LONELY PLANET names MONGOLIA its #1 country to visit in 2024 followed by Chile in the fourth position. Lonely Planet says it has awarded Mongolia the gold medal as its ideal for seekers of ‘wide-open spaces, adventures and culture’. Its capital, Ulaanbaatar, is also ‘teeming with people and unique attractions’. Lonely Planet adds: ‘Squeezed between Russia and China, Mongolia seems hard to reach given recent geopolitical events in its two large neighbours. But Mongolia’s doors are open and a tourism campaign has eased visa restrictions through 2025.’ See the article below.
Via: RacingThePlanet

Mongolian Gers are Becoming an Important Non-Mining Export Product

The Mongolian gers have been dwellings suited to the nomadic lifestyle of Central Asian nomads for thousands of years. Herodotus, who lived in Greece in 484 – 424 BC and is considered the first historian of the world, recorded that the Central Asia nomadic Scythians lived in yurt-like round homes 200 years before his age. There are multiple variations of yurts, such as Mongolian, Kazakh, and Kyrgyz, but Mongolian gers are more suitable for living in extremely cold climates.   

While being portable and affordable, Mongolian gers allow for comfortable living with good air circulation and insulation from heat and cold as well as noise. These qualities of gers are increasingly appreciated by people living in other countries. Pope Francis, who visited Mongolia in September 2023, mentioned Mongolian gers many times in his speeches, noting that gers are low-cost and environmentally friendly homes. There are an increasing number of yurt makers in other countries, for example, in the United States and Australia, adopting similar structural designs but using modern, non-natural materials.

Mongolian gers are now being exported to more than 30 countries around the world. People use gers for many purposes, including dwelling in off-grid locations, yoga and art studios, and glamping. In Mongolia, over twenty companies regularly make and export gers, and they are becoming one of the stable non-mining export products of Mongolia, together with cashmere and other products of animal origin. However, currently, most local producers are not able to deliver to foreign markets on their own and rely on foreign nationals to act as intermediaries between the producer and the customer. A major portion of the value-added from the sale of gers is obtained by these middlemen. Also, there are risks of a declining reputation of gers among foreign customers due to the low quality of gers made by some local producers. Natural materials such as felt and cotton fabrics that have been traditionally used in gers do not always withstand the humid and hot climate of many foreign countries.  Ashid Ger LLC, based in Ulaanbaatar, is the only company that sells gers directly to customers in major markets of the U.S., Australia, and Europe through its website. The director of the company, G. Enkhtuvshin, said selling directly to foreign customers without middlemen enables them to make far better quality gers using high-quality materials and employing skilled craftsmen, thus offering good value for money to its customers. He said the company’s mission is to protect the reputation of gers in foreign markets and contribute to increasing the popularity of Mongolian gers among foreign customers. via: montsame agancy.

For its 11th year, The Culture Naadam will bring new festive spirit to the sweeping Hui Doloon Hudag Valley on July 11 and 12.

“Culture Naadam” is a multi-stakeholder project involving heritage practitioners, artisans, artists, state parties, educational institutes, civil society organizations, community-based organizations, and private businesses, initiated by METAA Planning and Consulting Company (Korea), with a goal to promote Mongolia’s nomadic culture, custom traditions to local and international audiences and to support commu­nity involvement in cultural and creative activities.

Each year Kazakh hunters in Bayan-Ulgii province join the renowned Golden Eagle festival with their trained Golden Eagles, known as Berkut (Burged in Mongolian), to enter them into competitions testing speed, agility, and accuracy. Ceremonies, dance performances, traditional Kazakh games, a parade in the provincial capital’s city square, and a Kazakh play in honor of the hunters and their eagles.
Naadam is a Mongolian holiday that takes place between the 11th and 13th of July annually and is celebrated throughout the entire country with great fanfare.“Naadam” in Mongolian means “games,” which makes sense since the holiday is primarily centered on three Mongolian pastimes: wrestling, horse racing, and archery. Naadam is sometimes called “Eriin Gurvan Naadam,” meaning “the Three Games of Men.” In recent times, however, women have also participated in horse racing and archery, though not yet in wrestling.

Chinggis Khaan was not a conqueror who took over the world, but a man of honor who united all the Mongolians who were scattered, strengthened the nomadic state, brought law and order, implemented cultural and economical reforms, and set the beginning of the great rise of Mongolians. Mongolians revere his wisdom rather than his conquests. Nowadays, you can see many tributes to Chinggis Khaan, a man of the millennium, in Ulaanbaatar.