Mongolia is characterized by vast plateaus; 80% of the area is at an altitude
of over 1000 m. To the west and north, the plateau is replaced by mountain
ranges; furthest to the west is the 1600 km long Altai Chain (Mönh Hairhan 4200
m), east of it Hangai (up to 3460 m) and NE of the capital Ulan Bator Henti
(2750 m). Landets gnsntl. altitude is 1580 masl Both the mountain slopes and
large parts of central Mongolia are covered with grass. To the south alter the
natural vegetation gradually to the desert, the Gobi Desert, which covers 1/3 of
the territory. In large areas, the soil is characterized by permafrost,
which here has its southernmost continuous distribution in Asia.
The climate is extremely continental with long winters; more than
six months have average temperatures below freezing. In the short summers the
temperature is 17-23 °C on average. and can in the Gobi Desert get above 30
°. The coldest months have average temperatures of −18 °C to −26 °C, and
temperatures of −50 °C occur regularly. Precipitation is sparse everywhere and
decreases to the south. I gnsn. the country gets 250-500 mm a year, mostly in
the summer. The short growing season and the low rainfall mean that less than 1%
of the area is cultivated.
The country has many lakes, several of which are large, including Hövsgöl
Nuur and Uvs Nuur. These and available water resources in general are found
especially in the northern part of the country. A large part of the area is
drained by Selenga, which runs north to Lake Baikal. Other rivers end up as
salt lakes in the Gobi. Only 1/3 of Mongolia has
sufficient water; however, deep water wells can be used in some areas.
Mongolia has a magnificent and partly original nature. The significant forest
areas to the north (a total of 9% of the country's area) with especially
Siberian larch are habitats for wolf, snow leopard, sable and bear. The
lakes contain many species of fish and birds. The southern Gobi Desert has as
one of the few places in the world wild camels.
Business and economics
Mongolia was completed by early 1960 a strong industrialization in close
cooperation with the Soviet Union, and the industrial sector contributed in 1990
with 1/3 of GDP. The industry is found mainly in the
three largest cities, Ulan Bator, Darhan and Erdenet, all in the northern,
central part of the country. Part of the industry is based on the country's
significant mineral deposits, especially coal, copper and molybdenum, while
agriculture provides raw materials for textile and food production.
In terms of employment is agriculture, however, still more
important with 1/3 of the workforce. With the collapse
of communism, significant subsidies from the Soviet Union, which in the 1980's
accounted for up to 30% of GDP, disappeared, and the economic collapse of
traditional markets exacerbated the ensuing crisis. In this situation,
agriculture became increasingly important, not least the dominant livestock
sector. In 1995, there were 3.3 million in the country. PCS. cattle, 13.7
million. sheep, 8.5 million. goats and 2.1 million. horses; a total of 12 pets
per. residents, which is surpassed only by New Zealand. The large team of horses,
approximately one horse per residents, reflects nomadic life with extensive animal
husbandry on the vast grasslands.
In Mongolia very few products are manufactured, the country has a remote
location and is dependent on a few trading countries. The problems are
exacerbated by poorly developed infrastructure, and this vulnerability has meant
that the crisis of the 1990's spread to most of the modern sector.
Mongolia has only one railway, the long side railway on the Trans-Siberian
Railway from Ulan-Ude in Russia over Ulan Bator to Beijing. A siding connects
the mining town of Erdenet with Darhan on the track. The country's only paved
road follows the railway. The rest of the road network of dirt and gravel roads
is sometimes impassable during heavy rain and during the spring snowmelt.
Mongolia has a population growth of 1.46% per year; The population doubled in
1952-84, but the country has 1.8 residents per capita. km2 still
one of the most sparsely populated in the world. Ethnically, the population is
homogeneous. 75% are Khalkha Mongols, and another 15% belong to other
Mongolian peoples. In addition, there are small minorities of Kazakhs,
Derbits and Buryats. There are approximately 7 mio. ethnic Mongols in
the world; most live in China.
Do you know how many people there are in Mongolia? Check this site to see
population pyramid and resident density about this country.
In the 1970's and 1980's, Mongolia had a well-developed social, health and
school system. The average life expectancy is over 65 years (1995), and in 1990
it was claimed that over 90% could read and write, which was reduced during the
1990's due to sharply declining appropriations for the education system and the
use of child labor in the now privatized livestock herds.
Mongolia - language
The official language is khalkha, which is the mother tongue of
approximately 3/4 of the population. Other Mongolian languages
and dialects, of which the largest is oiratisk and burjatisk,
spoken by a total of approximately 15%. In the western part of the country, the
Turkish language is spoken Kazakh by approximately 180,000 (2001). The first
foreign language is Russian.
Folk Religion, Shamanism and Buddhism are the predominant currents in
Mongolian religion, while Christianity and Islam have always played a minor
role. The folk religion was practiced individually or in small groups without an
established clergy or other religious experts. In sources dating back to the
1200's, the worship of Heaven as the supreme deity is central to the folk
religion. All forces on Earth and in the Universe are subject to the heavenly
deity. Furthermore, the worship of ancestors and special guardian spirits is of
great importance in the folk religion. Since the 1500's. many folk religious
prayer forms have been recorded.
Shamanism, which at times almost had the character of a state religion, was
the predominant form of religion within the broad Mongolian population until the
1500's. The shaman is the community's religious specialist. He mediates, usually
in a state of ecstasy, the contact between humans and the world of the gods and
spirits. Shamans heal the sick. He prays to gods and spirits about
fertility, good health and prosperity. With its spread among the Mongols,
Buddhism to some extent supplanted shamanism, which, however, lived on mixed
with folk religious and Buddhist elements. After the 1921-24 revolution,
shamanism was banned.
The Mongols came into contact with the Tibetan form of Buddhism in the
1200's. Khubilai Khan tried to spread Buddhism in his kingdom by to build
Buddhist monasteries in Mongolia, but the attempt failed. In the middle of the
1500's. began a new missionary effort from Buddhist monks, supported by
Altan Khan (d. 1583). This led to the construction of numerous monasteries
and translations of the sacred texts from Tibetan and Sanskrit to
Mongolian. Within half a century, the majority of Mongols became
Buddhists; Mongolian Buddhism is a branch of the Tibetan Gelug-sect. Under
communist rule in Mongolia, the Buddhist monastic order was persecuted, and more
than 700 monasteries and temples were closed or destroyed; a very large number
of llamas and monks were executed. After the fall of communism, the official
position on Buddhism is considerably more liberal.