Mongolia is a land of horses and herdsmen and one of the last great, undisturbed wilderness areas on earth. Among its 2.4 million people are some of the last truly nomadic pastoralists marriott marbella beach club in the world but how long they will survive is questionable. About one-third of the scant population are concentrated in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, whereas the dwindling population of nomads, herdsmen with their millions of head of livestock, are spread thin throughout this nation. The people are well matched to the land they inhabit, they are tough, resilient, stoical by dint of necessity, but genuinely fun-loving, easy going and kind.
Since earliest times, tribes have moved across the great Central Asian plains and mountain ranges that cover present-day Mongolia, but little is known of the ethnic origins of the proto-Mongol people. The mystery lies tangled in the fact that we are dealing with a fluid and changeable nomadic society. The division between Inner and Outer Mongolia (the latter being the area covered by this guide) was effected by the Qing dynasty Manchus of China (1644-1912), who conquered southern (Inner) Mongolia before northern (Outer) Mongolia. This has resulted in differences between the two areas.
On the whole, within the city, the nomadic culture of the countryside mixes easily with the modern urban culture of Ulaanbaatar and the two often combine without fuss. This is best seen in Ulaanbaatar, where a Mongol teenager wearing a silk tunic, fur hat and long leather boots might jump off his horse (which is quickly ridden away by a friend since, according to recent law, animals are not allowed in the town centre), contact his mother by mobile phone to say he will be home late, and then spend the evening with his girlfriend, either shopping in a modern supermarket, or dancing in one of the city’s new bars or discos.
Mongolia is connected to the fashion houses of the world through its marketing of cashmere. In Ulaanbaatar it is not surprising to see the latest Asian or European up-to-the-minute designs in clothing and trendy footwear. Young city Mongols are very style-conscious; chart music in UB discos is as modern as it is in London or Tokyo. Internet cafe culture is well established and the capital can boast many new restaurants serving international cuisine.