Recently, I re-discovered my 2010 Mongolia trip photos while searching my archives for images to submit to stock agencies. I’m now motivated to publish a few more blog posts about this intriguing country.
The traditional portable home for nomadic herders roaming the vast grassy steppes of Mongolia is the yurt, or ger as it’s called in Mongolian which literally means home.
Ger pepper the landscape throughout Mongolia and today between 30-40% of the country’s population (Source: Wikipedia) live in a ger, not only on the steppe but many in city suburbs.
Due to the nomadic nature of its occupants, a ger is designed to be dismantled easily and moved, so construction only takes about 2 hours.
A collapsible wooden lattice wall with a door frame supports long, roof poles and a circular crown leaving an opening for the central chimney. The entire framework is covered with layers of wool felt for warmth then ropes secure waterproof canvas over the top.
These photos show the stages of ger construction: the bare skeleton of wall lattice and roof poles, the entire framework covered in layers of felt, and the completed ger with the outer cover of waterproof canvas.
During our short stay in Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, not far from the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, we visited Turtle Rock, named for its resemblance to a turtle when viewed from a certain angle. Known locally as Melkhi Khad, this giant rock formation is a popular spot for visitors to the area.
Here are some photos I shot of scenes around Turtle Rock and the surrounding landscape.
Some shots of a friendly camel for hire near Turtle Rock
Close ups of the friendly camel
Mongolian ger camps are like campsites with gers instead of tents and the quality of amenities vary from camp to camp. Both local and foreign tourists visit them for a night or a few days.
After my younger brother Mike’s wedding in Ulaanbaatar, family and friends, a mixed Anglo/Mongolian group, all piled into vehicles and headed out of the capital to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park for a couple of days relaxation together.
We stayed at the serene Terelj Lodge 55 km northeast of the city. This was the first time that some of us, including my older brother Matt and our friends from England (all still in our first week in Mongolia) had stayed in a ger and was an experience we’d all been looking forward to. It was the most upscale of any ger camp I stayed at during my travels in Mongolia.
After relaxing, walking and eating lunch we all headed to a few local sights including Turtle Rock (Melkhi Khad) and the Aryapala Initiation and Meditation Centre which I’ll post about next. Later we returned to the ger camp for dinner and at night we sat around chatting while some downed beer or the traditional Mongolian shots of vodka.
Following are a few images of the ger camp.
Suburbia in Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar is like no other. Bleak Russian-style apartment blocks give way to a patchwork of modern, red brick, matchbox-like houses.
Tidy lines of vivid crimson, azure and jade roofs contrast starkly against the chalky curves of Mongolian traditional gers. Intermingling, they compete for space tucked away behind wooden and rusty tin fences splashed with painted symbols.
Driving out of the city, I captured a few images from the window of our moving van.
Entrance to Choijin Lama Temple Museum.