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Nomadic by Nature
The first-time travel to Mongolia often feels that there are two different countries under one flag. On one hand, the gateway for most visitors to Mongolia is Ulaanbaatar. The city is under constant development, heavily influenced by the ‘gold rush’ derived from the discovery of some of the world’s largest gold deposits in the Gobi Desert. On the other hand, the infrastructure of the city is based on old Soviet planning and construction, and neglect is widely spread, in common with other post-soviet states.
Traffic jams are notorious, but the streets are very clean. Despite this, the city has a charm of its own. It is a fusion of old and new, between east and west, and between unsophistication and rapid development. However, drive a few kilometers out of the city, and you will find yourself taking a journey through time, some 800 years back, to the time when Chinggis Khan united the tribes of the steppes into a mighty empire.
You will see the Mongol nomads living their lives based on the old traditions (but with TV sets and motorcycles!), in run-down towns along run-down roads but with an ancient culture which is still vibrant.
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