbayar is a Mongolian judoka.At the 2006 Asian Games he finished in joint fifth place in both the heavyweight division and the open weight class division....

 won Mongolia's first ever Olympic gold medal in the men's 100-kilogram class of judo.

Association football is also played in Mongolia. The Mongolia national football team
Mongolia national football team
The Mongolian national football team represents the republic of Mongolia in international football under the Mongolian Football Federation. Founded in 1959 the association was inactive between 1960 and 1998 when the team did not feature in any international fixtures...

 began playing again in the 1990s; it has yet to qualify for a major tournament. The Mongolia Premier League
Mongolia Premier League
Niislel League is the national football league of Mongolia, controlled by the Mongolian Football Federation.-Niislel League Clubs :*Erchim *Khangarid *Khoromkhon *Mazaalai...

 is the top domestic competition.

Several Mongolian women have excelled in pistol shooting
Shooting sports
A shooting sport is a competitive sport involving tests of proficiency using various types of guns such as firearms and airguns . Hunting is also a shooting sport, and indeed shooting live pigeons was an Olympic event...

: Otryadyn Gündegmaa
Otryadyn Gündegmaa
Otryadyn Gündegmaa , is an Olympic athlete who competes in sports shooting. She was born in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Gündegmaa competed in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympics, with her best finish being fifth place in the 1996 Games in 25m sporting pistol. In 2008 she won a silver medal for Mongolia...

 is a silver medalist of the 2008 Olympic Games, Munkhbayar Dorjsuren is a double world champion and Olympic bronze medal winner (now representing Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

), while Tsogbadrakhyn Mönkhzul is, as of May 2007, ranked third in the world in the 25 m Pistol
25 m Pistol
25 metre pistol, formerly and unofficially still often known as sport pistol, is one of the ISSF shooting events. It was devised as a women's event in the 1960s, based upon the rules of 25 metre center-fire pistol but shot with a .22-caliber sport pistol instead of the larger-caliber guns men used...

 event.

Architecture





The traditional Mongolian dwelling is known as a ger. In the past it was known by the Russian term yurt, but this is changing as the Mongolian term becomes better known among English-speaking countries. According to Mongolian artist and art critic N. Chultem, the ger was the basis for development of traditional Mongolian architecture. In the 16th and 17th centuries, lamaseries were built throughout the country. Many of them started as ger-temples. When they needed to be enlarged to accommodate the growing number of worshippers, the Mongolian architects used structures with 6 and 12 angles with pyramidal roofs to approximate to the round shape of a ger. Further enlargement led to a quadratic shape of the temples. The roofs were made in the shape of marquees. The trellis walls, roof poles and layers of felt were replaced by stone, brick, beams and planks, and became permanent.

Chultem distinguished three styles in traditional Mongolian architecture: Mongolian, Tibetan and Chinese
Chinese architecture
Chinese architecture refers to a style of architecture that has taken shape in East Asia over many centuries. The structural principles of Chinese architecture have remained largely unchanged, the main changes being only the decorative details...

 as well as combinations of the three. Among the first quadratic temples was Batu-Tsagaan (1654) designed by Zanabazar. An example of the ger-style architecture is the lamasery Dashi-Choiling in Ulaanbaatar. The temple Lavrin (18th century) in the Erdene Zuu lamasery was built in the Tibetan tradition. An example of a temple built in the Chinese tradition is the lamasery Choijing Lamiin Sume (1904), which is a museum today. The quadratic temple Tsogchin in lamasery Gandan in Ulan Bator is a combination of the Mongolian and Chinese tradition. The temple of Maitreya (disassembled in 1938) is an example of the Tibeto-Mongolian architecture. Dashi-Choiling monastery has commenced a project to restore the temple and the 80 feet (24.4 m) sculpture of Maitreya.

Music




The music of Mongolia is strongly influenced by nature, nomadism, shamanism, and also Tibetan Buddhism. The traditional music includes a variety of instruments, famously the morin khuur
Morin khuur
The morin khuur is a traditional Mongolian bowed stringed instrument. It is one of the most important musical instruments of the Mongol people, and is considered a symbol of the Mongolian nation. The morin khuur is one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity identified...

, and also the singing styles like the urtyn duu ("long song"), and throat-singing (khoomei). The "tsam" is danced to keep away evil spirits and it was seen the reminiscences of shamaning.

Popular music


The first rock band of Mongolia was Soyol Erdene
Soyol Erdene
- Name :"Soyol Erdene" is the name of a melodious popular song of 1920s which the band played on an electric guitar. The approximate meaning is "Cultural jewel".- History :...

