The Mongolia Albums

MONGOLIA - Land of the Blue Sky

The photographs appearing in these albums were taken during a tour conducted by National Geographic Expeditions in conjunction with Nomadic Expeditions in July-August 2012. Areas visited included the capital city of Ulaanbataar, the steppes north of Murun, the western shore of Lake Hovsgol near the Siberian border, and the Altai Mountains and desert in South Gobi near the Chinese border. Our leader for this expedition was National Geographic photographer Chris Rainier.

Mongolia is the most sparsely populated country in the world. Of its population of 3.2 million (July 2011 estimate), about one-third live in Ulaanbataar, one-third live in other urban centers, and one-third still lead a nomadic life-style on the steppes and in the mountains. The country is land-locked between Russia and China. The current elder generation has experienced dramatic changes over their lifetime, particularly after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Key changes include the adoption of democracy as a form of government, privatization of industry and resources, and a significant migration into and expansion of urban areas. The mixing of old ways and new ways is poignantly illustrated by the juxtaposition of felt-clad gers and frame houses, often both on the same lot, in the residential areas of Ulaanbataar.