Plan a Visit to Mongolia
Mongolia is a special tourist destination, different from more popular resorts, whereto most well-trodden paths lead. The nature, almost untouched by human activity, is the main wealth of this country. That is why the followers of eco-tourism flock to Mongolia in great numbers. The capital of the country, Ulan Bator, hosts the largest and richest monasteries visited by numerous pilgrims. Near the city, there is Bogda Ula (Holy Mountain) mountain reserve. To the west of the capital, on the bank of the Orkhon river, there are excavations of Karakorum, the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire. Nearby is the first in Northern Mongolia and one of the largest Buddhist monasteries, built in the sixteenth century. It has become a famous museum now.
North-west of Har-Horin province, there have been discovered rock paintings of the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Rock painting can be found in some river canyons, and in South Gobi Desert there are giant Paleolithic workshops. Among the natural attractions, the most attractive one is the mighty waterfall in the upper reaches of the Orkhon river. Fossil animals of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods can be found in Gobi Desert. The flora of the Mongolian steppes is relatively poor and monotonous, but among the rare species of fauna one can mention Mongolian antelope, wild camel, and desert bear. Rivers are exceptionally rich in fish, which makes the country very attractive for sport fishing.
Ulan Bator was founded in 1639 and is a political, commercial and cultural center of the country. The city can safely be called 'the most unusual capital of Asia.' The capital's residents can be living in a yurt in the middle of the city. They often saddle a horse right at the threshold of their house to go to work. And yet, this is a very modern city that is home to a quarter of the population of the state and has its own charm and character.
The main attractions of the capital are the World Peace Bell in central square, the monument and the mausoleum of Sukhbaatar (the national hero, who declared Mongolia's independence from China), the Winter Palace which belonged to the last Mongolian emperor, Gandan Monastery, the largest one in the country, the Museum of Buddhist art, Parliament House and the Palace of Culture. The rich history of the country is reflected in many museums of the capital, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Natural History, where one of the world's best collections of dinosaur bones is stored, the National History Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts with a rich collection of handicrafts, the National Museum of Toys, and many others.
The vicinity of Ulan Bator are no less amusing. For instance, there is a beautiful valley with the Monastery of Manzushir in Dulun-Boldog village. Bogda Ula mountain is the birthplace of Genghis Khan, where one can see the monument to the great conqueror and founder of the Mongol Empire. Special attention should be given to Lake Hovsgol, the deepest lake in Central Asia. It offers luxurious opportunities for fishing, and the surrounding woods are inhabited by many wild animals. This area is very picturesque and is often called the 'Mongolian Switzerland'.
The ruins of Karakorum remember the times when it used to be the capital of the Mongol Empire. But only some attractions survived here, including the palace of Ogedei Khan, the remnants of stone walls, artisan quarters, numerous religious buildings, and Buddhist monasteries.