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Mongolia Frequently Asked Questions Version 7 (July 7th, 2000)

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Archive-name: mongolia-faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly, sometimes irregularly
Last-modified: July 2000
Version: 7.00

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
  Mongolia FAQ
  Oliver Corff

  Summary: This posting contains a list of Frequently Asked Questions
  (and their answers) about Mongolia, Mongolians and the areas where
  Mongolian-speaking people live.

  Table of Contents

  1. Preliminary Notes

     1.1 About this FAQ
     1.2 How is this text compiled?
     1.3 How can I get a copy of this Frequently Asked Questions list?
     1.4 Can I receive regular updates of this document?
     1.5 I see all these irritating spelling variants in Mongolian Names.
	Which one is right?
     1.6 Is there a key to the romanization used here?

  2. Mongolia - Communication and Information

     2.1 Are there any  sources of information on Mongolia in the Internet?
     2.2 Is there an Internet or e-mail link to Mongolia?
     2.3 Is there an IDD (International Direct Dialing)
	telephone link to Mongolia?
        2.3.1 What are the area codes within Mongolia?
     2.4 How to reach Inner Mongolia?
     2.5 How to reach Buryatia and Kalmykia?
     2.6 Are there mobile (cellular) phone services available in Mongolia?
     2.7 Are there Mongolian radio broadcasts?
     2.8 What about Electricity Supply?

  3. Mongolia - Land, People, Language

     3.1 Where do Mongolians live?
     3.2 What Happened When? A Chronological View at Mongolian History
     3.3 Who is Who among the Khans?
     3.4 How does the Mongolian National Flag look like,
	and what does it mean?
     3.5 How do Mongolians live? (Economy Basics)
        3.5.1 Pastoral Nomadism
        3.5.2 Industrialized Cities
        3.5.3 Mongolian Economy in China
        3.5.4 What Currency is used in Mongolia?
     3.6 Where to call in distress?
     3.7 Who speaks Mongolian?
     3.8 What kind of a language is Mongolian?
        3.8.1 Mongolian - Language
        3.8.2 Mongolian - Grammar
        3.8.3 Mongolian - Writing
  Mongolian Writing: Uighur
  Mongolian Writing: Chinese
  Mongolian Writing: Phagsba
  Mongolian Writing: Soyombo
  Mongolian Writing: Horizontal Square, or Xwt Drwljin
  Mongolian Writing: Tibetan
  Mongolian Writing: Cyrillic
     3.9 Is Mongolian easy to learn?
     3.10 Are the Mongolian dialects an obstacle for the foreigner
	learning Mongolian?

  4. Mongolia - Administrative

     4.1 I want to study in Mongolia. Where do I establish contact?
     4.2 I want to work in Mongolia, e.g. teach a foreign language.
	Where do I establish first contact?
     4.3 I want to study in Inner Mongolia. Where do I establish contact?
     4.4 I want to work in Inner Mongolia, e.g. teach a foreign language.
	Where do I establish first contact?
     4.5 I want to travel to Mongolia. What kind of travel
	documentation do I need?
     4.6 I want to travel to Inner Mongolia. What kind of travel
	documentation do I need?
     4.7 I want to travel to Buryatia. What kind of travel
	documentation do I need?
     4.8 I want to travel to Kalmykia. What kind of travel
	documentation do I need?
     4.9 Where is the nearest embassy / consulate of Mongolia?

  5. Mongolia - Tourism

     5.1 How to travel to Mongolia?
     5.2 What kind of accommodation is available in Mongolia?
     5.3 What kind of transport is available in Mongolia?
        5.3.1 Transport in Ulaanbaatar
        5.3.2 Transport outside Ulaanbaatar
     5.4 Which season is recommended for travelling?
     5.5 What are the points of sightseeing, museums etc.?

  6. Inner Mongolia - Tourism

     6.1 How to travel to Inner Mongolia?
     6.2 What kind of accommodation is available in Inner Mongolia?
     6.3 What kind of transport is available in Inner Mongolia?
     6.4 Which season is recommended for travelling?
     6.5 What are the points of sightseeing, museums etc.?

  7. Mongolia - Computing Issues

     7.1 Is there some kind of ``Mongolian ASCII'' or commonly
           acknowledged encoding standard for Mongolian language
           data processing?
     7.2 Are there computer programs for processing Mongolian
	language documents?

  8. Mongolia - Suggested Readings

     8.1 Which book do you recommend as a start?


  1.  Preliminary Notes

  1.1.  About this FAQ

  Archive-name: mongol-faq Version: 7.00

  Copyright: Oliver Corff 1994..2000 Berlin, Ulaanbaatar, Beijing, Macau

  Anyone wishing to contribute to or improve this document should not
  hesitate to send the edited part(s) to me, i.e. Oliver Corff, or

  Translations into other languages are welcome and appreciated. The
  author kindly requests to receive a proof copy prior to publishing the
  translated version in order to make sure that the translated version
  is based on the most recent original.

  Thanks to Christopher Kaplonski, Peter Crandall, Mingan Choct,
  Ariunaa, Peter Lofting, Ken Beesley, Wolfgang Lipp, Noreen Palazzo,
  Solongowa Borzigin, Purevdorj, Darima Socktoyeva, Prof. Dr. Yondon
  (+), Mykel Board, Dominik Troger, David Methuen, Peter G. Campbell,
  Katherine Petrie, Laurent Amsaleg, E. Bulag, Graham Shields, Jakub
  Paluszak, Mark Chopping, Kent Madin and all others who have
  contributed by submitting facts, corrections or suggestions on what to
  include. Contributions of all kind are so numerous that the FAQ
  compiler lost track of who contributed what a long time ago.

  Technical Note: This text is now maintained on the basis of an sgml
  master in Latin1 encoding.  The master document is converted into
  plain text form (for feeding into the newsgroups) and HTML form (for
  presentation in the WWW).

  If you want to redistribute this FAQ (which you are free and welcome
  to do as long as the document is not modified and the copyright and
  author lines remain intact) please contact the FAQ source if you
  require the FAQ in sgml format.

  Without contacting the author, you are only entitled to store, mirror
  and reproduce the text version as found in the newsgroups or the HTML
  version found at the official Mongolia FAQ URL. Incorporation of this
  FAQ in commercial distributions, no matter which media (CD-ROM, books,
  etc.) requires written permission by the FAQ compiler.

  1.2.  How is this text compiled?

  Back in 1994, the maintainer of this FAQ thought it would be nice to
  have a FAQ on Mongolia. He collected some of the original questions
  (mainly questions like: how to obtain visa, where to find software,
  etc.), circulated the idea in the then newly founded Mongolia-related
  newsgroup soc.culture.mongolian and within a few days a number of
  contributors and ideas came together to form the first Mongolia FAQ.
  Since then, this text saw a considerable increase in detail and range
  of questions.

  People still tend to ask the same questions, even this one: How was
  this text compiled?  Well, the answer is right here. As far as
  possible, the FAQ maintainer tries to use first-hand experience and
  information to answer questions. Over the years, the maintainer
  visited Mongolia and Southern (Inner) Mongolia in various functions.
  The maintainer hopes to be able to share his, not always objective
  view, with the readers.  Sometimes, if not frequently, the information
  is provided by readers of the before-mentioned newsgroup or readers of
  this FAQ. The list of contributors speaks!  You are always welcome to
  share your ideas, suggestions, criticism and updated information with
  the maintainer since this offers the best chance for improving this
  text. Join the ranks!

  Information is updated in two ways: if major changes become necessary,
  the document is changed immediately and redistributed as soon as
  possible, usually within a few days. Other questions of not such an
  urgent nature take more time to make it into this document, and then
  the document receives its updates at greater intervalls, but also at
  the benefit of greater chunks.

  1.3.  How can I get a copy of this Frequently Asked Questions list?

  You are holding a copy of this document in your working memory! Save
  it now. A copy of this document is always kept in Infosystem Mongolei
  (see below) but here again is its URL: http://userpage.fu-

  1.4.  Can I receive regular updates of this document?

  Yes and no. Of course you are entitled to receive updates, and you can
  send a mail to requesting an updated
  version, but due to the nature of how the FAQ is generated, it cannot
  be regular. Whenever a new version is out, it will be announced in
  soc.culture.mongolian and the mailing list.

  1.5.  Names. Which one is right?  I see all these irritating spelling
  variants in Mongolian

  Given the name of the Capital of Mongolia, one can find it written in
  several forms: Ulan Bator, Ulaan Baatar, Ulaanbaatar and even
  Ulaganbagatur (where the ``g'' sometimes is --- strangely enough!  ---
  spelled by a Greek gamma).. Which one, then, is the really correct

  As with every non-Latin script, there is a problem of rendering this
  script into Latin which involves a choice between two methods:
  transliteration and transcription. The first method tries to reproduce
  the original writing while the second method tries to indicate its
  pronounciation. The process is further complicated if another language
  and/or script is inserted between the original and the target. Hence,
  Ulaanbaatar is the transliteration of the name in Mongolian (using the
  Cyrillic alphabet), Ulan Bator is a spelling derived from the Russian
  transcription of the name (though Russians and Mongolians use the same
  writing system, the Russians preferred to make a transcription of the
  Mongolian name rather than accepting it unmodified into Russian),
  Ulaan Baatar is the transliterated spelling of the Mongolian words
  ``Red Hero'' (the literal meaning of the name), and Ulaganbagatur
  finally is an approach to transliterate the name from the Classical
  Mongolian writing.

  The whole methodological problem is explained in detail in the section
  on Mongolian and computers towards the very end of this FAQ.

  Due to the difficulties of rendering names etc. for postal, news and
  other services some more or less ``official'' ways of spelling exist,
  in addition to several transliterations and common spellings which are
  not correct in the strict sense but enjoy a broad acceptance.

  1.6.  Is there a key to the romanization used here?

  The FAQ maintainer uses the MLS system for romanizing Mongolian. The
  MLS system offers round-trip compatibility (Cyrillic texts can be
  transliterated, the romanized version can be retransliterated and will
  be identical with the Cyrillic original). Software for MS-DOS and UNIX
  based computers is available at no charge.

  The basic principles underlying MLS are simple: if ever possible, use
  one Latin character for one Cyrillic letter, and if not possible, use
  an unambiguous digraph. Vowels are classified as front (female) or
  back (male); front vowels are all marked with diacritics. It is a fact
  that Mongolian *has* seven basic vowels, and it is not possible to
  avoid these in writing.

  Furthermore, if ever possible, one transliteration symbol should be
  used for Cyrillic *and* Classical Mongolian letters of the same
  linguistic origin.

  The following simple table tries to avoid graphics and foreign
  character sets but uses conventional names and positions to identify
  Cyrillic letters.

      Position   Name                        Romanization      Notes
      1          A                           A/a
      2          Be                          B/b
      3          Ve                          W/w               (1)
      4          Ge                          G/g
      5          De                          D/d
      6          Ye                          E/e
      7          Yo                          Yo/ or yo        (2)
      8          Je                          J/j
      9          Ze                          Z/z
      10         Ih                          I/i
      11         Xagas I (I kratkoye)        I or /          (3)
      12         Ka                          K/k
      13         eL                          L/l
      14         eM                          M/m
      15         eN                          N/n
      16         O                           /o
      17         Front (barred) O            /
      18         Pe                          P/p
      19         eR                          R/r
      20         eS                          S/s
      21         Te                          T/t
      22         U                           U/u
      23         Front (Straight) U          /
      24         Fe                          F/f
      25         Xa                          X/x               (4)
      26         Ce                          C/c
      27         Che                         Q/q
      28         Sha                         Sh/sh
      29         Shcha                       Qh/qh             (5)
      30         Xatuu Temdeg (Hard Sign)    `                 (6)
      31         61-Y                        Y/y               (7)
      32         Zln Temdeg (Soft Sign)   '                 (6)
      33         E (not Ye)                  /
      34         Yu                          Yu/yu             (8)
      35         Ya                          Ya/ya


  1. W was chosen over v because v serves a slightly different purpose
     in the transliteration of Classical Mongolian. And, there is no w,
     only b, in Classical Mongolian.

