NORTH PART OF MONGOLIA
1. Khuvsgul Lake National Park
2. Amarbayasgalant Monastery
3. Uvs Province
HOW TO GET: by jeep 1100 km & 26 hours drive, 2 nights & 3 days drive
Uvs province covers the Great Lakes Depression area in northwestern Mongolia, adjoining Russian border to the north. Sixty percent of its area is steppe and green rolling hills and valleys with with a pleasant climate, fertile soil, forests, rivers and lakes; the other 40 percent encompasses Gobi or half desert area.Ulaangom town is quite different than other towns in Mongolia: full of motorbikers, brown faced nomads, who speak different dorvod dialect, and it is interesting town for travelers to explore in nature and in culture sides.
Kharkhiraa Turgen Mountain National Park
The twin peaks of Kharkhiraa Uul (4037m) and Tiirgen Uul (3965m) are facing to each other and majestic summits in north Mongolia. Snow caped these 2 mountains and surrounding river valleys are main source of the Uvs lake. Kharkhiraa Turgen Mountains park was established in 1993 as covering 22,000 hectare area of the Uvs Nuur Basin and containing 20% of snow peaks areas.
The beautiful rivers of Kharkhiraa, Turgen and Yamaat originate from the snow-capped peaks of the Turgen Mountain range. The Kharkhiraa and Turgen Mountains are home to many endangered, rare animals like snow leopard, wild mountain sheep Argali, ibex, lynx and so on. The area is mostly populated by Khoton people, famous throughout Mongolia as shamans.
These mountains are best place for trekking, horsetrek, camel expeditions, mountaineering and photography. The mountain valleys and the high pleteaus between glaciers above 4000m offer an impressive adventure for tourists.
Uvs Lake National Park
Uvs province lies in the Great Lakes Depression in the northwestern region of Mongolia. Uvs Lake is the largest saline lake (3,350 sq. km) in Mongolia and forms unique wetlands in the Great Lakes Depression. Its salinity varies between 3 and 35 g/l. It means that it is five times saltier than the ocean, and devoid of edible fish, but this doesn't mean the lake is dead. With its reed beds and freshwater river deltas it provides significant nesting and resting areas for numerous migratory species. The shallow lake lies at an altitude of 759 m. Uvs Lake has a length of 84 km and a width of 79 km, with an average depth of 6 m. The border between Mongolia and Russia runs through the northern periphery of the basin. Here the world's most northern desert meets the world's most southern tundra zone. Apart from the Uvs Lake, the nationla park comprises several smaller lakes.
Since 1997, the Uvs-Nuur-Basin is recognised as UNESCO biosphere reserve due to the an ancient lake bed in the central Asia and core part of the Altai Sayan Eco Region. In 2003, the UNESCO listed the Uvs Lake Basin area as a World Heritage Site, because of it was nominated as "one of the largest intact watersheds in Central Asia where 40,000 archeological sites can be found from historically famous nomadic tribes such as the Scythians, Turks and the Huns.
The national park has very different ecosystems and extreme climate fluctations depending on neaigbouring nature formations such as permanent snowfields in the Turgen mountains, small lakes, and wetlands areas up to the desert of Altan Els sand dunes. Temperatures of – 40 °C are normal in winter, also – 58 °C are measured. In summer, the basin warms and the temperatures arrive + 40 °C.
In the areas of desert and mountain, rare animals as the Mongolian gerbil, the polar cat, the threatened snow leopard, the wild sheep as well as the Asiatic ibex. At and on the Uvs Lake , more than 220 bird species are counted. Numerous rare and threatened species are among them: Black Stork, Osprey, White-tailed Eagle, Whooper Swan and Black-headed Gull. More than 100 pairs of Spoonbills breed in this region.
Khyargas lake National Park
Khyargas Nuur is the fourth largest lake in Mongoliaha and half the size salty as the ocean. It covers 1407 km sq area and 1028 m above sea level. The length is 75 km and width is 31 km. Lake Khyargas was formed through tectonic activity, so shorelines were turned into several capes which continues about 4-7 km. The depth reaches 40-50 m not far from its shoreline and even 80 m at the deepest part.
The lake does provide an attractive summer home for birds, but it is not as scenic or as accessible as other lakes in the region. On the north-western side of Khyargas Nuur, there are some fantastic hot springs. South of Khyargas Nuur, but still in the national park is the freshwater lake Airag Nuur, which are homes for 20 breeding pairs of migratory Dalmation pelicans. There were about 400 pelicans in the 1960s, but the numbers are tragically decreasing year by year.
Northern part of the lake is soft, sandy whereas the south is rocky islands. Many species of fish including Altaic fish, Mongolian ruff, osman and yellow fish dwell in the lake water.
Mongolian Oirats Ethnic group
Uvs province is home of Oirats, the western mongols as ranging of ethnic groups: Durvud, Bayad, Khoton, Torguud, Zakhchin, Uriankhay and Myangat. They speak in oirat dialect of mongolian language and they have a unque form of culture: fermented cow milk, big size of Ger dwelling, Bielgee dance.
Oirats's bielgee dance is a unique form of dance, originated from the nomadic way of life and it is performed while half sitting or cross-legged. Hand, shoulder and leg movements express aspects of Mongol herders everyday lifestyle such as milking the cow, cooking, hunting, household labor, customs and traditions, etc. as well as spiritual characteristics tied to different ethnic groups. Originally, Mongolian dance developed very early is evidenced by a reference of 13th century- Chinggis khan time, were wont to rejoice, dancing and feasting...they danced until there was dust up to their knees... It is traditionally performed on the rather limited space before the hearth, so the dancers make practically no use of their feet.