Mongolia towards concrete

Mongolia rhymes with immensity: an apparently limitless reach of land; an ever-changing landscape, shifting before the eye, turning from steppe into desert and vice-versa.

 

Traditional lifestyle has managed to survive: 30% of the population is still nomadic and living in gers (Mongolian yurts); horse culture is intact, and shamanism and Buddhism are widely practiced.

 

Yet, more than 70% of the land is vulnerable to desertification, while climatic variations cause extremely harsh winters called “dzud”, which livestock (and thus herders) cannot survive. The result is a slow run towards urbanization, towards concrete. Ulaanbaatar, the capital city, currently gathers almost half of the country’s population.

This is a journey, shared by too many among the Mongolian people, from the steppe to the city, from vastitude to thronging, from gers to apartment blocks.

Claudia Ioan

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