  2. Small yo can be written as e+diaeresis (#137 in the good old IBM
     cp437 codepage) or as yo. Pick what you like. Actually, for ISO
     8859-1 users, there is also a capitalized  available.  (Not so for
     IBM cp437 users). The converter software is lenient and accepts
     both; so should humans.

  3. Xagas i (lit. ``half i'') can be entered as #139 by IBM cp437
     users; a capitalized version of this letter is available for ISO
     8859-1 users only.

  4. X may look strange at first glance but is optically close to its
     Cyrillic partner; H could not be used because it is reserved for
     Buriad (e.g.: hain baina uu) where it coexists with it/x/.

  5. Yes, Qh for Shch is odd. However, this letter never occurs in
     genuinely Mongolian words, so it should not be too insulting to the
     eye. And, unlike shch, it is round- trip compatible!

  6. Both hard and soft signs are expressed by simple accents, the
     transliteration does not make a difference between uppercase and
     lowercase letters. It is possible to judge by context.

  7. Why ``61-...''? In Mongolian called jaran-nign, lit.  ``sixty-
     one'', reproduces the hand-written image if this letter.

  8. Yu and yu can also be written as Y and Y so as to avoid things
     like *yulr.  ylr looks nicer!

  2.  Mongolia - Communication and Information

  2.1.  Are there any  sources of information on Mongolia in the Inter

  Yes and No.

  First the No. Until about 1994, There used to be only a number of
  miscellaneous documents (mainly U.S. government publications) on
  Mongolia available on the Internet. These documents (not much more
  than a handful of files) were partially outdated, difficult to find
  and frequently available on various mirrored sites increasing the

  Now the first Yes. In spring 1994, the USENET newsgroup
  soc.culture.mongolian came into existence. It enjoys a certain
  popularity, not only among Mongolia specialists but also among other
  interested persons. This newsgroup (which is not moderated) offers
  lively discussions on all sorts of topics ranging from food to
  religion, from history to modern politics. Many frequent contributors
  supply soc.culture.mongolian also with news about current events,
  exhibitions etc.

  In order to read the news of soc.culture.mongolian, start any of the
  news readers available on your machine (this may be tin, rn, nn, or
  any other favourite). Following the instructions, it should not be too
  difficult to subscribe to soc.culture.mongolian since this is a
  mainstream USENET newsgroup which should be available at any Internet
  site featuring USENET services.

  Now the second Yes. The Mongolia Society in Bloomington, Indiana
  established a WWW home page in Summer 1995. The WWW homepage gives
  information about the Mongolia Society and its activities. The
  Mongolia Society URL is:  The author
  of this site, Mitch Rice, is very active in collecting, bundling and
  updating Mongolia-related Internet documents, references to other WWW
  home pages on Mongolia and Tuva, gopher servers and single documents
  on Mongolia in the Mongolia WWW Virtual Library, the URL being:

  Now the third Yes. The Mongolian Internet provider Magicnet, the URL
  being: provides news about Mongolia and even as a
  daily download of ``Today'' articles. ``Today'', or ndr in
  Mongolian, is the most important newspaper in Mongolia. For reading
  the articles, a special font is provided which can be loaded into
  Microsoft Windows environments.

  Now the fourth Yes.  Recently, many more Web sites on Mongolia have
  emerged, some of them with a focus on travel, others with a focus on
  Southern (Inner) Mongolia, again others focussing on Chinggis Khan and
  his spiritual heritage.  Instead of including all references here I
  wish to redirect all requests to the Mongolia WWW Virtual Library.

  Now the fifth Yes.  In November 1993, the first gopher server offering
  dedicated information on Mongolia started working. It was located at
  Free University, Berlin, Germany, and could be reached via (do not try
  that anymore, that is history now!): gopher .

  This gopher server used to offer the Infosystem Mongolei featuring a
  small but growing collection of articles, maps, legal documents and
  software related to Mongolia.  From early 1995 on, this gopher server
  was supposed to migrate to a WWW site, but, alas! due to a handful of
  reasons this aim could not be achieved before spring 1996.

  In its present phase, the Infosystem Mongolei - WWW site is to a
  certain yet small extent still a mirror of the former gopher site but
  soon the former gopher site will only be recognizable as its root, not
  as its substance any more.

  New technologies are constantly advancing and create new opportunities
  for publishing documents which seemed to be ``unpublishable'' due to
  technical constraints. The new WWW site supports Chinese characters in
  its documents eliminating effectively the need for dedicated software
  on the users' side.

  The Infosystem Mongolei - WWW URL is: http://userpage.fu- You can receive announcements about new articles,
  updates etc. if you send a mail to with
  the request to be included in the mailing list.

  2.2.  Is there an Internet or e-mail link to Mongolia?

  The first e-mail link in Mongolia came into existence in
  January/February 1995 and was not yet a continuous (i.e. 24 h/day)
  operation but it seemed to work. It is still active and organized by a
  commercial service provider, Datacom Co., Ltd. Mongolia. The address
  is: and requests to this address will most certainly
  be answered by Bataa, the system operator. There are various types of
  service charges. First, one has to open an account which is between
  USD 20.-- and USD 100.-- depending on whether one is a private or an
  institutional user. Then there is a monthly charge (starting with USD
  5.-- / month), and in addition there is a volume charge for every kB
  of data which is 30 cents. Despite these various charges, the
  operation via e-mail is by far the cheapest because fax and DX
  telephone costs are tremendous.

  In 1999, many Internet providers have mushroomed at least in
  Ulaanbaatar, and there are now too many Internet Cafs as can be
  included here; they are easily locatable by their huge billboards like
  the ones near the National University and the Baga Torog, the Small
  Ring Street with Sxbaatar Square at its centre. Fares seem to be
  around T1600.-- per hour, which is rather modest. The occasional
  traveller to Ulaanbaatar can thus afford to stay in touch with home.

  In addition, the Academy of Sciences which used to have its own
  connection (UUCP) to the Internet via Dubna, Russia, has switched to
  magicnet, too, in summer 1996, but this is history, and recently the
  Academy can be reached via: for the Computer Centre
  of the Academy. The other institutes which used to have an address at
  Dubna are migrating too, and their new addresses will be provided in
  due course.

  Inner Mongolia University can be accessed by the URL

  Inner Mongolia Polytechnical University can be accessed by the URL

  By information of February 4, 1996, Buryatia can be reached via e-
  mail. For first contact, you may communicate to
  (Communicated by Darima Socktoyeva, February 1996)

  2.3.  Is there an IDD (International Direct Dialing) telephone link to

  Yes, there is the possibility to place IDD (International Direct
  Dialing) telephone calls to Mongolia. The country code is ++976.

  2.3.1.  What are the area codes within Mongolia?

  Available  area codes are:

                     Ulaanbaatar                   01
                     Darxan                       037
                     Dornod, Qobalsan            061
                     Arxanga                     073
                     Bayan-lgi                  071
                     Bayanxongor                  069
                     Bulgan                       067
                     Gow'-Alta                   065
                     Gow'-Smber                  075
                     Darxan-Uul                   037
                     Dornogow'                    063
                     Dundgow'                     059
                     Zawxan                       057
                     Orxon                        035
                     wrxanga                   055
                     mngow'                     053
                     Sxbaatar                    051
                     Slng                      049
                     Tw                          047
                     Uws                          045
                     Xowd                         043
                     Xwsgl                      041
                     Xnti                       039
                     Baganuur Drg              031
                     Nalax Drg                033

  At present the telephone system in Ulaanbaatar is under reconstruction
  which implies that certain numbers are changed. Ulaanbaatar used to
  have 5-digit telephone numbers until 1992. Those numbers which then
  began with a 2 are usually converted by placing a 3 in front of the
  leading digit. Other numbers were changed later. Some numbers still
  retain the 5-digit order.

  2.4.  How to reach Inner Mongolia?

  Inner Mongolia can be reached via China. The country code is 86, the
  area code for Huhhot is (0)471 (skip the leading 0 when dialing from
  abroad). In 1995, there was a change in the telephone system of
  Huhhot, and a ``9'' must now be included after the first digit. So, a
  number like 454433 becomes now 4954433.

  2.5.  How to reach Buryatia and Kalmykia?

  Buryatia can be reached via Russia. The country code is ++7 but there
  are two city codes for Ulan Ude: 3012 for 6-digit telephone numbers,
  30122 for 5-digit telephone numbers.

  Kalmykia is also reached via Russia, its area code is 847 and a
  district Code may appear between it and your local numbers.

  2.6.  Are there mobile (cellular) phone services available in Mongo

  Yes, a service provider named ``MobiCom'' provides cellular phone
  services (GSM standard) within Ulaanbaatar and a 35-km range around
  the Capital as well as Darxan and rdnt. You can take your Siemens,
  National Panasonic or other mobile phone to Ulaanbaatar and get a
  service contract (with chip card) there. The initial fee is hefty
  (around USD 200.-- or USD 300.--) and the airtime price per minute is
  around USD .50. Monthly fee used to be USD 50.-- but was reduced to
  approximately USD 30.-- with the arrival of a competitor, SkyTel (see
  below).  MobiCom numbers begin with 99-11, followed by a four-digit
  subscriber's number. Dialling from abroad requires the sequence
  +976-99-11-subscriber.  There is no further area code between the
  country code and the cell phone number.

  Contact MobiCom Corporation, tel. 312222, or send a fax before going
  there (+976-1-314041) if you want to use their service.

  Another mobile phone company which started business in 1999 is SkyTel.
  Their telephone numbers begin with 96-16. SkyTel rates seem to be more
  competitive than MobiCom's.

  Both MobiCom and SkyTel have their offices in the immediate
  neighbourhood behind the Central Post Office west of Sxbaatar Square.

  2.7.  Are there Mongolian radio broadcasts?

  The question has two possible basic meanings. First of all, we can ask
  whether there are radio broadcasts in Mongolia. Then we can ask
  whether there are Mongolian language radio broadcasts abroad. Both
  questions can be answered positively.

  Mongolia has a domestic radio service, both wireless and wire, as well
  as television. Besides the domestic radio service, there is also an
  international shortwave service.

  The radio in Ulaanbaatar is mainly based on a wire-distributed system
  with loudspeakers in virtually every urban househould. In some areas
  there is only one channel available while other areas feature two
  channels which are propagated with long waves and detected with very
  simple sets: two channel buttons (with the more sophisticated sets;
  the simple ones do without), volume control, that's it. If one does
  not want to listen, one pulls the plug; otherwise it's Plug and Play.

  These radio sets, called `boxes' (xarcag in Mongolian) are available
  in the department store but where ever you go you would inevitably run
  into the soft background of these ever-present voices, especially at
  offices, workplaces etc. The movie ``Argamshaa'' has a scene where an
  empty apartment is shown with just the radio being switched on.

  Recently, at least one independent FM radio station took up operation.

  Mongolian television is a complex story: the state-run television can
  mainly be received in Ulaanbaatar, but in recent years many satellite
  channels mushroomed. It is now possible to watch MTV. Besides these
  new stations, Mongolian television has also diversified: There is now
  Ulaanbaatar City Television which even broadcasts on Monday when the
  state-run television station habitually has its day off. More details
  on television schedules and broadcast history can be found in an
  article by John W. Williams, Mass Media in Post-Revolution Mongolia
  (in Infosystem Mongolei).

