Located in the northern hemisphere, Mongolia is a country part of North-Eastern Asia (46°N - 105°E). Edged in the north by the Russian Federation, with which it shares 3,485 km of borders, this country is a neighbour, in the south, of the Popular Republic of China, claiming 4,677 km of common frontiers. Landlocked between these two giants, the Mongolian state has no outlet to the sea.
With a land surface approaching 1,550,000 km², the Mongolian territory is administratively divided in 21 "Aimags", most of them created during the establishment of the Mongolian state in the 1930-40s.
The Mongol climate is of the hypercontinental type. Pretty warm in summer, with an average temperature of 20°c, the latter reaches extremes in winter time, thermometer easily dropping down to -30/-40°c.
Very scarce precipitations, estimated at 280mm/y on an annually basis of 22 days in average, coupled with an average period of sunshine reaching 255 days/y, generates a general environment of a half-desert type.
The 2003 estimation states a Mongolian population of 2,596,000 people. Considering the country surface, the population density is then 1.7 p/km². The latter falls to 0.2p/km² when the urban population (57%) is dropped.
Witnessing an alphabetisation rate of 97%, the Mongolian youth presents a life expectancy of 65 years (M: 62/W: 69). In 2003, the annual population growth was about 1.1% when the fertility rate was 2.4 children per woman.
With an equal rate of 59%, the economic dependency rate of Mongolia steps close to the French one (53%).
Mainly populated by Khalkas (90%) and Kazakhs (5%), the Mongolian Republic also involves Russians (0.17%), Warats (8.4%), Chinese (1.4%), Tuvins (1.3%), Wigurs (0.4%), Dakhats (0.1%) and Tsataans (0.04%).
The Mongolian Republic covers only partially the Mongolising Space.
If the majority of Mongols and parented peoples are located in North-Eastern Asia, Europe shelters the Kalmuks, the only Buddhist people in Europe. Besides, one may notice the Hazaras minority living in Afghanistan, long-lastingly threatened to genocide by the Taliban...
The official flag of Mongolia was adopted by the establishment of the state in 1940. Like any flag, this one shows his load of symbols. The RED indeed stands for FREEDOM and the BLUE for the SKY. The SOYOMBO symbol (on the left-hand side of the flag) is described hereafter.
The Mongolian independence, proclaimed on 11th July 1921, will be acknowledged by China on 20th October 1945. Taken on in 1940, the Mongolian flag was displaying the communist star at the top of the Soyombo. The latter has then been removed after the 1992 revolution, the original triple flame getting back its fair place instead.
Designed in 1686 by Zanabazar, a famous Mongol monk and scholar, the Soyombo symbolizes the Mongolian independence. Already in use in the XVIIth century on banners during battles against the Chinese, it will be supplemented onto the national flag in 1940.
The SOYOMBO symbol can be broken down in different sub-symbols. Fringing the Yin-Yang sign, which retains here all of his usual symbolism, there are several bars. The superior and inferior horizontal bars signify stability, justice and honesty. Top-based triangles, standing for spears, embody the demise and death of the enemy. They are framed by two vertical bars, which ornaments represent a fortress, reminding Mongols that Unity shapes the walls of the latter. Moon (crescent) and sun (circle) refer to Buddhism and cover up the wholesome. The three-branch flame at the top of this structure reminds Mongols that revival, family, past, present and future life (the 3 flames) may exist only if leaning on the virtues symbolised beneath
The Mongolian official currency is the TUGRUK, divided into 100 Mongo. Mongo are unlikely to be found in use. Since their value is really low, coins have disappeared. The average exchange rate of the Tugruk is 1 Eur=1,500 T
Tsagaan Saar: the Mongol New Year’s Day is celebrated in February. Its exact date is bond to the lunar calendar.
Nadaam: the National Day occurs on 11th July. It finds its origins in the ancient imperial past.
Women’s Day: 8th March - Children’s Day: 1st June - Independence Day: 26th December
Capital city: UlaanBaatar
Electrical current: 220 V / 50 Hz - Internet domain: mn - Time Zone: GMT + 7 - Telephone prenumber: 976 - Metric system
Credit card, money exchange: difficulties are gradually decreasing. In UlaanBaatar, shopping centres and banks accept it. In the steppe and other towns, do not even think of it…
Tourist visa: mandatory for entrance in Mongolia, even for staying less than 30 days. Your passport mustn’t expire less than 6 months before your return trip. Fill in and sign the visa application form + photography + transport certificate + certificate for repatriation on medical grounds . Average delivery time: 8 days. Check out prices and procedures at the Mongolian embassy in your residing country.
WARNING: you are not allowed to import drugs, weapons, more than 600 cigarettes, more than 2 bottles of spirits, more than 3 flasks of perfume. You are not allowed to export antiquities, furs except upon legal authorisation, more than 2 bottles of alcohol.
WARNING: when leaving, do not forget the airport tax: USD 12.-.
It's a common trap to overburden one's luggage with useless kit and caboodle or a wardrobe sized out of reason.
Basically, and whatever the country you're travelling in, dress in a way not to shock or offend the locals. Mongols take care of their dress, let's do the same.
To dress in winter times, remember that a windless -15°C in Mongolia (land of low hygrometry) is rather more manageable than +10°C in Brittany (land of high hygrometry). Any equipment must be very warm, not too tight and leave you free from sweating. In order to face the cold, like -30°C or such, bear in mind the following two lines:
A wet cat's a frozen cat
Podgy bodies aren't going to warm up
Travelling shouldn't be a bit of a bummer. So take foremost care of your equipment
On a journey, unfitting equipment or forgotten little cram may make your trip go really bad. On that topic, safety and quality should always prevail. Check up your equipment and if necessary, repair or merely replace any defective part.