MONGOLIA- THE LAND OF BLUE SKIES
Mongolia is in northern Asia between the Russian Republic and the People’s Republic of China; about a two and a half hour plane ride from Seoul, Korea, or Beijing, China.
The land area is over 1.5 million square km, slightly smaller than Alaska, over twice the size of Texas and three times the size of France.
Population is approximately 2.9 million as of 2010.
Mongolia has the world’s lowest population density at only 1.4 people per square km.
Currency is the togrog; the exchange rate is around 1300 to the dollar.
The country is divided into 21 aimags (counties or provinces) served by soum centers (county seats).
It is one of the highest elevation countries in the world, averaging around 1580m.
The major ethnic group is the Kalkha Mongols at almost 95%; Other ethnic minorities include Turkic peoples (mostly Kazakh), 5%: and other .1%.
Literacy is almost 98%.
42% of the population are herders or working in agriculture.
50% are Buddhists (Tibetan); Tengerist/Shamanist or Christian, 6%; Muslim, 4%; none, 40%.
1724 km of paved road; 47,526 km of unpaved road.
There are almost 270,000 internet users and 272 internet hosts.
There are 557,200 cell phones.
About half the population lives in gers (known in other countries as “yurts”, a Russian word of turkic origin).
The average salary in Ulaanbaatar is $100 a month and rising.
Other than the tracks along the railroad and some areas surrounding the capital, Ulaanbaatar, the land is open and unfenced.
Yearly temperatures range from over 100F in the Gobi in the summer to -40F in the winter.
Mongolia has 260 days of sunshine a year, which is why the Mongols call their home “The Land of Blue Skies”.
This information is from the CIA World Factbook and the Lonely Planet Guide: Mongolia
Environment and Wildlife
While it certainly has environmental issues that need to be addressed, Mongolia has, within its borders some of the largest areas of unspoiled land left in Asia.
Khovsgol Nur, in northern Mongolia, the second oldest lake in the world contains 2% of the world’s fresh water (and 65% of Mongolia’s).