  International broadcasts on short wave by Radio Ulaanbaatar can be
  heard daily in English and Mongolian.  The frequencies given here are
  last winter's schedule but appearantly there are not many changes so
  these can be tried:

          Time (UTC)             Frequencies    Direction
           0300-0330         9960, 12000kHz     Asia
           0910-0940         9960, 12000kHz     Asia
           1445-1515         7530, 9950kHz      Asia
           1930-2000         4080, 7530kHz      Europe and Asia

  A more detailed list which is probably not up-to-date gives
  information on the languages used by Radio Ulaanbaatar, schedule
  effective from September 24, 1995 to March 26, 1996 (Do not feel
  shocked to see the year 1996 there. The frequencies do not seem to
  change over the years.)

   Language     Target Area      Weekday   Time UTC    Frequencies, kHz

   Mongolian    East Asia        Daily     1020-1050    12085,9960,990
                Siberia          Daily     1250-1320    9950,7350,990
   English      Australia        Daily     0910-0940   12000,9960
                South Asia       Daily     1445-1515    9950,7530
                Europe           Daily     1930-2000    7530,4080
                North America    Daily     0300-0330    12000,9960
   Russian      Far East         12.45.7   0945-1015    12085,9960
                Siberia          .23.567   1410-1440    9950,7530
                Europe           1.32.67   1700-1730    7530,4080
   Japanese     East Asia        Daily     1120-1150    12085,9960
                                 ......7   1200-1230    12085
   Chinese      East Asia        Daily     1050-1120   12085,9960,990
                Asia             Daily     1330-1400   9950,7530,990

  Address:   Radio Ulaanbaatar, CPO Box 365, Ulaanbaatar 13, Mongolia

  The reception is usually fairly weak (as reported repeatedly and
  backed up by own experience).

  2.8.  What about Electricity Supply?

  All these electric things are mentioned here. Do they operate on
  batteries? No, of course not. The standard electrical voltage of
  Mongolia is 220V, 50 cycles/second, and is supplied via Russian-style
  electricity outlets. The connector pins are round, usually with a
  diameter of 4mm, so squeezing modern German 5mm plugs into Mongolian
  sockets will break the socket. Either retrofit your wiring with so-
  called European plugs (4mm, no earthing connector), or use adapters,
  or modify or replace the wall outlet.

  Electricity is available in the cities of Mongolia as well as in amag
  centres and larger villages; in the countryside however, solar-driven
  batteries are extremely useful.

  Prepare yourself for brown-outs (unstable electricity supply) and
  black-outs (complete electricity failure) at unregular intervals for
  everything between fractions of a second and several hours.

  3.  Mongolia - Land, People, Language

  3.1.  Where do Mongolians live?

  Mongolians live in:

    Mongolia proper, the huge, land-locked country between China and
     the Siberian part of the Russian Federation (see also the CIA --
     The World Fact Book -- Mongolia, URL

    Southern Mongolia, or Inner Mongol Autonomous Region which
     politically belongs to China;

    There are about 600,000-700,000 Mongols living in western Liaoning
     province. Most of them are Kharchin Mongols and the land they are
     living formerly called Zosot Aimag. Now there are still two Mongol
     Autonomous Counties in Liaoning;

    There are about 150,000 Mongols living in western Jilin province.
     Most of them are Khorchin Mongols. They form one Mongol autonomous
     county there;

    There are about 160,000 Mongols living in southwest Heilongjiang
     province. Most of them are Khorchin Mongols.  There is one Mongol
     autonomous county in Heilongjiang.  However, there are also four or
     five thousands of Kalmyks (Oirat) living in Yimin County (formerly
     the Ikh Mingan Banner). They were moved to the present area in
     early 18th century by the Qing government;

    Buryatia, direct north of Mongolia proper, south and south-east of
     Lake Baikal. Buryatia is an Autonomous Republic, the capital is
     Ulaan-d (Ulan-Ude) (see also Buryatia Fact File in Infosystem

    An important number of Mongols who are known as Kalmyks live in
     Russia in Kalmykia, the capital being Elista.  Kalmyks are also
     known as Oirats;

    In Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, there are also Kalmyks
     holding strong ties with their brethren in Kalmykia. Yet even among
     the Oirats, groups are differentiated which has a strong political
     repercussion even today. There are also some Chahar Mongols in
     Xinjiang, and they may not consider themselves belonging to the
     mainstream Oirat, but be more interested in Inner Mongolia;

    In Qinghai (modern Chinese name of what used to be known as Huhnuur
     or Koko-Nuur in old maps - which means Blue Lake in Mongolian and
     Chinese, being the Amdo region of Tibet) there are several
     communities of Mongolians and their descendants. They can be
     divided into two groups: 1. Mongols to the west of Xxnuur (Prince
     Lubsandanjin's group), i.e. Haixi Tibetan and Mongolian autonomous
     prefecture. They speak good Mongolian (Hoshot dialect). 2. The
     Mongols in Henan prefecture, i.e. those who earlier belonged to
     Prince Chagaandanjin, now speak Tibetan, but are still regarded and
     officially recognized as Mongolians;

    In north Gansu there is a Mongol community which is largely of a
     mixed Khalkha-Hoshot origin. Some of the were descendants of
     Khalkha refugees fled Mongolia in the late twenties and early
     thirties of the 20th century;

     These groups deserve mentioning because they do not think they are
     living in `Chinese' provinces, but living in their original
     homeland. Jungaria is particularly important, it is also the
     homeland of the Kalmyks and Mongols in Germany and USA;

    There are about 60,000 Mongols in Henan province, mainly
     concentrated around Nanyang Prefecture. They are descendants of the
     Mongol army during the Yuan dynasty. They do not speak Mongolian
     any more, but politically they are considered Mongols;

    A significant number of Mongolians live dispersed in other Chinese
     provinces. Some of them form their own nationalities, e.g. the
     Dagurs, the Dongxiang (Sarts), the Bao'an etc. with languages being
     quite distant from modern Mongolian (cf. below);

    Small communities of an ancient Mongol tribe named Moghols live in
     Afghanistan. Their language spoken today has only little in common
     with Xalx or Qaxar Mongolian;

    There is also a worldwide somewhat scattered community of Mongol
     scholars, students and professionals living in many countries from
     America to New Zealand.  About 500 or more Mongols live in Germany.
     Many of them came to Germany during the existence of the German
     Democratic Republic which is now united with the Federal Republic
     of Germany;

    A significant number of Kalmyks became expatriated during World War
     II. Having the status of Displaced Persons (DP) they were relocated
     to Munich, Germany immediately after the war from where many of
     them went on to the United States of America where they settled in
     New Jersey and formed the nucleus of the present Kalmyk community
     in the US;

  3.2.  What Happened When? A Chronological View at Mongolian History

  An overview of Mongolian history is given here in tabular manner.
  There are still many gaps in this list which are to be filled later.
  This is a starter, and should actually be accompanied by the notorious
  Site under Construction warning. Since this is an overview only,
  neither all geographical nor all personal names can be explained and
  commented in detail here. The reader interested in in-depth
  information is kindly requested to consult history books on Mongolian
  history; an introductory bibliography (see also the last item of this
  FAQ) can be found at SROM - Suggested Readings on Mongolia.

  Speaking in geopolitical terms, the epicentres of Mongolian history
  are the conquest of Central Asia in the 13th century, the Golden Horde
  (m. altan orda) in today's Russia lasting to the beginning of the 16th
  century, the comparatively shortlived Il Khanate (from 1220 to ca.
  1350) and the Yuan Khanate (dynasty, ulus) in China (from 1279 to
  1368), and, by the point of view of the Golden Horde, East Mongolia
  which is more or less identical with modern Mongolia and Inner
  Mongolia. This very brief sketch does not contain the history of
  Mongolians in India, nor many other contacts between Mongolia and the
  West. Huge volumes have been written about every single of these
  subjects, and the researcher who wants to fully understand by own
  reading of historical sources the panorama of Mongolian history has to
  master, besides Mongolian, a range of about a dozen totally different
  languages, from Latin to Chinese as geographical poles, with Arabian,
  Persian, Turkish, Armenian etc. etc. in between.  Few scholars have
  ever achieved this first source knowledge, which is one of the reasons
  why we have no all-encompassing history of the Mongols out of the
  hands of one author alone.

  At this point the onset of this historical overview coincides with
  Khabul Khan's activities. Neither the early Hunnu (Xiongnu) nor the
  East Turkic empires are included here.

        Khabul Khan unites the Mongxol and forms a tribal group.

     around 1167
        Birth of Temujin, grandson Khabul Khan's, who will later receive
        the name Chinggis.

     around 1195
        Temujin reigns the Mongxol and is entitled Khan besides
        receiving the name Chinggis.  The etymology of this name could
        not yet be clarified in a satisfactory manner.

        At the Onon river, clean leaders hold an assembly (m. xuriltai)
        at which Chinggis Khan is confirmed as the leader of the Mongol

        Mongols invade Xixia, also known as Tangut.

        Beijing falls to Mongols.

        Mongol campaign towards the West; Karakitai falls in 1218;
        Buchara and Samarkand fall in 1220. The latter date is
        considered by some as the initial year of the Il Khanate.

        Mongols beat a united army of Qipchak Turks (Cumans) and
        Russians at the Kalka river (enters the Sea of Azov near Zhdanov
        via the Kal'mius river); modern name Kal'qik, it is a tributary
        to the Kal'mius river, but some sources give the name Kalec and
        point to the modern city of Taganrog as its mouth); this date is
        considered by some as the beginning of the Golden Horde.

        Death of Chinggis Khan. Fall of the Tangut.

        Election of gdi as Great Khan.

        The Secret History of the Mongols probably written in this year,
        if not 12 years later.  Marking the onset of Mongolian
        literature, the Secret History of the Mongols of which no truly
        original text is preserved (only a transcription of the
        Mongolian language with Chinese characters survived) is at the
        same time Mongolia's first history, her first genealogy and her
        first epos. Besides that, it is as well a piece of poetry as a
        piece of lore; until today it is a keystone of Mongolian

        Battle of Liegnitz marking the westernmost expansion of the
        Mongol empire. Death of gdi.

        John of Plano Carpini travels to Mongolia.

        Begin of the campaigns against Korea.

        William Rubruk travels to the Mongols and is sent to Karakorum.
        Carpini's and Rubruk's travelogues belong to the earliest
        western sources on medieval Mongolia.

        Death of Batu, first Khan of the Golden Horde.

        Bagdad conquered by Hlg.

        Death of Mngk.

        Death of Hlg, the first Il Khan.

        Death of Brk, Khan of the Golden Horde.

        Khubilai adopts Chinese dynastic title Yuan.

        First attempt to conquer Japan.

        End of Song resistance against Mongols is considered the
        founding date of the Yuan dynasty, or Yuan Ulus.

        Second attempt to conquer Japan. Fleet defeated prior to landing
        in Japan by storms praised by Japanese as ``Winds of Godly
        power'' - kamikaze.

        Mongols defeated in Java.

        Rabban Sauma (also known as Bar Sawma) sent to Europe by Il Khan

        zbg becomes the last powerful Mongol ruler of the Golden

        Death of Abu Sa'id, the last Il Khan of Hlg's line, probably
        by poisoning. Beginning decline of the Il Khanate.  No new ruler
        powerful enough to govern the whole Khanate emerges. Within a
        few years, the Il Khanate collapses.

        The Yuan rule in China collapses and yields to the Ming dynasty.

        Sheikh Ahmad becomes last Khan of the Golden Horde.

        Sheikh Ahmad's troups defeated by Mengli Girai.

        The peace between Lituania and Russia is considered as the end
        of the Golden Horde.

        Alexander of Lituania has Sheikh Ahmad executed.

        rdn Zuu founded.

        Altan Khan awards the title of Dalai Lama to the Tibetan priest
        Bsod-nams Rgya-mcho.  Eastern Mongolia embraces Tibetan

        Ligdan Khan becomes last of the Mongolian Great Khans.

