Mongolia – 15 days ~ 4500 km
Interesting for us:
- Altai Tavan Bogd National Park – is a beautiful area surrounding 3 large fresh water lakes. Khurgan Nuur and Khoten Nuur are attached by a small channel with a many small creeks flowing into the lakes from surrounding mountains. Two of these creeks form waterfalls of 7 to 10 m in height. A small bridge crosses the channel. These lakes are full of fish and many species of birds.
- Tolbo Lake – The lake was the site of the Battle of Tolbo Lake (1921) during the Russian Civil War where Bolsheviks and Mongolian allies defeated an army of White Russians.
- Elsen Tasarakhai sand dunes – sand dunes lost in the middle of a mountainous area. They’re called Elsen Tasarkhai, ”the sand fracture”, and extend on 80 kilometres in the South of the Khögnö Khan National Park. These dunes run along the Tarna River that is borded with willow trees. They are also called Mongol Els, ”Mongolian sand”, or Khögnö Tarniin Els.
- Khorgo Volcano – is an extinct crater of a volcano, which is responsible for the birth of the lake as the lava blocked the flow of a river, creating a natural dam. It is located at an altitude of 2200 meters, its slopes are covered with basalt and its crater forms an almost perfect cone of 200 meters in diameter and 100 meters deep. Its last eruption was 8000 years ago and it was the last active volcano in Mongolia.
- Kharakhorin (Erdene Zuu monastery) – Genghis Khan’s legendary city was founded in 1220 in the Orkhon Valley, on the Silk Road. In 1235, his son Ogoodei built the city and raised around it a surrounding wall. The Mongolian Empire was governed from this city, until Khubilai Khan settled the capital in Beijing.
Kharkhorin was a political, economic, administrative and religious centre, and one of the largest forum of civilizations. From the city stones was erected the Erdene Zuu monastery which is believed to be the earliest surviving Buddhist monastery in Mongolia.
Orkhon Waterfall (Orkhon valley) – was formed 20.000 years ago after a unique combination of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In the heart of summer, their flow is very important, but they can dry up during spring. It is the lngest river in Mongolia and it’s on the UNESCO heritage list as representing evolution of nomadic pastoral traditions spanning more than two millennia.
- Bayanzag Red Sand Cliffs – better known as “flaming cliffs” due to their colours ochre and red. This plain has many sedimentary sand cliffs and is most famous for yielding the first discovery of dinosaur eggs. Other finds in the area include specimens of Velociraptor.
- Khongor Sand Dunes – are the most important sand mass of Gobi Gurvan Saïkhan National Park. Its area is more than 900 square kilometres. It’s one of the largest sandy areas of Mongolia.
- Khermen Tsav – means “wall” and Tsav means “fissure”. Thousand of years of erosion formed this majestic canyon, in which rocks are balanced 30 metres above ground. The canyon stretches on 250 square kilometres and is 200 metres deep, but between the lowest point and the highest one, there is a difference in height of 1000 metres.
- Yol Am canyon – Yol Canyon forms a gorge that is so deep and so narrow, that only two persons can pass in some places. The water forms four small waterfalls. Although the sun shines a lot in this region, the canyon remains dark, so that in the bottom, a part of the river remains nearly all year long covered by a thick layer of ice.
- Ulan Bataar – (literally “Red Hero”), is the capitaland largest city of Mongolia. The city was founded in 1639 as a nomadic Buddhist monastic centre. In 1778, it settled permanently at its present location, the junction of the Tuul and Selbe rivers.
- Amarbayasgalant monastery – or the “Monastery of Tranquil Felicity”, is one of the three largest Buddhist monastic centers in Mongolia. It was one of the very few monasteries to have partly escaped destruction during the Stalinist purges of 1937, after which only the buildings of the central section remained. Many of the monks were executed by the country’s Communist regime and the monastery’s artifacts, including thangkas, statues, and manuscripts were looted, although some were hidden until more fortunate times.