, founded in the 1960s. Their Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

-like manner was severely criticized by the Communist censorship. It was followed by Mungunhurhree, Ineemseglel, Urgoo, etc., carving out the path for the genre in the harsh environment of Communist ideology. Mungunhurhree and Haranga
Haranga
Kharanga or Haranga is a hard rock / progressive rock band from Ulan Bator, Mongolia, established in 1989 as the first Mongolian hard rock group. It has been performing in Mongolia since the early 1990s. In 1997 the group recorded two CDs in Germany, sponsored by Daimler-Chrysler and Siemens...

 were to become the pioneers in the Mongolia's heavy rock music. Haranga approached its zenith in the late 1980s and 1990s.

The leader of Haranga, famous guitarist Enh-Manlai, generously helped the growth of the following generations of rockers. Among the followers of Haranga was the band Hurd
Hurd (band)
Hurd is a Mongolian heavy metal band. Formed in 1993 by drummer Dambyn Ganbayar in the wake of the democratic revolution in Mongolia, Hurd is considered the first band to have introduced the heavy metal genre into the mongolian music landscape...

. In the early 1990s, group Har-Chono put the beginning for Mongolia's folk-rock, merging elements of the Mongolian traditional "long song" into the genre.

By that time, the environment for development of artistic thought had become largely liberal thanks to the new democratic society in the country. The 1990s saw development of rap, techno, hip-hop and also boy bands and girl bands flourish at the turn of the millennium.

Media




Mongolian press began in 1920 with close ties to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 under the Mongolian Communist Party, with the establishment of the Unen ("Truth") newspaper similar to the Soviet Pravda
Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

. Until reforms in the 1990s, the government had strict control of the media and oversaw all publishing, in which no independent media was allowed. The dissolution of the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

 had a significant impact on Mongolia, where the one-party state
Single-party state
A single-party state, one-party system or single-party system is a type of party system government in which a single political party forms the government and no other parties are permitted to run candidates for election...

 grew into a multi-party
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

 democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

, and with that, media freedoms came to the forefront.

A new law on press freedom, drafted with help from international NGOs on August 28, 1998 and enacted on January 1, 1999, paved the way for media reforms. The Mongolian media currently consists of around 300 print and broadcasting outlets.

Since 2006, the media environment has been improving with the government debating a new Freedom of Information
Freedom of information
Freedom of information refers to the protection of the right to freedom of expression with regards to the Internet and information technology . Freedom of information may also concern censorship in an information technology context, i.e...

 Act, and the removal of any affiliation of media outlets with the government. Market reforms have led to an increasing number of people working in the media year on year, along with students at journalism schools. In its 2008 report, Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. It was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008...

 classified the media environment as 93rd out of 173, with 1st being most free.

Representations


Russian filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov
Nikita Mikhalkov
Nikita Sergeyevich Mikhalkov is a Soviet and Russian filmmaker, actor, and head of the Russian Cinematographers' Union.Mikhalkov was born in Moscow into the distinguished, artistic Mikhalkov family. His great grandfather was the imperial governor of Yaroslavl, whose mother was a Galitzine princess...

 made Urga
Urga (film)
Urga is a 1991 film by Russian director Nikita Mikhalkov. It is released in North America as Close to Eden. It depicts the friendship between a Russian truck driver and a Mongolian shepherd in Inner Mongolia...

(1992, known in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 as Close to Eden), receiving the Golden Lion
Golden Lion
Il Leone d’Oro is the highest prize given to a film at the Venice Film Festival. The prize was introduced in 1949 by the organizing committee and is now regarded as one of the film industry's most distinguished prizes...

 at the Venice Film Festival
Venice Film Festival
The Venice International Film Festival is the oldest international film festival in the world. Founded by Count Giuseppe Volpi in 1932 as the "Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica", the festival has since taken place every year in late August or early September on the island of the...

 and being nominated for the U.S. Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film is one of the Academy Awards of Merit, popularly known as the Oscars, handed out annually by the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences...

. The film, set in Mongolia's shepherding community and the modernizing world, is named for a long stick with a lasso on the end used to capture animals. Stuck in the ground outside the subject couple's yurt, the urga is the traditional warning signal that the couple within wishes privacy. The film was an international co-production
International co-production
An international co-production is a production where two or more different production companies are working together, for example in a film production...

 between companies based in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

.

Czech writer Petra Hůlová
Petra Hulová
Petra Hůlová is a Czech writer.-Education:Hůlová holds a degree in culturology from Charles University in Prague...

credited Urga with sparking her interest in Mongolia. Study in Mongolia in turn led to Hůlová's acclaimed first novel, Paměť mojí babičce (2002; "In memory of my grandmother"; published English translation, All This Belongs to Me). The novel is set in a multi-generational herding family and has five female narrators. For the author, the novel has as much or more to say about her own country and culture as it does about the Mongolian culture in which she had immersed herself.

Further reading


External links



Government Official Website of the Government Organizations of Mongolia
General information
Travel