        Mongolian rulers fail to  recognize Ligdan Khan's attempts to
        unify the Mongolian tribes; at Ligdan's death in 1634 even the
        remaining Caxar flee; the collapse of Mongolian power leads to
        Manchu claims over southern and east Mongolian territory which
        will now be called ``Inner Mongolia''.

        Ming toppled with Mongolian assistance; Qing dynasty founded.

        Lifan Yuan founded. The equivalent of the ``India Office'' in
        some aspects, it was responsible for Mongolian, Tibetan, Uighur
        and Russian affairs.

     around 1651
        Ix Xr probably founded as a nomadic monastery.

        Zanabazar invents Soyombo script.

        Manchu-Russian Treaty of Nerchinsk. Russian border defined.

        Council of Dolon nor. Xalx Mongol rulers submit formally to the
        Manchu Court.

        Final organization of the Lifan Yuan.

     around 1779
        Ix Xr becoming settled.

        End of Qing Dynasty. 8th Yebcundamba Xutugtu enthroned as Head
        of Autonomous Mongolia.

        Treaty of Kyakhta. Russia and China maintain various privileges
        in Autonomous Mongolia (the third partner) without Autonomous
        Mongolia being able to decide her own territorial issues.

        Baron of Ungern-Sternberg in Xalx.

        Provisional Revolutionary People's Government in Xalx.

        Death of Sxbaatar, revolutionary hero of modern Mongolia.

        Death of the 8th (and last) Zebcundamba Xutugtu. Foundation of
        the Mongolian People's Republic (MPR; in Mongolian: BNMAU, Bgd
        Naramdax Mongol Ard Uls); first national assembly, Ardyn Ix
        Xural or Great People's Hural held. rg (Urga) renamed

        Battle of Xalxyn Gol between Japanese-Manchukuo and Soviet-
        Mongolian forces.

        Inner Mongol Autonomous Region founded.
        Mongolian People's Republic joins UNO; membership strongly
        supported by India.

        Mongolian People's Republic becomes COMECOM member.

     March 1986
        The 19th Party Congress of MAXN addresses issues of political
        openness and economic efficiency.  Similar to Gorbachev's
        reforms in the Soviet Union, this was originally intended as an
        attempt to revitalize socialism.  It was, in retrospect, the
        start of the end of socialism in Mongolia.

     December 1989
        The first opposition group, the Mongolian Democratic Union is
        formed on 10 December (now a national holiday).  This coincides
        with MAXN's Seventh Central Committee Plenum, which considered
        the need for greater reforms.

     January 1990
        Social-Democratic Movement (forerunner of the Mongolian Social-
        Democratic Party) founded.

     1990, March
        Mongolian demonstrators demand reforms, glasnost' and multi-
        party elections. New parties are founded by young Mongolian

        COMECON dismantled; Mongolia deeply hit by economical crisis.

     1992, Feb.
        Mongolian People's Republic adopts new constitution and is
        renamed Mongol Uls - Mongolia.

     1992, June
        Mongolia hold elections; the old Communist party MAXN wins with
        a comfortable majority of seats in the new parliament. Jasra
        becomes Prime Minister.

     1996, June
        Mongolia holds elections; the old Communist party MAXN is
        defeated, and the Democrats gain a landslide victory. They come
        close by one seat to the two-thirds majority needed for
        constitutional amendmends. New Prime Minister is nxsaxan.

     1997, May 18
        Bagabandi (MAXN) elected President of Mongolia, replacing P.

     1998, spring
        The Mongolian government, crippled by internal disputes, forces
        the cabinet to resign. Mongolia is effectively without
        government during several months.
     1999, December 24
        The recent experiences with nominations for Prime Ministers and
        their consequent repeated denial by the President leads to an
        amendment of the constitution; seven issues are discussed and
        passed in less than 40 minutes. Major items concern the quorum,
        or required presence of a simple majority of MPs, as well as the
        simplification of the nomination procedure for cabinet members.

     2000, July 2nd
        Mongolia holds parliamentary elections; the MAXN, after their
        first defeat in history, claims a stunning victory and gains 72
        of 76 seats in Parliament. The Democratic Parties are ---
        despite their positive record on inflation and economic
        stability --- punished by the voters for their mismanagement,
        their corruption scandals and their in-fighting between various
        factions culminating in the founding of a handful of new parties
        within months of the election.

  3.3.  Who is Who among the Khans?

  The genealogy of the founders of the Mongolian empires is given here;
  complete biographies exceed the scope of the FAQ and will be found in
  the Who is Who part of Infosystem Mongolei.

                    [I] Chinggis Khan (*1167? -- +1227)
                      |        |              [II]            |
    Four sons:      Jochi     Chaghatai     gdi          Tolui
                    (*1180?)                (*1186)         (*1190?)
                    (+1227)   (+1242)       (+1241)         (+1232/3)
                      |        |               |              |
                      |        |               |              |
                    Batu,     Chaghatai        |              |
                    2nd son    Khans         [III]            |
                    (*1207)                  Guyuk            |
                      |                                       |
                      |                                       |
                      |                                       |
                Khans of the                                  |
                Golden Horde                                  |
                     [IV]             [V]        |            |
                    Mngk          Khubilai   Hulegu       Ariq-Bk
                    (*1208)         (*1215)    (*1218)      (*?)
                    (+1259)         (+1294)    (+1265)      (+1266)
                                       |         |
                                      Yuan     Il Khans

            The Great Khans ruled in following chronological order:

            Chinggis Khan:  1206-1227
            gdi:         1229-1241
            Guyuk:          1246-1248
            Mngk:         1251-1259
            Khubilai:       1260-1294

  3.4.  How does the Mongolian National Flag look like, and what does it

  The Mongolian flag consists of three bands, red, blue, and red, of
  equal width. In the left red band there is the national symbol, called
  Soyombo. Its history dates back to the 17th century AD to the creation
  of the Soyombo script by Zanabazar (see also the paragraph on
  Mongolian writing below).

  The three-tongued flame on top symbolizes the nation's past, present
  and future prosperity (this and the following paragraph quoted from:
  This is Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar 1991), sun and crescent, immediately
  below the flame, are old Mongolian totems. The two triangles in the
  upper and lower part tell about the people's determination to uphold
  their freedom and independence.  The rectangles and walls stand for
  strength, uprightness and honesty. The Yin-Yang symbol in the center
  is interpreted in two ways: some see the unity of pairs of natural
  elements, fire and water, earth and sky, man and woman; others see two
  fishes standing for continuous movement since fishes neever sleep as
  they cannot close their eyes.

  In 1924 the first Great People's Hural (National Assembly) decided to
  crown the symbol with a 5-pointed star which was abolished with the
  new constitution of 1992.

  3.5.  How do Mongolians live? (Economy Basics)


  Pastoral Nomadism

  The prevailing Mongolian style of life is pastoral nomadism. Mongolia
  proper has an immense richness in livestock; the Five Species of
  Animal, as they are traditionally counted in Mongolian (tawun xoshuu
  mal) are sheep, goat, camel, horse and cattle.  Sheep deliver wool,
  goat and cattle deliver milk and meat, camel and cattle provide
  transport, and horses are used for riding.

  Between twice and four times a year a typical herders' family moves
  between a winter camp and a summer camp.

  Depending on the area (grasslands in the east, semi-desert and desert
  in the south (gobi literally means desert)) the composition of the
  livestock changes significantly.

  Traditionally, pastoral nomadism secures a kind of self-sufficient
  life; the wool is used to produce fabric and felt for the gr, the
  traditional Mongolian round tent (aka yurt); hides are processed into
  leather for all kinds of goods from boots to household ustensils; in
  the summer, milk is processed into dairy products; only surplus meat
  is traded against grain and rice. Only around one percent of
  Mongolia's surface is used as arable land for grain production.


  Industrialized Cities

  The nomadic type of economy is challenged by modern-day's industrial
  production with its typical and profound division of labour; the
  industrial society which prevails in the few major cities of Mongolia,
  Ulaanbaatar (being the capital), Darxan (in the north) and rdnt
  (the mining centre) is based on trade and the exploitation of natural
  resources like ores and coal; this economy is virtually detached from
  the countryside and was hit hardest during the economical crisis of
  the early 1990s.

  The rift between countryside and city is so big that food stores in
  Ulaanbaatar offer German jam, butter from New Zealand, cheese from
  Russia, mustard from Czechia, and juice from Poland (these are just
  examples), but virtually no products of Mongolian origin besides bread
  and sausage. Mongolia lacks the technical means to produce and
  transport dairy products in winter; with temperatures below -30
  centigrades milk and cheese have to be heated rather than to be
  cooled! As a consequence, relying on imported foodstuff without access
  to local resources is an expensive endeavour for the average city
  dweller stretching the family budget to its limits.


  Mongolian Economy in China

  In some areas (e.g. in Gansu and Yunnan) the population of Mongolian
  origin leads a sedentary life and engages in agricultural work.

  The life in Southern Mongolia (Inner Mongol Autonomous Region) is
  mainly determined by the industrialization which took place in the
  first quarter of the 20th century; big cities like Xxxot (Huhhot) and
  Baotou (the major metal-processing centre of Southern Mongolia) show
  little affinity to traditional Mongolian life.


  What Currency is used in Mongolia?

  The currency unit of Mongolia is named tgrg, conventionally rendered
  as Tugrik in western languages. One American dollar is roughly
  equivalent to anything from 1000 to 1080 tugrik (subject to daily
  fluctuation) in recent years. The currency symbol is a double-barred

  Inner Mongolia uses the Chinese Yuan (Renminbi or RMB). The Chinese
  banknotes carry inscriptions in five languages (Chinese, Mongol,
  Tibetan, Uighur and Zhuang).

  3.6.  Where to call in distress?

  Nobody hopes to run into emergency situations, but it is nonetheless
  good to know which telephone number to call in case of a case. In
  Ulaanbaatar, dial 101 for fire alarm, 102 for police, and 103 for
  medical emergencies.

  Ulaanbaatar is implementing a Japanese-style police system in the city
  with little police booths in the residential areas. At least for long-
  term residents it is advised to contact the nearest police booth and
  enquire for their telephone number.

  3.7.  Who speaks Mongolian?

  Virtually all citizens of Mongolia proper speak Mongolian. Some do not
  because they are either of Kazakh or other ethnic origin. Not all
  ethnic Mongols in Southern Mongolia do speak Mongol, many of them have
  switched to Chinese. Similar phenomena can be observed in Buryatia
  where many inhabitants speak Russian. The minor communities scattered
  over China (Dongxiang (cf. article in Infosystem Mongolei), Dagur,
  Eastern Yugur, Tuzu, Bao'an etc.)  and Afghanistan (Moghol) speak some
  very old varieties of Mongolian which have developed into proper
  languages in their own right. Some of these languages are not well
  documented. The Kalmyks speak a form of Mongolian known as Kalmyk
  which even developed its own modified form of writing known as ``Tod''
  or ``clear'' writing because it identifies vowels and some consonants
  (k/g, t/d) in an unambiguous manner.

