Mongolia is located in landlocked plateau of Central Asia between China and Russia, covering an area of 1,566,500 square km. It stretches 2392 km from east to west and 1259 km from north to south. Total length of boundary is 8158km. Mongolia is one of the world’s 39 countries has no sea outlet. The average altitude is 1580 m above sea level. The lowest point is Huh Nuur Depression (560 m above sea level) in the north east of the country and the highest point is 4374 m elevated Huiten peak of majestic, snow capped Altai Mountains in far west. 80 % of the total territory is 1000 m above sea level. The capital Ulaanbaatar city lies 1380 m above sea level.
Mongolia has population of 2.7 million people. Population consists of 24 different ethnic groups both Mongol and Turkic origin. 86% of which is Halha Mongols, 6% Kazakh (Muslims) and rest are others. Average population density is one person for every 0.5 sq.km of area. 60% of the population is under age of 35. Average life expectancy is just over 65 years.
Continental with little precipitation (220mm a year) and it has four clearly distinctive seasons; summer is short and hot, autumn enjoys sunlight, a little bit chilly on some days, but very colorful, winter is long and cold, but beautiful with its shining snow covers, spring is windy. Winter is not as cold as transmitted by western media about Mongolian weather. Average winter temperature -26 Celsius degree while summer temperature +26 degree. The hottest days, heats more than 32 degree continues only 10 days in July and coldest days that reach -32 degree can happen 10 -15 days in some winter. However, the hottest day reached 42 while the coldest day reached -50 degree.
Mongolian language belongs to Ural Altaic language family. Official language is Mongolian. 94 % of the population speaks in Mongolia, but some of the ethnic groups speak with dialect. Kazakh people (6% of the population) speak in Turkish.
Traditionally Mongolians practice Shamanism that worships blue sky and nature. During the 16th -17th centuries, Buddhism introduced Mongolia widely. Before Mongolian People’s Revolution of the 1921, 40 % of Mongolian male population was monks. Since the 1930s it was prohibited to worship Buddhism, but people were still faithful in their mind. There were 700 Buddhist monasteries in Mongolia, but during the social purge of the 1930, more than 560 of the 700 monasteries were destroyed. More than 120 monasteries could remain anyway but not complete.
Since Democracy of the 1990’s, the monasteries were reopened and people felt freedom of making speech and worship.
Nowadays, 70% of Mongolian population worship Buddhism. Two sects of the four sects of the Buddhism were introduced Mongolia; the Yellow Hat Sect and the Red Sect. In Mongolia, people practice the Yellow Hat Sect more. Mongolian Buddhism is different from Tibetan Buddhism. It has connected and mixed with traditional way of life of Mongolian people. Ethnic minority, the Kazakh people practice Islam. Christianity has been introducing widely in modern time. Number of people worshipping Shamanism is increasing year by year.
Before 1921, 99% of the population did not write and red in Mongolian script. That time, only males studied in religious schools. Since 1921, people started to study traditional “Uigur” script, which is written from up to down vertically. Since middle of the 20th Century, Mongolians adopted Cyrillic from Russia, but Mongolians use two more vowels. During The Socialist time, there were no private universities and primary schools. All the universities, schools and kindergartens were run by the state and the education were free. Children used to start secondary at age of 8 and studied for 10 years. Since 2007, children are studying for 11 years in secondary school. Since 2009, children started to enroll primary schools when they are 6 years. Now, state secondary schools and kindergartens are free. Average tuition for state and private institutes and colleges is approximately 750-1150 USD a year. Only 5% of adults can’t read and write now.
Mongolia has rich heritage of traditional healing including using medicinal plants, wild and domesticated animal organs, mare and goat milk, acupuncture and cauterization. However, nowadays people prefer first see a doctor and get accurate medicinal treatment. Now there are over 400 private and state clinics, hospitals. Even though Mongolian hospitals considered that not equipped as good as developed countries with tools for diagnostics. Some private clinics equipped with good tools for diagnostics. If you are planning to travel Mongolia, it is a good idea to bear medicines best suit you.
Mongolian territory divided into a capital city and 21 provinces. The provinces are subdivided into 333 sums, sums into bags or hamlets. Provinces have provincial center cities and sums have sum center towns.
Socialist regime continued from at the beginning 1990s to 1990. Around 1989, communism started to fall elsewhere. In 1990, some youths formed Democratic Union and organized hunger strike at the central square demanding Mongolian People’s Republic Party to receive democracy. This demand made Mongolian People’s Republic Party to receive what they demanded. MPRP took 60% of all vote by first multi-party election held in 1990. In 1991, Mongolia changed into Democratic system. Mongolia is parliamentary democratic with president. Both parliament/ State Great Hural members and the president directly elected by the public and serves for four years term. The prime minister is appointed by State Great Hural (meeting). State Great Hural is a legislative organization consists of 76 members.
Mongolian post system originated from the 13th century. That time, there were areas named “Urtuu” or “Station” that located in distances of 30 km to one another. 30 km is a distance Mongolian horse can gallop without stop. After riding 30 km, the mail carrier used to change his horse and went further. Today people use cell phones and internet communication even in the remote areas more than post offices in the cities. However, you can be served by post office in Ulaanbaatar, in provincial centers and in sum centers.
International code of Mongolia is 976, Code of Ulaanbaatar city is11.
About media, during socialist time there were only state owned radio and TV channel. News medium were limited by several number. Today people receiving 1 state owned radio and TV channel, over 20 private TV channels, over 30 FM radios and numerous foreign channels.