ABOUT Remains of Mongolia’s earliest inhabitants have been uncovered by archeological digs in the Gobi and other regions dating back nearly 750,000 years. In the second millennium B.C the nomadic tribe, known as the Hunnu, founded the first powerful Empire in northeastern Asia and Shanui (meaning King) governed it. Manzushir Monastery built in 1733 lies on the southern end of the Bogd Khaan National Park. At one time the monastery had 70 temples and more than 1,000 lamas. Unfortunately, the Manzushir monastery was destroyed in 1932 by the Communists. Nowadays, the only remaining temple has been restored to its former glory. A visitor to the area can enjoy the beautiful landscape, visit the museum displaying the original photos and artifacts of the temples and displays from the flora and fauna of the surrounding area touch the copper bowl that once fed 1,000 lamas, and take a hike to visit the paintings of Taras and deities on the rocks overlooking the valley. Until the beginning of the 20th century nomadic Mongolia did not have any museums as such. All the beauty of the country was open for both Mongols and foreigners. In 1924, the National Museum of Mongolian History was founded. It contains some of the oldest collections in the country. There are more than 40,000 archaeological, historical and ethnographic objects. Its ten galleries explain Mongolian history and culture from the dawn of humanity to present days. The rare esteemed items on display include the remains from the Hun period (the first Mongolian state) of 3rd century B.C to 1 st A.D. There are also intriguing signs of human remnants from the early Stone and Bronze Ages. Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, the third largest protected area in the country was established in 1993. The Gorkhi-Terelj National Park borders with the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area and receives the largest number of visitors due to its natural setting and proximity to Ulaanbatar, capital of Mongolia. Terelj is named after the Terelj river and is an area of endless slopes and valleys with high-eroded rock formations, mountains covered in dense forests, and carpets of perennial wild flowers and Edelweiss. There are opportunities for adventure activities such as rafting, horseback riding, hiking, skiing, camping, and mountain biking.
CLIMATE Hot summers and cold winters. Average summer temperature +20C, average winter temperature -23C, average rainfall 200-220 mm per annum, the sun shines for over 200 days a year. Winter lasts from November to late February, spring from March to May, and summer from June to September.
BEWARE Mongolia is relatively safe, but violent muggings and attacks do occur. Petty crime is common in Ulaanbaatar, particularly in markets or other crowded public places. Watch out for pickpockets. Also be wary of large groups of street children and teenagers, particularly at night, who sometimes harass pedestrians for money when they are entering and leaving vehicles, pubs and restaurants. Keep your passports, money and other valuables well secured. If your belongings are stolen, you should report it to the Pick-pocketing Department of the Police, phone +976-51-269 285. The police can provide a letter for insurance purposes. If you are the victim of a crime in Mongolia you should call the police on 102 or +976 102 from an international mobile phone. There should be someone available on this number who can speak to you in English. Travelling across the Mongolian countryside can be both difficult and potentially dangerous if you are not familiar with the terrain. Mongolia does not have an extensive road network. You may need to follow tracks in the dust, mud or sand and there will not necessarily be other traffic to follow if these give out. Global Positioning Systems do not always function reliably and there are areas of the country without mobile phone coverage. We recommend that you take back-up communications (e.g. a satellite phone) with you. You should also bear in mind that Mongolia experiences extremes of weather, from +35C in summer to -40C in winter. Even in summer, evenings can be cold because of the altitude and weather conditions can change without warning. There are long distances between settlements. You should therefore take appropriate provisions, including warm clothing, food and water if you are travelling outside the main urban areas.