  3.8.  What kind of a language is Mongolian?

  3.8.1.  Mongolian - Language

  Mongolian belongs to the Altaic family of languages showing structural
  (and partially lexical) similarities with languages of the Tungusic
  group of this family (e.g.  Manju) and the Turkic group of this family
  (e.g.  Turkish). Mongolian has strong vowel harmony: all vowels within
  one word and even all grammatical particles must be chosen from one of
  two vowel sets which are known as male and female or back and front
  vowels. Mongolian has a total of seven short vowels. There are also
  seven long vowels. The distinction between short and long vowels is
  essential as it alters the meaning: [tos] is ``grease, oil'' while
  [toos] is ``dust''. Besides simple short and long vowels there are
  also diphtongs which have duration values similar to long vowels. The
  stress is usually put on the first syllable if all syllables of a word
  are short; otherwise the stress is put on the first syllable carrying
  a long vowel. The set of consonants has many constraints: [r] may not
  occur at the beginning of a word. [f] only occurs in foreign loans and
  is frequently converted to [p]. [w] and [b] though phonetically
  different do not form an opposition on the phonological level. The
  same holds true for [c] and [q] ([c] as [ts]ar, [q] as [ch]ill) as
  well as [j] (as in [j]eep) and [z] (best described as fairly unvoiced
  [ds]). Both pairs are expressed by the same symbol in Classical
  writing and the development of different phonetical realisations is
  mainly due to vowel environment and dialect situation.  The consonants
  [k] and [g] are linked to vowel harmony.  In words containing back
  vowels, [k] changes to [x] and [g] becomes [G] (a voiced velar).
  Beginners frequently confuse the latter with something like a French

  3.8.2.  Mongolian - Grammar

  The grammar is fairly simple: all predicates are put at the end of the
  sentence resulting in a S.O.P. (subject - object - predicate)
  structure. There are no subordinate clauses in the sense of Indo-
  European languages.  Attributes are placed in front of the denominated
  entity.  Indo-European style subordinate clauses (Relativsatz, etc.)
  are resolved as attribute constructions. Verbs can be collated to form
  new meanings or expand or intensify the meaning of the main verb.
  Verbs occur in two distinct categories: 1) the ``genuine'' or finite
  verb forms finish phrases, serve as predicates and can be compared to
  ordinary verbs of Indo-European languages; 2) all other verb forms, be
  they converbs (modifiers of other verbs), verbal nouns (usually
  translated as verbs but with the complete behaviour of nouns like the
  ability to form oblique cases) or the equivalents to participles and
  gerundial forms cannot be used to finish phrases. As a rule of thumb,
  a Mongolian phrase usually has numerous occurrences of verbs of the
  second class but only one finite verb at the end of the phrase. As an
  exception to this rule of thumb, under certain circumstances phrases
  may also end with a verbal noun as predicate. All grammatical
  functions and relations are expressed by suffixes which are ``glued''
  to the end of a root be it noun or verb hence the term ``agglutinative
  language''.  More than one suffix can be attached to a word: e.g.
  tsh ``bag''; tshs ``out of the bag''; tshs ``out of
  his/her bag''); bolgoomj ``care''; bolgoomjto ``with care'' ->
  careful (as adjective); bolgoomjtogoor ``acting with care'' -> doing
  something carefully (as adverb).

  The repetitive nature of similar endings has strongly influenced
  traditional lyrics which uses line alliterations and line-internal
  alliterations as a main element for structuring versed speech. The
  emphasized beginnings of words thus form a healthy offset to the
  grammatical suffices.

  3.8.3.  Mongolian - Writing

  Mongolian writing is a fairly complex topic. In the history of the
  written language, numerous scripts were either accepted from other
  cultures or domestically designed. The most important scripts are
  Uighur, Chinese, Phagsba, Soyombo and Cyrillic. Other scripts than
  these five were also employed at given times in history, e.g. Latin
  which had been used during the 1930s.  Mongolian Writing: Uighur

  The traditional Mongolian script is written in vertical lines from
  left to right, very much like an Arab page turned counter-clockwise by
  90 degrees. Though this script (called Uighur script because the
  Uighurs had used it first) has been the main vehicle of written
  Mongolian, a number of other writing systems have been and are being
  employed. The earliest documents still existing date back to the 13th

  Despite numerous other attempts to introduce different types of
  writing, this script has proven to be to most stable vehicle of
  written Mongolian. It was used up to the 1930s in Mongolia when it was
  first replaced with a short-lived Latin script (until 1938) and then
  replaced by a modified Cyrillic script in 1940.

  In Southern Mongolia or China's Inner Mongolia (Inner Mongol
  Autonomous Region, or wrr Mongol rt Zasax Oron) Uighur or
  Classical Mongolian writing is still the official writing system.

  Similar to the historical orthography of English, Classical Mongolian
  as it is used today contains a lot of phonological archaisms and
  historical features which make it sometimes not perfectly easy to
  learn but which offer valuable insight for linguists and provide
  enough of dialect neutrality for modern-day speakers from most
  Mongolian language areas.

  In the beginning of the 1990s, Mongolia was considering the return to
  the Classical script despite the heavy financial and social cost: New
  schoolbooks had to be compiled and many adults who were born after
  1940 must now learn a completely different writing system which does
  not only look different but which also represents a different
  historical development stage of the Mongolian language.  In 1992, A
  law was passed to the effect that from 1994 on Mongolian Classical
  script be the official writing of Mongolia again. Even the new
  constitution of Mongolia passed in 1992 was printed in Modern
  (Cyrillic) and Classical (Uighur) Mongolian (see the Constitution in
  Modern Mongolian, MLS-encoded and Constitution in Classical Mongolian,
  MLS-encoded, both in Infosystem Mongolei) but one year after this
  magic date nothing really changed substantially.  Mongolian Writing: Chinese

  Astonishing as it may sound, Chinese has been the writing of choice
  for important Mongolian documents during the 13th and 14th century.
  Chinese characters (a virtually canonical set of some 500 characters)
  were used according to their pronounciation. Some characters failed to
  render the pronounciation and were prefixed (or affixed) with
  modifiers, small Chinese characters indicating whether the main
  consonant (or `initial') of the syllable had to be pronounced in a
  velar manner of not. The most important document written with Chinese
  characters is the Secret History of the Mongols. It was an achievement
  of the late 19th and the early 20th century to decypher the text and
  restore its original Mongolian shape. The problems linked to this work
  are manyfold: One has to understand Early Mandarin (the name of the
  specific form of Chinese used for this script) phonology, and one has
  to understand words which appear only in this text but no other
  source, not even the famous Hua Yi Yi Yu or Barbarian Glossaries,
  Chinese dictionaries of the Middle Ages dealing with a number of
  Central and North-East Asian languages.  The most promiment scholars
  contributing to the understanding of these texts were the Japanese K.
  Shiratori, the German E. Haenisch, the Japanese Hattori, to name just
  a few.

  Using Chinese characters for writing Mongolian had the big advantage
  that a message encoded in this system was obscure to a Chinese
  messenger but perfectly transparent to a Mongolian listener.  Despite
  this advantage of privacy, the system ceased to be used in the early
  14th century.  Mongolian Writing: Phagsba

  The Phagsba or Square Writing was developed in the 13th century by a
  famous Tibetan monk and scholar, Phagsba. Designed as the Unified
  Writing of the Yuan (emphasis through capitalisation added by OC), it
  combined the features of Tibetan (e.g., rich consonant inventory) with
  the features of Chinese (vertical writing direction) and Mongolian
  (additional vowels were provided). Despite its functionality, it could
  not establish itself properly and came largely out of use after the
  fall of the Yuan dynasty.

  The Phagsba or Square Writing is a valuable research tool because 14th
  century dictionaries give us a deep insight in the phonetics and
  phonology of Mongolian (and, by the way, Chinese) of those days.  Mongolian Writing: Soyombo

  Another writing the design of which was politically motivated was the
  Soyombo script designed by the monk and scholar Zanabazar in 1686. It
  is of intriguing beauty and complexity yet never really succeeded as
  script for everyday use. The only symbol of that script which can be
  seen literally everywhere is the Soyombo symbol. More about the
  Soyombo script and symbol can be found at the Soyombo Script page of
  Infosystem Mongolei.

  Mongolian Writing: Horizontal Square, or Xwt Drwljin

  Zanabazar created a second writing system which looks very much like a
  horizontal version of the Phagsba script, and indeed it shares the
  same Tibetan roots. Horizontal Square Writing has a close resemblance
  to many Tibetan characters, and similar to the Soyombo alphabet, it
  shows the same typical arrangement of short and long vowels, together
  with basically the same order of consonants.

  Only a few documents in Horizontal Square Writing have survived, and
  the script was never popularized.  Mongolian Writing: Tibetan

  In the last centuries, monks at the Gandan monastery in Ulaanbaatar
  used Tibetan letters to  write Mongolian texts, thus continuing
  Phagsba's and Zanabazar's tradition with simplified means: they did
  not create an extra alphabet which was based on Tibetan principles,
  they directly used the Tibetan letters to spell out Mongolian words.

  Documents surviving contain several Tibetan-Mongolian dictionaries of
  religous terms.  Mongolian Writing: Cyrillic

  In 1940, The then Mongolian People's Republic started using a modified
  Cyrillic alphabet which was extended by two vowel symbols,  and ,
  the female counterparts of [o] and [u]. The orthography of Cyrillic
  Mongolian is based on the Xalx dialect. Despite a few orthographic
  instabilities, the Cyrillic system is the major vehicle of written
  communication today in Mongolia; virtually all newspapers, book etc.
  are printed in Cyrillic letters. Since the system is based on the Xalx
  dialect, it is not as transparent for speakers from other Mongolian
  areas if compared with the Classical script; on the other hand, the
  clearly phonemical notation makes it easy to understand written
  materials read aloud, and it allows easy searching of dictionaries.
  Despite the strong political overtones around its inception in the
  1940s, the Cyrillic writing has proven to be useful and practical. Due
  to its structural similarity to Latin, the Cyrillic script could be
  integrated into the world of modern information technology (printing
  equipment, data interchange, computing, etc.)  which further promoted
  the solid standing of Cyrillic writing in present day's Mongolia.

  3.9.  Is Mongolian easy to learn?

  From the introduction about the Mongolian language we can draw the
  following conclusions on whether Mongolian is or is not easy to learn.

  Since it is an SOP language its grammar may pose problems to speakers
  of most European languages and Chinese. It should however be much
  easier for learners with a background in Japanese, Korean, Turkish,
  Manchu or similar languages.

  Since the assumptions on word classes ('parts of speech') sometimes
  differs thoroughly from most Indo-European languages, problems may
  arise in this field (When does an ``adjective'' need declension? Is it
  really what we call an adjective?).

  The pronounciation does not pose enormous difficulties.  Although
  there are no completely unfamiliar sounds for speakers of most other
  languages tutoring is strongly recommended during the initial phase of
  acquiring phonetics and phonology.

  The Classical writing system should be learned under a teacher's or
  tutor's guidance - it is sometimes a bit tricky to master it on one's
  own. The number of language training materials is not overwhelming,
  dictionaries are only available for a few languages (notably Russian,
  Chinese and English; but also German and Japanese. See the document by
  Christopher Kaplonski and Oliver Corff: SROMDIC - Suggested Readings
  on Mongolia - Dictionaries in Infosystem Mongolei) The final key to
  success is practice, practice, practice. Expose yourself to as much
  printed and audio material as possible.

  3.10.  Are the Mongolian dialects an obstacle for the foreigner learn
  ing Mongolian?

  The language[s] in Mongolia and Southern Mongolia are virtually the
  same: Mongolian is spoken in Mongolia and Southern Mongolia, but it is
  spoken in its Xalx (Khalkha) form in Mongolia but spoken in its Chahar
  (Cahar) dialect form in Southern (Inner) Mongolia. Besides Chahar,
  there are other dialects: Alashan in the western regions of Southern
  Mongolia, and the forms spoken in Hulunbuir (eastern part of Southern
  Mongolia). Nonetheless, Chahar is the quasi-standard of Southern

  Differences can be found in lexicon, pronounciation and grammar. The
  differences in lexicon differs mostly in the realm of foreign loans:
  Chinese words are more popular in Southern Mongolia (e.g. biyanji for
  editor) which is redaktor in Russian-influenced Xalx; both try to re-
  introduce the genuinely Mongolian term nairuulagq.  Other words,
  especially of theoretical and political nature, are often formed after
  completely different roots.

  The pronounciation differs in the case that some sounds which were not
  separated in the Classical Mongolian writing (like z) are now
  pronounced like z in Mongolia and j in Southern Mongolia. This is a
  general rule which is influenced by the following vowel, i.e.  whether
  a i or something different follows.

