Altai Tavan Bogd National Park
Altai Tavan Bogd is the nighest mountain in Mongolia. The meaning of the name is Five Saints of Altai. This mountain is located in the Bayan Ulgii province. The Huiten Peak is the highest point of Mongolia at 4374 meters above sea level. Besides Huiten peak, the mountain includes four peaks as Nairamdal, Malchin, Burged and Ulgii. The Nairamdal Peak forms the border tripoint between Mongolia, Russia, and the Xinjiang province of China. Around the area is listing Altai Tavan Bogd National Park covers 6,362 km². It includes the lakes Khoton, Khurgan, and Dayan. The protected area offers a home for many species of alpine animal, such as the Argali sheep, Ibex, Red deer, Beech marten, Moose, Snow cock, and Golden eagle. This place protected by government in 1996 by parliament resolution No.43. The national park with its amazing beauty embodies the special characteristics of high mountains, icy crystal rivers, mountain valleys, steppe landscapes and ecosystems
It is one of the most picturesque national parks in the world, complete with lakes, steppes, a glacier, and the highest peak in Mongolia. This protected zone is also the habitat of many beautiful wildlife species such as the Ibex, Moose, Golden Eagle, Argali sheep, Red deer, Beech marten, and Snow cock. This stunning yet contrasting landscape is rugged, with snow capped mountains, sub-alpine and alpine forests, and even a semi-arid desert. Things to do here include climbing, fishing, backcountry skiing, mountain trekking, whitewater kayaking, camel and horse trekking, whitewater rafting, and learning and experiencing about the Khazakh culture.
Kazakhs – Kazakh nomads have lived in the mountains and valleys of western Mongolia with their herds since the 19th century. Up until 1930 the nomads could freely move between Kazakhstan, Mongolia and the Chinese province of Xinjiang. However, after the foundation of the Mongolian People’s Republic in 1921, many of the Kazakhs left their semi-nomadic lifestyle and began settling down in the western Mongolian highlands. Today the Kazakhs in the province of Bayan-Olgii number around 87,000 or about 88.7% of the provincial population while across the country they represent some 4% of the total Mongol population (about 110,000 people). The Kazakh culture differs in several ways from the Mongol culture. Traditionally the Mongolian Kazakhs are Sunni Muslims whereas the rest of the population are associated with Tibetan Buddhism. The Islam actually plays a minor part in the lives of most Mongolian Kazakhs. Until the end of the 1990′s there were practically no mosques at all in Bayan-Olgii. Places of Islamic worship only sprang up a few years ago in the villages and settlements. Some of these were paid for by foreign Islamic organization. It remains to be seen if such efforts will actually win their hearts deeply to Islam again.
Since the 1990′s 35,000 to 50,000 ethnic Mongolians have submitted themselves to Christ. Previously only a few dozen were known to be Christians. The Kazakhs in Bayan-Olgii have so far remained untouched by these events.
One of their interesting tradition among Kazakh is they use golden eagle and falcons for their hunting. During winter months they take their Golden Eagles out to hunt for small animals for fur and meat. This is an old tradition, which is celebrated as festival of horsemanship, hunting skills and knowledge. In the beginning of October, hunters from all over Bayan Ulgii province gather to celebrate this traditional skill and compete against each other challenges that show off the abilities of both birds and their trainers. Prizes are awarded for the fastest eagle, the best traditional Kazakh dress and more.