Mongolia, with a population of approximately 3 million people, is the 18th biggest and most sparsely populated completely independent nation in the world, covering 1,564,116 square kilometers (603,909 square miles). Additionally, it is the world’s second-largest landlocked nation. The nation has relatively little arable land, since the majority of its territory is covered by grassland steppe, surrounded by mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south. Ulaanbaatar, the country’s capital and biggest city, is home to about 45% of the population.
Around 30% of the population is nomadic or semi-nomadic; horse culture is ingrained. Buddhists make up the lion’s share of its population. The second biggest category is the non-religious. Among ethnic Kazakhs, Islam is the predominant religion. Although the majority of the state’s inhabitants are Mongols, the nation is also home to Kazakhs, Tuvans, and other ethnicities, particularly in the west. Mongolia joined the World Trade Organization in 1997 and is actively seeking membership in regional economic and trade organizations.
Various nomadic empires have reigned over what is now Mongolia, notably the Xiongnu, the Xianbei, the Rouran, and the Turkic Khaganate. Genghis Khan established the Mongol Empire in 1206, which grew to be the world’s biggest continuous land empire. Kublai Khan, his grandson, invaded China and established the Yuan dynasty. After the Yuan collapsed, the Mongols returned to Mongolia and resumed their previous pattern of factional warfare, with the exception of the eras of Dayan Khan and Tumen Zasagt Khan.
Tibetan Buddhism expanded across Mongolia in the 16th century, aided by the Manchu-founded Qing dynasty, which annexed the nation in the 17th century. By the early 1900s, Buddhist monks accounted for almost one-third of the adult male population. Mongolia proclaimed independence from the Qing dynasty in 1911 and de facto independence from the Republic of China in 1921. Shortly thereafter, the nation was annexed by the Soviet Union, which had helped in the country’s independence from China. Mongolian People’s Republic was established as a Soviet satellite state in 1924. Mongolia had its own peaceful democratic revolution in early 1990, after the 1989 anti-Communist uprisings. This resulted in the establishment of a multi-party system, the adoption of a new constitution in 1992, and the transition to a market economy.
Mongolia has the lowest population density of any independent country, with only 1.7 people per square kilometer, and it is this vast and majestic emptiness that is the country’s enduring appeal, bringing the traveller into close communion with nature and its nomadic inhabitants. Mongolia is a landlocked country sandwiched between China and Russia. With good reason, the country is known as the “Land of Blue Skies.” Each year, the sun is said to shine for about 250 days. Winters are bitterly cold, with temperatures as low as -40°C in some areas. The weather in the summer varies from region to region, but is generally hot, thanks to the diverse terrain, which ranges from desert to verdant mountains. This time of year is marked by many rains in some areas outside of the Gobi desert, and it can get quite cool at night.