  Grammar is occasionally distinct because elder forms are sometimes
  preserved in Southern Mongolian speech.

  In general, it is not too difficult to speak Xalx in Southern Mongolia
  since Xalx is recognized as the prestigious lingua franca of the
  International Mongol community. It is however slightly more difficult
  to understand Chahar if one has only enjoyed Xalx training.

  The differences are aggravated by the usage of different writing
  systems. Southern Mongolia keeps using the Classical Mongolian writing
  (which is very conservative, also for the grammatical endings of verbs
  etc.) while in Mongolia in the 1940s an extended Cyrillic alphabet was
  introduced. The extensions were necessary to accommodate the Mongolian
  vowels  and  which are usually indicated by two dots over o and u in

  4.  Mongolia - Administrative

  4.1.  I want to study in Mongolia. Where do I establish contact?

  Contact your university. They may already have an exchange program
  with Mongolia without your knowledge. If this fails, contact your
  national academic exchange service (e.g. the DAAD in Germany or the
  JFPS in Japan).

  4.2.  Where do I establish first contact?  I want to work in Mongolia,
  e.g. teach a foreign language.

  Here as above it is recommended to contact your university or your
  national academic exchange service.  You are strongly discouraged to
  go to Mongolia posing as a foreign language teacher if you are not one
  for purposes other than teaching, e.g. missionary work. While in the
  beginning of the 1990s it was still possible to do so, anyone not
  being sent by an acknowledged academical institution or governmental
  body must now show certificates proving his/her qualification as a

  In addition, every foreigner staying within Mongolia for more than a
  month has to register with police.  In case of foreign experts,
  foreign personnel etc.  the employer or host will certainly assist.
  Not registering has consequences when leaving the country. Regularly
  you get fined (anything near USD100.--) and you may risk missing your
  plane/train. You may even appear with your nationality and name
  spelled out in full in a newspaper article.  Not registering is not
  worth the trouble.

  4.3.  I want to study in Inner Mongolia. Where do I establish contact?

  The answer here is the same as above. Only one difference must be
  observed: Politically being a part of China, all programs dealing with
  Inner Mongolia are usually in the Chinese section or department.

  4.4.  Where do I establish first contact?  I want to work in Inner
  Mongolia, e.g. teach a foreign language.

  The answer here is the same as above. Only one difference must be
  observed: Politically being a part of China, all programs dealing with
  Inner Mongolia are usually kept in the Chinese section or department
  of the exchange organization or university.

  4.5.  I want to travel to Mongolia. What kind of travel documentation
  do I need?

  You must obtain a visa at a Mongolian embassy or consulate. (See below
  for a list of embassies / consulates). In order to obtain a visa for
  stays of one month or longer you must produce an invitation issued by
  a) a Mongolian private person or b) a Mongolian institution. This may
  be a university.

  It is principally possible to apply for a visa directly at the airport
  Buyant-Uxaa, at least when flying in from Beijing. The applicant
  should carry an invitation (see above) and is usually only granted a
  stay of one month. Two passport photographs are required and USD 50.--
  are levied.

  Once you have entered Mongolia various regulations on registering with
  police may apply depending on the length and nature of your stay.
  Registration is mandatory when staying for longer than one month.  It
  is more than highly recommended to observe the registration procedure
  since you may risk being denied exit from the country upon presenting
  your passport at the airport without the proper police registration
  stamps. You also risk being fined somewhere in the area of USD 100.--
  upon exiting Mongolia when disobeying the registration rule. You may
  even risk being mentioned in a newspaper article on foreigners
  violating Mongolian laws (like: ndr, Jan. 6, 2000, p. 6: Gadaadyn
  79 Irgn juram zrqj).

  Persons staying on official visa (category ``A'') should turn to their
  official host (university, government ministry, etc.)  for assistance.
  For details, ask your Mongolian embassy when receiving the visa.

  The registration is done at the National Civilian Information and
  Registration Centre (Irgdin Mdllin Brtglin Ulsyn Tw,
  abbreviated IMBUT) in the North of Ulaanbaatar at Zuun Alt. Every
  taxi driver knows this place name.

  Registration requires paying 500.-- Tugrik at the bank counter (Golomt
  Bank), ground floor. Then proceed to room 303 on the third floor,
  exchange your payment coupon against a form to fill in (asking your
  name, host institution, address in Mongolia, etc.) which must be
  filled in and handed to another counter in the same room. Do not
  forget to bring your passport and one photograph with you. The
  assistance of a Mongolian friend or colleague is invaluable in case
  language capabilities are overstretched when filling in the Mongolian
  form, which features, by the way, a question concerning the
  applicant's Mongolian language skills.

  4.6.  I want to travel to Inner Mongolia. What kind of travel documen
  tation do I need?

  You need a visa issued by the authorities of the People's Republic of
  China. Once in China (and Inner Mongolia) you'll be requested to
  register at a hotel etc. by using the forms available there. Various
  other procedures may apply depending on length and nature of your

  4.7.  I want to travel to Buryatia. What kind of travel documentation
  do I need?

  You need a visa issued by the authorities of the Russian Federation.
  Contact your local (usually former USSR) embassy.

  4.8.  I want to travel to Kalmykia. What kind of travel documentation
  do I need?

  You need a visa issued by the authorities of the Russian Federation.
  See above.

  4.9.  Where is the nearest embassy / consulate of Mongolia?

  There are not so many Mongolian embassies and consulates.  Most of
  them are accredited for several countries. The following list is very
  incomplete and remains to be completed with the readers' help.

  Since it is helpful to use a travel agency's services when applying
  for a visa this list contains also some information about travel
  agents. If you miss your favourite agent here then you can send the
  address to Infosystem Mongolei. The selection here is purely
  ``global'' (whatever is submitted gets published).

  Please note that the addresses, telephone numbers etc.  could not
  always be verified and counter-checked. They may be subject to change
  without notice. The editor of this FAQ tries to maintain all
  information in a state as correct as possible but relies on the
  contributors' accuracy.

  Mongolian Embassy in Australia
  There is no embassy in Australia. Australia is
  covered by the Mongolian Embassy in China, Beijing.

  Honorary Consul in Austria
  Mr. Johannes Stiedl
  Anhofstr. 65-67
  A-1130 Wien
  Tel.: ++ 43 1 8773353

  Mongolian Embassy in China
  No. 2 Xiu Shui Bei Jie
  Jian Guo Men Wai District
  Tel.: ++ 86 10 6532 1203
  Fax : ++ 86 10 6532 5045

  Mongolian Embassy in France
  5, Av. R. Schuman
  Tel.: (+33) 1 46 05 30 16    or
        (+33) 1 46 05 23 18

  Mongolian Embassy in Germany
  Siebengebirgsblick 4
  53844 Troisdorf
  Tel.: 02241-402727

  Auenstelle der Mongolischen Botschaft in Berlin
  Gotlandstr. 12
  10439 Berlin
  Tel.: 030-4469320

  Honorary Consul in Hong Kong
  Mr. Kwok Shiu Ming
  4 Sommerset Toad, Kowloon
  Hong Kong
  Tel.: ++ 852 338 9034
  Fax : ++ 852 338 0633

  Honorary Consul in Italy
  Mr. Aldo Colleoni
  viale XX Settembre, 37
  34126 Trieste
  Tel.:  040-362241
  Fax    040-363494
  telex  461138 CONMON1.

  Mongolian Embassy in Japan
  Pine Crest Mansion
  21-4, Kamiyamacho
  Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150
  Tel.: 03-3469-2088

  Mongolian Embassy in New Zealand
  New Zealand Embassy and Ambassador in Beijing are
  credited for NZ foreign affairs to Mongolia, while
  Mongolian embassies in Tokyo or Beijing handle
  matters between Mongolia and NZ. See China.

  Mongolian Embassy in Poland
  Ambasada Mongolii
  ul. Rejtana 15 lok. 16

  Tel./Fax: +48-22-484264

  Mongolian Embassy in the United Kingdom
  7 Kensington Court
  W8 5DL
  Tel: (0171) 937 5238
  Tel: (0171) 937 0150

  Mongolian Embassy in the USA
  2833 M Street, NW
  Washington, DC
  Tel: 202-333-7117

  Honorary Consul in Switzerland
  Stephan Bischofberger
  P.O.Box 173
  Limmatstr. 35
  8005 Zrich
  Fax : ++ 1 272 7924
  Tel.: ++ 1 272 4005

  According to the Swiss electronic telephone directory ETV,
  Mr. Bischofberger seems to be in charge of a travel
  agency named `Discovery Tours'.

  * Selected Travel Agents *

  Mongolian Tourism Corporation of America
  A joint venture between Zhuulchin
  and an American travel agency.
  Princeton Corporate Plaza
  1 Deer Park Drive, Suite M
  Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852
  Tel.: ++ 1 908-274-0088

  (This one seems to have contact with Zhuulchin, too)
  Princeton Corporate Center
  5 Independence Way, Suite 300
  Princeton, NJ 08540

  BOOJUM Expeditions
  14543 Kelly Canyon Road
  Bozeman, MT 59715 USA
  Toll-Free- US and Canada  1-800-287-0125
  Tel.: ++ 1 406-587-0125
  Fax : ++ 1 406-585-3474

  BOOJUM Expeditions has two URL's:   or

  P.O. Box 479
  Ulaanbaatar 13
  Tel/fax:  +976 1 323043
  Which can be reached from June to mid September every year.
  In the winter period reservations for tour operators and
  groups are with Jan Wigsten in Gotland:

  Eco Tour Production Ltd
  Burge i Hablingbo
  620 11 Havdhem
  Gotland, SCHWEDEN.
  tel 0498 487105
  fax +46 498 487115

  Nature Tour, PO Box 49/53, Ulaanbaatar
  or Baga Toiruu-10, Mongolian Youth Federation Bldg, Room 212
  Tel: 312392
  Fax: 311979

  They arrange for jeeps and drivers for those wanting to
  explore the country. Also, they run a ger hostel near Hara Horen.
  Mykel Board stayed there. It's somewhat expensive (about USD
  50.-- a day) but includes all meals and local sight-seeing.

  Beyond the range of the official state travel agency Zhuulchin there
  are now numerous private agencies operating in Mongolia. Their
  addresses are occasionally hard to come by but a good source is the
  World Tourism Handbook.

  5.  Mongolia - Tourism

  5.1.  How to travel to Mongolia?

  The principal ways to Mongolia are by train and by air.  The capital
  of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, is connected via the Transmongolian Railway
  to China and Buryatia. In Ulan Ude, capital of Buryatia, the
  Transsiberian Railway (leading from Moscow to the Russian Far East,
  Khabaravosk, Nakhodka etc.) connects to the Transmongolian Railway.
  Trains from Moscow to Beijing run once a week in each direction and
  take about five days for the whole trip.  There are also `local
  trains' between Irkutsk (rx) and Ulaanbaatar which take about 24
  hours one way.   Similar local trains run between Ulaanbaatar and
  Beijing.  Since the Transmongolian Railway sports only one track this
  is a bottleneck for railway traffic which results in these one
  train/week schedules.  Prices for train tickets vary between USD 200
  and USD 500.  It is not possible to state any exact amount because
  prices fluctuate, the currency exchange rates vary daily and pricing
  policies create different price tags depending on where the tickets
  are purchased.  The second feasible way to enter Mongolia is by air.
  Air transport is available between Buyant Uxaa (the international
  airport of Ulaanbaatar) and Beijing as well as Irkutsk, the latter
  with a weekly connect flight to Moscow (or should I say, it's a weekly
  flight to Moscow with a stop-over in Irkutsk?). These lines are served
  throughout the whole year. In summer, there are additional flights to
  Huhhot (Inner Mongolia) and Japan, the latter being served on a
  somewhat irregular basis.  Past experience has shown that these links
  were just chartered flights without a genuine ``schedule'' in the
  sense of the word. There are about four to six international passenger
  flights per week connecting Ulaanbaatar and the rest of the world.
  Links to other Central Asian regions are under consideration or
  offered on a seasonal basis such as a flight between Almaty /
  Kazakhstan and Mongolia. A new route has recently been opened between
  Buyant Uxaa and Seoul, Korea (spring 1996). The latest developments
  (fall 1996) include an air link between Buyant Uxaa / Ulaanbaatar and
  Germany, Berlin Schoenefeld (code SXF - important because there are
  two other public airports in Berlin: Tegel (TXL) and Tempelhof (THF)).
  The flights are scheduled on a weekly basis (Sunday: OM135 goes to
  Berlin, OM136 returns to Ulaanbaatar). There is a stop-over in
  Shcheremetyevo/Moscow and occasionally a fuel refill in Nowosibirsk.
  Prices for the return ticket start from appr. USD 700.-- (in winter)
  when bought in Berlin.

