world map


Past small tents with large satellite dishes

date of entry 16/06/2006
mileage 548,210

capital Ulaanbaatar

area 1.564.116 km²

population 3.179.997

GDP 8.506 M. US-Dollar

official language Mongolian

Friendly people, extreme loneliness, endless steppe: these are what Gunther most remembers about Mongolia. He and Christine spent two weeks touring the sparsely populated land of Genghis Khan, covering around 2,700 km. One of the country’s most striking features is its yurts, nomads’ tents, often with their own huge satellite dishes.
  • The other side of Mongolia: The capital, Ulaanbaatar, is home to 1.3 million people, more than a third of the country’s total population.
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  • Even in the age of the automobile, horses are still commonly used as transport across the steppes of Mongolia
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  • The nomads’ homes are largely the same as they were a hundred years ago
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  • But yurts have adopted some aspects of modern technology
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  • Inside, they’re much more comfortable than you’d expect of a tent
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  • The Holtorfs often had to travel long distances to find yurt encampments…
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  • … With around two inhabitants per square kilometre, Mongolia is the world’s most sparsely populated country.
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  • The trio encountered a joyful welcome wherever they went. Gunther was overwhelmed by the Mongols’ friendliness.
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  • Children all over the world loved Otto...
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  • ... and these kids remained endlessly cheerful even when their own vehicle broke down.
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  • Mongolia is something of a buffer state between Russia and China, and strongly influenced by both: hence this Buddha...
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  • … and the uniforms of these train guards, with their whiff of Soviet nostalgia.
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  • Video: Mongolia: a paradise for nature lovers

Otto was here before ...


date of entry 29 June 2006
mileage 550,930