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  • Now you guys know I'm half Korean.

  • If you don't know much about East Asia,

  • Basically: Putting aside all the political differences, at the end of the day,

  • the nearly two billion of East Asians like Koreans, Japanese and Chinese are distant cousins.

  • Then little Mongolia comes in with less than 3 million people and they step on the scene and it's like

  • "Oh, hey, hey grandpa."

  • It's time to learn Geography... NOW!!!

  • Hey everyone, I'm your host Barbs.

  • You may have heard a little bit about this guy, mostly through the massive empire from Genghis Khan

  • or /Chinggis Khan/

  • But Mongolia is unique in that it's kind of like the kindred route that billions of people stem from all over the world.

  • And it all starts on some grassy hills that we will locate in:

  • (Political Geography)

  • Mongolia is known as the "Land of the eternal blue sky" as they get over 250 sunny days a year.

  • They really are kind of like the "Center of Asia"

  • Even though technically the actual geographic center of Asia is claimed by three spots -

  • 2 in Russia, 1 in China.

  • But Mongolia is really close to all three of them.

  • Anyway!

  • Mongolia is a landlocked country - the 18th largest in the world located in centre East Asia bordered by Russia and China.

  • If it wasn't for this very narrow 23 mile long corridor, they would also touch Kazakhstan

  • but they don't.

  • The country is divided into 21 provinces or Aimags,

  • with the capital Ulaanbaatar meaning "Red hero" in the Northeast acting as its own municipality with provincial status.

  • Literally all roads in the country eventually lead up to this one city one way or another.

  • Oh and it has this really cool-looking curved sky tower building.

  • Fun fact: Ulaanbaatar (spelled a variety of different ways depending on how you look at it) is the world's coldest capital

  • and it was actually a nomadic city that moved 28 times before settling in its current location.

  • The city in itself holds about 45% of the entire country's population and holds the only International Airport,

  • Chinggis Khaan International

  • and a new airport is being built on the other side of the mountain so far just called New Ulaanbaator International.

  • It has almost, nothing around it. So, good luck?

  • Otherwise the second and third largest cities are Erdenet and Darkhan located relatively close to Ulaanbaatar.

  • Now Mongolia is kind of interesting because although they don't have territorial disputes, they do have some interesting border demarcations.

  • Such as the narrow western slot of Lake Buir shared with China.

  • Russia gets a small slice of Uvs Lake.

  • On the east you can find the tripoint monument for China, Russia and Mongolia at Tarbagan-Dakh

  • and plans for a possible western tripoint marker on the peak of Mount Tavan Bogdo Ula are on the way.

  • The country has a main railway that transects the north to south entering both Russia and China.

  • This also connects to the larger well-known Trans-Siberian railway in Russia.

  • More lines are planned to be built in the future

  • but for now, almost the entire western part of Mongolia is only accessible by crude roads and paths

  • or you know horse trail. Yeah

  • We'll get into the horse thing later.

  • Anyway, now when I say "Mongolia", obviously

  • I'm referring to what constitutes the boundaries of "modern-day State Mongolia".

  • Keep in mind though, historically,

  • the regions of what are now Inner Mongolia that belonged to China or the "People's Republic of China" were part of the larger Mongolia region

  • and today has more ethnic Mongols than actual Mongolia.

  • Coming to Mongolia,

  • You'll probably hit with a lot of interesting sights, especially with Genghis Khan, you know him.

  • He's everywhere; Statues, buildings, carvings on hillsides. The airport is actually named after him.

  • He's even on their money.

  • Some notable sites of interest might include places like

  • All these museums

  • The Bogd palace

  • Ikh Berkhant Complex

  • The Taikhar stone

  • The Shambala Stupa structure

  • The locals kind of consider it like the "center of energy for the universe".

  • Of course, there are so many hundreds of different monasteries like these

  • Including the oldest one, Erdene Zuu.

  • And of course, there's the pride and glory statue, the Tsonjin Boldog Genghis Khan statue

  • But the thing Mongolia is probably known most for is not the hand made landmarks

  • but rather the vast open expanses of grass land where all the power began.

  • Which brings us to:

  • (Physical Geography)

  • Remember that Universal wallpaper for all Windows monitors back in like 1997?

  • It has that serene rolling green hill. That's kind of what comes to mind when I think of Mongolia's landscape.

  • Fun fact: It got converted into a vineyard.

  • Anyway!

  • Mongolia lies on the center of Asia sandwiched between the Gobi Desert in the south

  • and there are three main small mountain chains:

  • The Altai in the west where you can find the tallest peak, Khütien on the border with China.

  • The Khangal mountains in the north where you can find the deepest freshwater lake, Khövsgöl.

  • However the hyper saline lake Uvs has more surface area.

  • In between these two mountain chains lies the Valley of Lakes where most of Mongolia's natural lakes lie,

  • and finally the Khentil in the north

  • which is where the longest river, the Orkhon flows, sourced by lake Baikal in the Buryat Republic of Russia.