  Only the prices on the Ulaanbaatar / Beijing route are fairly
  constant: around USD 200.-- for a one-way ticket.  For almost all
  other destinations there are wildly varying ticket prices depending on
  where the ticket is bought and whether the client is entitled to
  special reductions (like being an official student at the Mongolian
  National University).

  5.2.  What kind of accommodation is available in Mongolia?

  In Ulaanbaatar there are some big hotels. One of them is a monument to
  Soviet-style luxury and lavishness: The ``Ulaanbaatar Zoqid Buudal''.
  Located next to the central square, it is ideal for travellers with a
  not so restricted budget. Price tags start at USD 60.- (or so) and the
  two dining rooms are frequently used by external guests when every
  other supply of food in Ulaanbaatar collapses. The next important
  hotel (near the Bogd Gegen Palace) is the Bayangol which was
  thoroughly revamped in 1992. Similar standard. The ``Chinggis Khan
  Hotel'' in Sansar (a district name in Ulaanbaatar) has been ``due to
  open soon'' since 1991 but did not do so until 1995. It used to be
  ``under construction'' and was temporarily managed by the Holiday Inn
  group, a Korean group (Lotte, I think) until it was finally taken over
  by a Mongolian enterprise. It offers good Western food and is
  virtually empty so that you can enjoy a very calm meal there. Service
  used to be good in the opening year as part of the personnel was
  trained in Munich, Germany, but has deteriorated significantly

  Small hotels for the traveller with a tight budget include the
  ``Stroitel'' (Russian: construction worker) which is north of the Ix
  Torog (Great Ring) Road close to the smaller monastery. A Mongolian-
  Chinese joint venture is the ``Manduhai'' hotel near the Ix Dlgr
  (Department Store). Clean rooms, simple furniture, but nice atmosphere
  and acceptable price tag. Other private hotels keep opening with the
  rise of the private sector. These offer similar prices (sometimes
  starting with USD 10.-- / day for a complete little flat) but the
  situations keeps changing so it is difficult to give names and
  addresses here.  New hotels open constantly; a nice choice is the
  ``Flower Hotel'' which is the former ``Altai Zoqid Buudal''. It is
  under Japanese management now.

  In the countryside the situation looks different. In the tourist spots
  there are ger camps with a complete infrastructure (restaurant gers,
  shower facilities etc.)  and they are quite convenient because they
  ensure a minimum of reliability for the traveller. Some of these camps
  are still operated by Juulqin while new camps are operated by private
  companies. Once leaving the tourist paths the situation again looks
  different. It is possible to ask at people's homes (= gers) but one
  may be turned away (already too many people staying there). Prepare
  for a long demarche to the ``neighbour'' (maybe 50 or 100 kilometers
  (30 to 60 miles). Never, never forget to bring a reasonably useful and
  valuable gift. Useful and valuable gifts include tobacco, vodka, snuff
  bottles, snuff tobacco and other objects.

  When staying at somebody's gr then stick to the following minimal
  rules regardless how friendly people may appear to you:

  1. Check carefully whether your potential host is capable at all of
     accommodating another guest. In order to find out, you can check
     for the number of family members, the situation of the animals,

  2. Never stay longer than one day.

  3. Never refuse ceremonial offerings of tea even if it is salty, etc.

  4. Roll down the sleeves of your shirt/coat no matter which
     temperature it is. If it is summer and you (and Mongolians) wear a
     t-shirt, then pretend to roll down your sleeves symbolically when
     being offered food and drink.

  5. Never accept any offering of food, drink etc. with your left hand.
     Both hands is best.

  6. If there is only a well, not a river nearby, never abuse it as a
     bathtub. Water in general and wells in particular are precious in
     this country.

  7. When bringing your own food or drink never forget to offer it to
     everybody. Never attempt to munch your biscuits secretely. If you
     can't resist eating your own biscuits then wait until you are on
     the road again.

  8. Perhaps last in this list, but not least: Show due respect to the
     dogs and animals of your host. The dog will only respect you if
     advised by his master to do so.  Mongolian dogs are no pets!

  5.3.  What kind of transport is available in Mongolia?


  Transport in Ulaanbaatar

       ``In UB, you can walk, ride the bus, or flag down a private
       vehicle and negotiate a price. No taxis. I was fairly insu
       lated from that, as my cousin has a car. But I did a lot of
       walking anyway, because I like to walk and the city is a
       convenient one to walk in. Most of the hotels are near the
       center of the city, as are many of the sights. The exception
  is the big market, which runs on Wednesdays, Saturdays and
  Sundays - it's a bit of a hike from downtown.'' (Quoted from
  Peter Crandall's Mongolia Travelogue)

  Besides that, Ulaanbaatar sports numerous public bus lines which are
  usually more than crowded but offer about the cheapest rides in the
  world even though the prices went up by a factor of 100 from 1991 to
  1995: In 1990, a bus ticket was 0.50t, while in September 1996 it was
  50t.  Bus tickets are now priced 100t.

  Peter Crandall's observations on taxis are superseded by end of 1999.
  There is now a taxi service with bright yellow cabs of Korean origin.
  The company, City Taxi, can be reached with the telephone number
  343433 and accepts reservations at any time. The price per kilometer
  is 280t. Most drivers have a mobile phone. It is helpful to record the
  driver's phone number in case the reservation desk does not answer.

  Flagging down a private car is certainly recommended for all ad hoc
  transport in Ulaanbaatar as it is faster than calling a taxi first.
  The kilometer is charged with 300t.

  It is always good to know the words for left, right and straight ahead
  in Mongolian (zn gar tish, baruun gar tish, qigr) when
  directing the driver. Ulaanbaatar does not have many named streets,
  and addresses are usually given by land marks (see the MobiCom address
  above which was given as ``behind the Central Post Office''), or in
  the case of residential buildings, by district and building number.


  Transport outside Ulaanbaatar

  Travelling to the country requires going by MIAT, the national air
  line carrier, or renting a jeep. MIAT flights are fairly irregular
  (usually only once a week per direction) and may be cancelled
  completely for lack of gasoline or bad weather. It may happen that you
  take a flight to Uws and cannot return for 8 weeks. Renting a jeep is
  fairly inexpensive and usually includes a driver who is indispensable
  because this man usually knows the way in the endless steppe. He also
  has the technical skill to cross rivers, sand dunes etc. A ``Camel
  Trophy'' - commercial-like driving style may ruin vehicle and

  In the areas closer to Ulaanbaatar (within a 500-km or 300 miles
  range) there are busses available. Their departure takes place in
  front of the Museum of Fine Arts downtown Ulaanbaatar.

  5.4.  Which season is recommended for travelling?

  Summer is beautiful but short. Winter is not recommended if you go
  beyond Ulaanbaatar. Living conditions and road conditions are at least
  uncomfortable, nutrition and all related resources become too scarce.
  Storms in winter are especially dangerous for hikers outdoors, and
  even a short sightseeing trip in the close vicinity of Ulaanbaatar,
  like Zuun Mod with its famous monastery Manjshirin Xid, might yield
  one or the other frost bite.

  A good start is in May. It is still cold but the overwhelming beauty
  of spring, the mild fragrance of blossoms and the fresh smell of water
  offer experiences which one will never forget.

  5.5.  What are the points of sightseeing, museums etc.?

  Mongolia is a country rich in natural beauty which includes a wide
  range of different types of landscape on her vast territory.  From the
  Gobi desert in the south to the pristine waters of Lake Xwsgl in the
  north, from the grasslands of the east to the Altai mountain range in
  the west there is something for every traveller who loves nature.

  For those interested in culture and religion, there are numerous
  museums in Ulaanbaatar:

    Natural history museum,

    geological museum,

    hunting museum,

    historical museum: the former revolutionary museum - it now hosts
     an extensive exhibition focussing on the years of reform, 1989-1991
     and a beautiful collection of Mongolian garments,

    fine arts museum: with some fine pieces of religious silk painting
     --- thankas,

    Choijil Monastery: located in the centre of Ulaanbaatar, this
     former monastery is now the home of the priceless sculptures
     crafted by the famous monk, politian, sculptor and philologist

    Bogd Khan Museum: the palace of the last dynastic ruler of
     Mongolia; and

    municipial museum: the first seat of the Revolutionary Party in
     Ulaanbaatar, now sporting a collection of exhibits related to the
     history of Ulaanbaatar as well as a display of diplomatic gifts
     from former socialist brother states.

  The universities have some permanent faculty exhibitions which are
  often worth visiting. Most Aimag capitals have their own local natural
  history museum. Xar Xorin has a temple museum about Chingis Khan and
  the buddhist oriented spiritual history of Mongolia. This list does
  not claim to be complete.

  Main points of interest outside Ulaanbaatar include the former Capital
  Xar Xorin (Kara Korum, or ``Black Fortress'', derived from the word
  ``xrm'') and Manjshirin Xid in Zuun Mod, Central Aimag.

  Only two or so of the over 700 monasteries survived the Stalinist
  purges of 1937/1938.  One of them is the Gandan monastery in
  Ulaanbaatar which recently underwent major reconstruction, and the
  other one is situated within the walls of the Xar Xorin compound.

  Manjshirin Xid is the monastery dedicated to the protector goddess
  of Mongolia, Manjushri. The ruins of the monastery, situated in a
  valley at the south slope of Bogd Uul mountain, are a silent witness
  of the atrocities which took place in 1937/38.  Recently, money has
  been donated to reconstruct the monastery, and first steps towards
  that direction are the erection of a small museum on its site with
  many photographs of the 1920s showing the former dimensions of the
  monastery complex.

  Another famous monastery worth visiting is Amarbayasgalang, and en
  route between Xujirt and Xar Xorin you can find the somewhat smaller
  Baruun Xuree (Western Monastery).

  The travel literature on Mongolia offers more in-depth information.

  6.  Inner Mongolia - Tourism

  6.1.  How to travel to Inner Mongolia?

  Inner Mongolia can be reached by train and by aircraft.  The
  Transmongolian Railway which leads from Beijing via Ulaanbaatar to
  Ulan Ude crosses the Mongolian-Chinese border at Erenhot
  (Erlian[haote]) / China and Zamyn d / Mongolia. North of Datong it
  connects to the Chinese Railway, Inner Mongolian branch leading to
  Baotou and eventually to Ningxia and Gansu which implies that one can
  also travel to Inner Mongolia when coming from Lanzhou and Yinchuan.
  It takes about 10 hours to travel from Beijing to Huhhot and the night
  train which leaves Beijing in the evening is very convenient as one
  arrives at Huhhot early in the next morning. Trains go on a regular
  basis (usually every day, sometimes every second day depending on the
  line) and are fairly reliable. Prices are reliable, too, but the
  foreign traveller is forced to pay about twice as much as the Chinese
  citizen. Due to frequent depreciation of the Chinese Yuan no fixed
  number can be given here but a one-way trip (second class sleeper)
  from Beijing to Huhhot should be around USD 40.--.

