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Western Mongolia travel destinations
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Black Water Lake
Mongolia travel destinations: Black Water LakeBlack Water Lake or Lake Khar Us is an one of the largest freshwater lakes in Mongolia located in the Khar Us Lake Basin (Khovd aimag), surrounded by Altai Mountains. Lake length - 72km, width - 26km; total area - 3350 square km; maximum depth - 4.4m (14.4ft). Lake area is home to 9 out of 23 endangered species of mammals that are included in the Mongolian Red Book such as saiga anteloppe, black tailed gazelle, bulrush pig and others. Ornithologists have determined that there are about 200 species of birds of 35 genus, 17 families in Khar Us Lake Basin. Out of that, 134 species migrate from tropical countries, 123 lay eggs, 49 stays in winter and 20 pass through. The 14 of all 19 kinds of birds, that are listed in the Mongolian Red Book such as Dalmatian pelican, spoonbill, whooper swan, swan goose, wild goose, white tailed sea eagle inhabit the area. There are approximately 330 species of vertebrates and 90 of them are mammals, 220 are birds, 11 are reptiles, 8 are fish and 1 is amphibian.

Altai Tavan Bogd National Park
Mongolia travel destinations: Altai Tavan Bogd National ParkAltai Tavan Bogd National Park is located on the western most point of Mongolia in Bayan-Ulgii aimag with views of Kazakhstan from the highest peak in Mongolia. The Parks area covers 636,161ha of land including Mongol-Altai peaks, Shiveet, Alag Deel, Rashaan Ikh, Dunkhurug, Zagastai, Ikh Turgen, Bayanzurkh, Yamaat, Kholagash, Khuskonak, Songinot, Yalt and Uvchuu mountains and Khorgon, Khoton, Dayn and Chikhertei lakes and also everlasting ice-topped mountains with glacial rivers. The Altai mountain range stretches for 900 km across Russia, Mongolia and China. The highest mountain peak, the snow-capped Khuiten Uul at 4,374 meters flanked by four other peaks along the Potanin River, the source of a massive glacier, are commonly known as Tavan Bogd or the Five Saints. The Altai region is abundant with significant archaeological sites dating back to Paleolithic era, evidences of human habitation as far back as 40,000-12,000 years ago. There are several thousand petroglyphs and Turkic monoliths, including the Tsagaan Salaa Rock Paintings with over 10,000 cave drawings. The Park is a home to many world widely endangered animals such as Argali sheep (wild mountain sheep), wild goat, lynx, Beech marten, ibex, grey wolves, red deer, black vulture, elk, snow leopards, Altai snowcock, golden eagles. Wild sheep population grazing in this land is officially considered to be the biggest in the world. In 1996, this area was registered into the national preservation to be the representation of the Mongolian natural eco-system.

Uvs Lake
Mongolia travel destinations: Uvs LakeSulphate and natrium concentrated Uvs Lake known as the the largest lake in Mongolia located in the Uvs Nuur Basin inscribed on the World Heritage Site in 2003, at 36km north-east of Ulaangom city, center of Uvs aimag. The northeastern tip of the lake is situated in the Tuva Republic of the Russian Federation. Lake length - 84km, width - 79km; total area - 3350 hectares. The surface of Uvs Lake is located at 759m (2490ft) above sea level, with a maximum depth of 29m (6.5ft). Scientists have determined that Uvs Lake is a remainder of a huge saline sea which covered a much larger area several thousand years ago. 38 rivers flow into Uvs Lake including Tes, Nariin, Kharkhiraa, Turgen, Borshoo, Sagil, Khundlun, Khandgai and Torkhilog. Uvs Nuur Basin also contains burial mounds (kurgans) and stone tablets (steles) of which many date back to the Paleolithic Era. Main tourist activities: fishing, kayaking, rafting, trekking, hiking, camping, horseback riding, camel riding, bird-watching, enjoy the natural beauty.

Ikh Bogd Mountain
Mongolia travel destinations: Ikh Bogd MountainIkh (Great) Bogd Snow capped Mountain, one of popular travel destinations of Mongolia, located in Bayankhongor aimag, is the highest peak of Govi-Altai sub range and is 3,900 meter high above sea level. There is a Salty Lake called Orog at the mountainside. Ikh Bogd sacred mountain had broken into gorge and partially collapsed by an earthquake in 1957. The gorge is 100 km long. Other notable attractions include Bichigt Khad, a world-class petro glyphic, whose rock paintings date back to the Bronze Age. The nearby Tsagaan Agui (White Cave) is believed to be the place of the earliest human inhabitance in Mongolia, with evidence of human presence dating as far back as 700,000 years ago.

