Mongolia, a nation bordered by China and Russia, is known for its vast, rugged expanses and its nomadic people.
It does not include Inner Mongolia, which is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, however many Mongols still reside there.
Its capital, Ulaanbaatar, centers around Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khan) Square, named for the notorious founder of the 13th- and 14th-century Mongol Empire.
Area: 604,200 sq miles
Population: approximately 3 million
Government: Parliamentary Democracy
Language: Khalkha Mongol 90%, Turkic,Russian was common until 1999
Religion: Tibetan Buddhist (Vajrayana) 97.5%, Muslim (primarily in the southwest), Shamanism, and Christian 1.5% (2010)
Country code: +976
Internet TLD: .mn
Time Zone: UTC +7 to +8
Electricity: 220v. Power plugs of various shape and sizes (European, US, Japan) are sometimes available, but it is safer to bring your own.
Driving: On the right side of the road, usually around obstacles in creative ways. The miles of paved roads are increasing, but there remains many off-road paths to reach remote areas. The driving wheel is usually on the left side of the car, but there are many cars imported from Japan that will have the driving wheel on the right side of the car.
The Mongolian flag contains three bands, red, blue and red. Blue represents the sky, red symbolizes progress and prosperity. The flag also contains the Soyombo symbol, a columnar arrangement of abstract and geometric representation for fire, sun, moon, earth, water, and the yin-yang symbol.
A tug or a sulde, usually called a Tug Banner, is a pole with circularly arranged horse or yak tail hairs of varying colors arranged at the top. It was flown during the period of the Mongol Empire, and presently in Mongolia, used similarly to a flag.
A white-haired banner is used as a peacetime symbol, while the black banner was for wartime. Usage of the horse tail is symbolic because horses are so central to the Mongols' livelihood.
The classical Mongolian script, also known as Hudum Mongol bichig, was the first writing system created specifically for the Mongolian language, and was the most successful until the introduction of Cyrillic in 1946, which is still officially being used.
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