  Flights between Huhhot and Beijing go several times a week and last
  less than one hour. The ticket prices are not very much higher than
  those of the railway (considering prices for foreigners). Other
  destinations in Inner Mongolia are also served from Beijing.  Up-to-
  date information on schedules should be available at travel agencies
  dealing China Airlines tickets.

  6.2.  What kind of accommodation is available in Inner Mongolia?

  The traveller's situation is governed by more rules here than in
  Mongolia. Basically, when staying in the cities (like Huhhot etc.) the
  traveller has no choice but to stay in huge hotels. In the countryside
  the situation is similar to that in Mongolia but is more difficult to
  get to the countryside.

  6.3.  What kind of transport is available in Inner Mongolia?

  In addition to railway (from and to Beijing, Huhhot, Baotou, Hailar
  etc.) there are flights between regional centres and long-distance
  busses within the regions. For local excursions you can also rent cars
  with drivers.

  6.4.  Which season is recommended for travelling?

  See the answer about Mongolia above. Generally speaking, travelling is
  difficult in winter. The grasslands show their beauty only in summer,
  and in winter there is ``nothing to see'' in the conventional sense.
  On the other hand, since there is ``nothing to see'' in winter, winter
  is a good time to go there if you want to see temples, monasteries
  etc., because at that time you most certainly do not have to compete
  with other tourists for resources like accommodation, transport e.a.
  In addition, the places you're interested in will most probably be
  fairly empty.

  6.5.  What are the points of sightseeing, museums etc.?

  Inner Mongolia deserves a better coverage in literature and in this
  FAQ than it finds at present. A few points of interest may be
  mentioned here (indicating that this is a *very* preliminary list).

  The Inner Mongolia Museum in Huhhot has an enormous collection of
  archaeological findings from the times of the Xiong Nu on. The gold
  crowns on display there are virtually identical in design with the
  ones unearthed in Japan and dated to Japan's Kofun period. These
  findings contain some of the strongest hints that early Japan (before
  the nation state emerged) may have been part of a unified culture
  stretching from Central Asia over Korea to Japan.

  Not so many temples and monasteries survived in Huhhot. One of the
  most intering ones is the ``Five Pagoda Temple'' (tabun suburGan sumu
  - wu ta si) the walls of which are covered with thousands of Buddha
  sculptures. Its most fascinating object is a stellar map cut in stone
  (more than two meters in diameter) which is the eldest map with
  Mongolian zodiacal names in the world. The stone carving is protected
  by thick layers of glass which make it practically impossible to take
  pictures but the site is well worth the visit.

  Of the two main temples (``Big'' and ``Small'' temple: yeke zuu, baG-a
  zuu; da zhao, xiao zhao) only the big one remains as the small one was
  replaced by a school during the 1960s.  The quarter of town where
  these temples are located is pittoresque and offers an insight into
  Chinese life (Huhhot by overwhelming majority is a city with Han-
  Chinese population) as it might have been `before Revolution', i.e.
  before 1949. The streets and lanes are so narrow that no automobile
  can pass, and rare enough for a Chinese city, much of the old
  architecture is preserved. Huhhot also has a mosque for its Hui

  7.  Mongolia - Computing Issues

  7.1.  Is there some kind of ``Mongolian ASCII'' or commonly
  acknowledged encoding standard for Mongolian language           data

  Unlike the American ASCII code, the Chinese GuoBiao code or the
  Japanese JIS code there is not yet a national code system for the
  encoding of Mongolian writing be it encoded in its Classical or
  Cyrillic form. As a consequence, no international standard
  organization (like ISO) could accept a national standard and turn it
  into an international one.

  The problems we find in this field are of a complex nature and
  frequently have strong mutual dependencies.

  Let's look at Cyrillic encoding first. It is not far-fetched to
  suggest using an existing Cyrillic encoding scheme for encoding
  Mongolian but not even such a simple idea is without its traps. There
  is more than one Cyrillic encoding, and some encodings are incomplete:
  they do not include the Cyrillic yo or . In addition, these tables
  (or code pages) usually have no space to accommodate the additional
  Mongolian vowel symbols  which must then be placed somewhere outside
  the natural order of the alphabet. Several modified code pages of this
  type exist; implementations available are mentioned below.
  With Classical writing, the situation is even more complicated. For a
  long time in history, there has not been one commonly acknowledged
  Classical Mongolian alphabet (or cagaan tolgo); differences can be
  observed in the number of letters, the sorting order and the treatment
  of ambiguous letters which have more than one reading for a given
  shape, like t/d. The situation is further complicated by the fact that
  one given letter may assume numerous different shapes depending on its
  position within the word. The designer of an encoding scheme has to
  decide whether only canonical letters (the ones under which one would
  try to find a word in a dictionary) are to be included or whether all
  shape variants should be included as well.

  The next problem arises when thinking of computer technology. The
  eight bit (one byte) code space of commonly used systems cannot hold
  more than 256 characters of which 128 have been defined already. If
  both Cyrillic and Classical writing are to be enclosed in one common
  code space, it is only possible at the cost of sharing common letter
  shapes between Latin and Cyrillic characters. There is no other choice
  if one wants to avoid the switching of code pages in one document.

  Another problem intimately related to writing is the field of
  transcriptions and transliterations. The layout of rules for
  transliterating Classical or Cyrillic Mongolian has many consequences
  in the field of data exchange, automatic text processing, the building
  of library catalogues, etc. Some popular systems (e.g. the so-called
  Petersburg transliteration) use characters which are not readily
  available on today's computers, and the ones working with reduced
  character sets are sometimes not popular.

  Only in recent years (more or less starting with the UNESCO conference
  on the Computerization of Mongolian script in Ulaanbaatar in August
  1992) there has been a genuine international effort to solve these
  problems and to come up with an encoding scheme that will be accepted
  world-wide. The Mongolian National Institute for Standardization and
  Metrology (MNISM), the Chinese National Standard Bureau, other
  standard bodies of other countries, ISO and UNICODE all have held
  regular meetings during the last years in order to define a standard.

  So far, no final agreement exists, and there is no software package
  which could serve as a demonstrator for this future standard. All
  available software either defines its own code page or relies on ASCII
  representations of Mongolian which are then converted into Mongolian

  7.2.  Are there computer programs for processing Mongolian language

  Yes, there are.

  Nota Bene: While the editor is happy to offer this information it must
  be mentioned as a caveat that in most cases the editor could neither
  verify the sources of these programs nor did he have a chance to
  review them.  In addition, not all of the programs are direct
  competitors: some of them provide `pure' front-ends for printing
  systems, other focus on data models which make them useful for text
  processing, etc. The available programs can be roughly classified as

    Layout software for Classical Mongolian produced at Inner Mongolia
     University for MSDOS and UNIX platforms. Maybe this is the most
     complete package one can dream of since it supports everything from
     different writing styles (Ulaanbaatar vs. Inner Mongol typeface) to
     different alphabets (including Oirat, Phags-ba etc.) Availability:
     Yes, but with a high price tag in the four-digit USD range.

    Windows Software by American and German producers. These are
     usually only font sets which are sold in combination with some
     exotic text processing software. Does not offer full support for
     correct conversion of text data, etc.

    The ``Sudar'' package of the National University of Mongolia was
     written in 1991/2 by M. Erdenechimeg. This package runs on a DOS
     platform, can do both Classical and Modern Mongolian and has import
     utilities for a number of encodings. The author is developing a new
     package at the moment, the support for improvements of ``Sudar''
     supposedly being discontinued.

    ``Cyrillic only'' products for enhancing MSDOS platforms are
     available at little or no cost in Mongolia. These include printer
     drivers, screen fonts and keyboard mappers for the extended
     Cyrillic alphabet. Around three or four different encodings are
     known under the following program names: NCC, MOSLAST, SUNCHIR and
     MONKEGA. No commercial code converters available, no support for
     Classical Mongolian.

    Research-type programs for MacIntosh machines, produced by the
     Universit de Nanterre but never made publicly available.

    One classical font is offered by Ecological Linguistics for Mac

    A commercial font package is available for extended Cyrillic by
     Linguist's Software for both the Mac and PC worlds.

    One apparently free Cyrillic font package for Mongolian is
     available from, it is intended for Windows3xx
     users. Numerous reports were received that the system, once
     automatically installed (there is no manual installation process)
     replaces system fonts and keyboard drivers in an irreversible
     manner so it is difficult to use this font on an occasional basis.

    Daniel Kai's XenoType Technologies' Inner and Outer Mongolian
     TrueType (and Postscript) fonts for the Mac (as well as Soyombo,
     Phagspa) in the computer systems for Classical Mongolian. This
     system gets good reviews.

    MBE -- Mongol Bichig Editor. Written in Taiwan and released in
     1995, this editor for MSDOS system provides true vertical display
     and editing as well as 48-pixel and 96-pixel bitmap fonts for nice
     printing results. The awkward editing behaviour and the feature
     that everything between whitespace is regarded as one input and
     editing unit (one cannot delete a single letter, only a complete
     word!) make it a bit difficult to use. For documents in the
     pageno<10 range, like short letters etc. the system provides a
     simple interim solution until really powerful systems emerge.

    MLS - Mongolian Language Support. Originally developed for IBM
     compatible PCs, now extended to the Unix world.  Availability:
     free. See the MLS software section of Infosystem Mongolei. MLS is a
     MSDOS enhancement featuring support for both Classical and Cyrillic
     Mongolian. It offers conversion modules, a viewer for text with
     vertical lines and allows the continued use of (text mode)
     applications like dBASE, spreadsheets and text processing packages.
     Windows support is currently under development. Besides the MLS
     package itself there is the above-mentioned Mongolian text viewer
     (MVIEW) with on-line conversion from transliteration to Mongol
     script and a converter from Mongol text to graphics (MLS2PCX) which
     generates graphics files out of Mongolian language texts. The free
     packages do not yet contain printer support which is overly due and
     can be expected soon (said the author of MLS a long while ago).

     It should be mentioned that the focus of MLS lies in processing
     Mongolian language data and providing Internet support rather than
     creating beautiful documents.

     Technology advances rapidly, and the original devices conceived for
     printing MLS documents were superseded soon due to their numerous
     limitations.  The MLS author then developed a generic MLS printing
     support via LaTeX, and in early summer 1998 a Windows software for
     printing Mongolian appeared, too, which will soon offer MLS support
     (see next two items).

    MonTeX -- Mongolian for LaTeX2e. Donald Knuth's TeX is certainly
     the finest document processor available in the digital universe. It
     enjoys outstanding reputation in university circles and beyond.
     Since the original MLS package never provided meaningful printer
     support, the task of creating hard copy documents was relegated to
     TeX/LaTeX. MonTeX can typeset portions or complete texts of
     Cyrillic Mongolian in an acceptable manner. The package allows the
     use of virtually all popular codepage layouts, thus typesetting
     one's texts in the favourite environment should not pose too much
     of a problem. MonTeX is available from MLS or from the CTAN servers
     (Comprehensive TeX Archive Network).

    QAGUCIN -- a Mongol Bicig editor for Windows95 and Windows3.xx with
     an editing window for transliterated Mongolian and an output window
     for Classical script. The QAGUCIN Download page offers this package
     for free.  QAGUCIN is still in an early development stage but looks
     very promising.  The author of QAGUCIN, Michael Warmuth, is also
     working on including MLS support.

  8.  Mongolia - Suggested Readings

  8.1.  Which book do you recommend as a start?

  A dedicated document by Christopher Kaplonski -- SROM - Suggested
  Readings on Mongolia -- is available at Infosystem Mongolei. This
  document is occasionally updated and gets posted to the USENET
  newsgroup soc.culture.mongolian. A second document (SROMDIC --
  Suggested Readings on Mongolia -- Dictionaries) by Christopher
  Kaplonski and Oliver Corff at the same location reveals information
  about commonly used dictionaries.

Dr. Oliver Corff              e-mail:

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