I have had a few people ask me since I first made the announcement, questions like “Where is Mongolia” and “Is it safe?” and other questions which leads me to believe that many have no knowledge about the location, other than I have set my sights on going there. So here is a little guide:
It is the 19th largest country in the world and is the least densely populated (only 1.84 people per square km). Approximately 30% of the population are nomadic, approximately 40% live in the capital of Ulaanbaatar.
Terrain is mostly steppe (grassland or prairie) with mountains to the north and west, and the Gobi desert to the south. The pasture is very fragile and could be destroyed by overgrazing.
Minerals represent 80% of exports.
English is taught in all secondary schools beginning in fourth grade.
The government is a parliamentary republic. They guarantee full freedom of expression and religion. Mongolia has good relations with many countries and is focused on encouraging foreign investment and trade (the embassy here is in Ottawa).
Traditional Mongolian sports include archery, horse racing (of course!), wrestling and eagle hunting.
There are few paved roads, most roads consist of simple country tracks.