FC: Mongolia | 2011
1: "If my body dies, let my body die, but do not let my country die" - Genghis Khan | Genghis Khan was born as a humble nomad in a sparse land, but after he died his empire became the largest contiguous empire in history. His given name was Temujin, and "Genghis Khan" is a title which translates as 'Supreme Conquerer'. Even though he was illiterate, he decreed the adoption of the Uyghur script as the Mongol Empire's writing system. He also promoted religious tolerance in the Mongol Empire, and created a unified empire from the nomadic tribes of northeast Asia. Present-day Mongolians regard him as the founding father of Mongolia. Today Mongolia is only a shadow of the empire it once was, but is a nation in transition. Although a high percentage of its 2.7 million population are still nomadic, the land contains hidden riches of gold, oil, coal and other minerals which will likely mark the end of the nomadic lifestyle. Mongolia is also one of only three democracies in Asia. I am happy we had the opportunity to see this land and meet the people before Mongolia is changed forever. I only hope my images captured the essence of the vanishing culture and landscapes that may soon be crossed by highways and modern cities.
2: Ulaan Baatar - capital of Mongolia - the modern among the ancient.
5: “In the space of seven years I have succeeded in accomplishing a great work and uniting the whole world in one Empire.” - Genghis Khan | The statue of Sukh Janjin lies on the spot where his horse urinated during a rally on July 8, 1921. Sukh Janjin's horse urinating was seen as a good omen. He was a famous Montolian general that successfully fought the Chinese.
6: “I will rule them by fixed laws" - Genghis Khan
7: A little heaven on earth...
10: Our accommodations were in Ger camps and each one had a warm welcome.
11: Typical tourist ger camp.
12: Monument at Karakorum depicting the current country of Mongolia (in blue) compared to the ancient empire.
14: The Mongolians conquered and ruled by horseback and they are still a strong horse based society with over 3 million horses in the country. They learn to ride by the age of five.
16: The Thaki or Przewalski's wild horse is the only last true wild horse in the world. Saved from extinction in the 1960s, they now roam the plains of Mongolia once again.
18: Contortionists are a Mongolian art form- and we were fortunate to visit this contortionist school we in Ullaan Bataar.
20: The horse-head fiddle (morin khuur) is the native musical instrument that has two strings and is played with a bow instead of being plucked.
21: The sands of the Gobi were part of the silk road and camel riders still live in the desert.
23: We found the Mongolian people to be open and friendly despite the difficulty in earning a living in this barren land. “Perhaps my children will live in stone houses and walled towns – Not I” - Genghis Khan.
24: Hoid Tsenkheriin" of Mankhan soum in Khovd aimag is a very popular hollow cave because of its ancient petroglyphs which have been dated to 17,000 – 22,000 years ago
25: The Flaming Cliffs site, really Bayanzag, was given this name by American paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews, who visited in the 1920s. The area is most famous for yielding the first discovery of dinosaur eggs.
26: The diversity of the Mongolians ranges from the Kazakh eagle hunters in the the far northwestern end of the country...
27: ... to the reindeer herders which are the most remote nomadic people on earth right up near the border of Siberia in Russia.
28: The Mongolians are very strong animal based culture and a popular saying is "grass is for animals, meat is for people". The Mongolians eat the meat and drink the milk from horses, yaks, camels and sheep.
29: Ancient deerstones rise from the Gobi plains and date back to the bronze age. Their use is unknown and have been found as grave markers and probable use during ancient rituals.