Bayan-Ulgii aimag
Mongolia travel destinations: Bayan-Ulgii aimagThe majority of Kazakh ethnic group of Mongolia is concentrated in the Bayan-Ulgii aimag, the western most of aimags of Mongolia, close to the Mongolia -Russia border. Bayan-Ulgii is the the land of high mountains, glaciers, famous for its natural sightseeings including Altai Tavan Bogd Natural Complex Area, Siilkhem Mountain Range Natural Complex Area, Tsambagarav Mountain Natural Complex Area, Devel Island Natural Reserve Area, Asgat Mountain, Achit Nuur Lake, Bugat Spring, Bulgan River, Bor Burgas River, Buraat Mountain, Duruu Lake, Deluun Mountain, Deluun Ekh Mountain, Tavan Bogd Mountain, Tsambagarav Mountain, Must Mountain, with peaks ranging from 3,000 to 4,000 metres. Bayan-Ulgii is beautiful by the way rich in Kazakhs nomads culture and tradition. The Kazakhs are a semi-nomadic, pastoral people, descendants of the Turkic and medieval Mongol tribes. Islam is professed by the majority of the population. Many families move several times a year with their herds between fixed seasonal settlements. Kazakhs amazing traditional celebrations such as Eagle Festival and Nauryz draw attentions of many local and foreign tourists.

Golden Eagle Festival
Mongolia travel destinations: Golden Eagle FestivalThe Eagle Festival or Golden Eagle Festival is an annual (October) amazing traditional celebration held in Bayan-Ulgii aimag of Mongolia, where the Kazakh eagle hunters (Burkitshi) celebrate their heritage and compete to wild animals such as foxes, wolfes and hares with specially trained golden eagles in Altai Mountains. The festival begins with each hunter displaying the hunting outfits and elaborate, beautifully adorned accessories. Later, the hunting eagles are evaluated for their skills. The eagles are released from a rock cliff, while their owners stand below and signal for them to land upon their arms, as they do during hunting. Those with the fastest times and best technique are awarded the highest scores.
Winners are selected for speed, agility and accuracy, as well as other contests including the best traditional kazakh dress and kazakh traditional games known as Kekbar (Kokpar, tug of war on horseback), Kyz Kuar (woman chase), Tenge Ilu (horse game where a rider at full gallop must swoop down to pick up coins from the ground) and Camel race are being organized.

Nauryz celebration
Mongolia travel destinations: Nauryz celebrationNauryz (Nauruz) is a traditional celebration of Kazakh people, celebrated from ancient times. This holiday is similar to the Mongolian Tsagaan Sar celebration in many ways. The day and night is equal on March 22nd. Daytime is prolonged starting this day, thus the Kazakh signifies this day with good luck. The Kazakh people have a custom for wishful thinking on this day

The meaning of Nauryz holiday is the ending of good wintering, growth of families and the flourishing of a nation. Nauryz symbolized the birth of a new year's cycle of life and Kazakhs came together in their auls to celebrate as a community. With this holiday, people greet with their siblings and relatives, and show respect to the elderly, where they listen to the words of wisdom of the senior aksakals (elders), conclude their doing and determine their future endeavors. This holiday, that symbolizes rejoice, unity and good wishes, is an inseparable part of the Kazakh people. On this day, where animals come out of hibernation and the soil melts and plants sprout at this time of year is during the Nauryz celebrations.

On the Nauryz holiday every family prays for the sun and treats the guest with pearl barley soup made with 7-9 different spices. This symbolizes to be as galore as rice. Indeed, the Nauryz festive table has important symbolism, the more food you have on your table, the better and more sufficient your life may be in the the coming year. Also games of horse race, wrestling and skin bag fighting are played. No alcoholic beverage is used during the holiday. According to old Nauryz celebrating customs, one was necessary to visit a minimum of 40 families. But today, this custom has changed for one to visit their relatives at their own convenience. The Nauryz holiday greetings do not require money and no gifts are exchanged. It is impossible to imagine Kazakh people without their eagle and their traditional lute, thus on this day lute melodies are heard in every household.

The roots of the holiday are ancient, and it's believed that the roots of Nauryz began at least 2 000 years ago, most likely in Persia. Nauryz-Meiram (Mei-rham means a holiday in Kazakh) is celebrated mostly in Muslim countries, but it is not a religious holiday. Nauryz is a traditional celebration of the spring equinox celebrated today by many nations throughout Asia and Europe. In some of East Asian Countries, March 22nd is noted to be the start of a new year. The word nauryz translates from the Persian language, consisting of two words nau-new and ryz-day, thus meaning the first day of the New Year.

In 2011, UNESCO registered the holiday of Nauryz in the World Heritage Fund, thus it became a notable event for the people who celebrate the Nauryz. Currently, this holiday is celebrated in 44 countries, including the Mongolian Kazakhs, which compound 8% of the Mongolian population.

Countries that have Nauryz as a public holiday:
- Iran (March 20-23, total of 4 days in general, plus 13 days for schools and universities)
- Afghanistan (March 20-23)
- Albania (March 20-23)
- Azerbaijan (March 20-26)
- Azeris in Georgia (country), Georgia (around March 21)
- The Parsis in India use a Shahenshahi calendar (around March 21)
- Iraq (regional only in Iraqi Kurdistan) (March 21)
- Kazakhstan (March 21-24)
- Kosovo (March 21)
- Kyrgyzstan (March 21)
- Tajikistan (March 20-23)
- Turkmenistan (March 20-23)
- Uzbekistan (March 21)

As for Kazakh people of Mongolia it is celebrated on March 22 the day of the spring equinox but it is not observed as a public holiday.
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