  • Basically, if you want the overall summary: the south is a dry cold desert,

  • the north is greener and hillier with grassy hills and water

  • and the entire country is subjugated to the massive atmospheric pressure zone known as the Siberian Anticyclone.

  • This is a huge cold dry air mass with massive pressure that accumulates between September and April usually centered around Lake Baikal

  • and it grows, as far as Italy in the West, and Malaysia to the south.

  • In a nutshell, this is what keeps Mongolia generally windier and chillier,

  • even though they get lots of sunshine with little snow.

  • Basically, it's a very dry land mass and the rainiest spot only get about 14 inches of rain a year at best.

  • Weird, right? Dry but cold.

  • In fact, the only natural disaster thing they faced would be the Dzud or

  • a harsh climactic condition that causes massive amounts of livestock to die off due to freezing conditions and starvation.

  • Also keep in mind,

  • the Gobi Desert is the source of the eastern winds that causes all the dust storms that fly all the way across Eastern Asia.

  • In the Korea episode, I explained, it's called Hwang Sa.

  • All right. This is my triple shot of espresso break.

  • Usually Noah comes in but his car broke down so he can't make it here.

  • Ken, just take, just take over, just take over.

  • I'm out

  • Okay.

  • Mongolia is known for being very big and empty which makes it perfect for animals to graze

  • In terms of wildlife, Mongolia is a horse haven.

  • They're often seen as the national animal.

  • There's even a wind horse in their emblem.

  • And just like we discuss in other Central Asian country videos,

  • the horses play such a huge role in Mongolian history from transport, riding, food, milk and sport.

  • It is estimated that about 13 times more horses and 30 times more sheep live in the country than actual people.

  • In fact, Mongolia is the home of the last truly wild horses in the world known as Takhi.

  • The horses have 66 chromosomes, 2 more than your average horse.

  • Otherwise, the famous two-hump Bactrian camel are also national treasures.

  • They even have a festival devoted to them.

  • Other species like the Saiga antelope and their wierd noses roam around the grassland.

  • And aboutof the world snow leopard population lives in Mongolia.

  • But Ken, what about their economy?

  • Don't they have like a bunch of minerals or something?

  • Yes, they do.

  • Mongolia focuses on two main industry: Herding and mining.

  • Minerals make up about 80% of their exports, mostly in gold and copper.

  • However, both sectors have been in decline for the past decades in favor of service jobs.

  • Mongolia is also the second largest producer of Cashmere goat wool in the world after China.

  • They have the second largest population of yaks.

  • Again after China, which they use for milk and dairy.

  • Speaking of which, Food.

  • First of all, no, Mongolian beef BBQ is a Chinese invention. It is not authentic Mongolian food.

  • You have authentic dishes like:

  • Aarul, which is dehydrated curdled milk cheese.

  • You have the national drink Airag, which is a fermented milk often from horses.

  • Baked sheep meat called Khorkhog,

  • Boodog, which is this inside-out cooked meat thing

  • and finally, Buuz dumplings.

  • Yeah, a lot of meat and dairy. It's just part of their culture

  • And speaking of culture:

  • (Demographics)

  • Thank you Ken. You sound really enthusiastic when you do these things. You like doing this, don't you?

  • I am enthusiastic!

  • Yeah, whatever, you know, get back to the camera.

  • Okay.

  • Now growing up with Korean culture,

  • I was always kind of under the influence that Mongolians are kind of like the mystical ancestors of all East Asians

  • and there's kind of a tincture of truth to that.

  • First of all

  • Country has about 3.1 million people and is the most sparsely populated sovereign state in the world with only about 2 people per square kilometer.

  • The vast majority of the country at about 95 percent identified as Mongolian or one of the main Mongolian people groups

  • like the Buryats, the Dorvod or Bayad and so on

  • whereas the remaining 5% come from a variety of minorities mostly Cossacks and Russians.

  • They use the Mongoliangrög as their currency.

  • They use the type C and E plug outlets

  • and they drive on the right side of the road.

  • Now, what does it mean to be "Mongolian" in the 21st century?

  • Well for one, the language.

  • Mongolian is a unique tongue spoken with some interesting gallardo stop sounds

  • strangely enough kind of similar to the ones that you find in the Inuit areas of the Arctic.

  • Here's a clip from Easy Languages.

  • I love these guys. They do such great Street interviews. Check them out.

  • And keep in mind,

  • there isn't just one type of Mongolian but rather a few distinct cousin groups

  • like the Altai, the Buryats, the Kalmyks

  • mostly found in modern day Russia or the Inner Mongolian regions of China.

  • Each has a distinct dialect and tradition,

  • some speak completely unintelligible Turkic based languages.

  • But overall they're all cousins.

  • Geography Öngör said: If you locked a Mongolian, Buryat, a Kalmyk, Inner Mongolia and a Tuvan in a room,

  • It would look kind of like this:

  • (Noisy Mongolians)

  • Mongolia: What are your hobbies, Kalmykia? (with an Mongolian accent)

  • Kalmykia: I like to drawing pictures. (with an Mongolian accent)

  • Buryatia: What about you, Tuva? (with an Mongolian accent)