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BRIEF INTRODUCTION ABOUT MONGOLIA

Background
History
Climate
Natural zones
Flora and Fauna
Population
Language
Government
Banknotes
Restaurants
Food
Tips for Travelers
Souvenirs
Naadam
Destinations
City tour

Background


                                          

The Mongols gained fame in the 13th century when under Chinggis Khan they conquered a huge Eurasian empire. After his death the empire was divided into several powerful Mongol states, but these broke apart in the 14th century. The Mongols eventually retired to their original steppe homelands and later came under Chinese rule. Mongolia won its independence in 1921 with Soviet backing. A Communist regime was installed in 1924. The ex-Communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) won elections in 1990 and 1992, but was defeated by the Democratic Union Coalition (DUC) in the 1996 parliamentary election. Since then, parliamentary elections returned the MPRP overwhelmingly to power in 2000 and produced a coalition government in 2004.

Location: Northern Asia, between China and Russia

Area: slightly smaller than Alaska

Climate: desert; continental (large daily and seasonal temperature ranges)

Ethnic Groups: Mongol (mostly Khalkha) 94.9%, Turkic (mostly Kazakh) 5%, other (including Chinese and Russian) 0.1% (2000)

Religions: Buddhist Lamaist 50%, Shamanist and Christian 6%, Muslim 4%, none 40% (2004)

Languages: Khalkha Mongol 90%, Turkic, Russian (1999)

Economy: Economic activity in Mongolia has traditionally been based on herding and agriculture. Mongolia has extensive mineral deposits. Copper, coal, molybdenum, tin, tungsten and gold account for a large part of industrial production. Soviet assistance, at its height one-third of GDP, disappeared almost overnight in 1990 and 1991 at the time of the dismantlement of the USSR. The following decade saw Mongolia endure both deep recession due to political inaction and natural disasters, as well as economic growth because of reform-embracing, free-market economics and extensive privatization of the formerly state-run economy. Severe winters and summer droughts in 2000-02 resulted in massive livestock die-off and zero or negative GDP growth. This was compounded by falling prices for Mongolia's primary sector exports and widespread opposition to privatization. Growth was 10.6% in 2004, 5.5% in 2005, and 7.5% in 2006, largely because of high copper prices and new gold production. Mongolia's economy continues to be heavily influenced by its neighbors. For example, Mongolia purchases 80% of its petroleum products and a substantial amount of electric power from Russia, leaving it vulnerable to price increases. China is Mongolia's chief export partner and a main source of the "shadow" or "grey" economy. The World Bank and other international financial institutions estimate the grey economy to be at least equal to that of the official economy, but the former's actual size is difficult to calculate since the money does not pass through the hands of tax authorities or the banking sector. Remittances from Mongolians working abroad both legally and illegally are sizable, and money laundering is a growing concern. Mongolia settled its $11 billion debt with Russia at the end of 2003 on favorable terms. Mongolia, which joined the World Trade Organization in 1997, seeks to expand its participation and integration into Asian regional economic and trade regimes.

Currency: Togrog/tugrik (MNT)