- 30 July 1999
Mongolia is a surprise. I never imagined the vastness of the plains, covered green and brown, with hills, valleys, an occasional river, yurts, horses, pigs, cows, sheep and goats. The yurts (circular homes with wooden spokes holding the frame together and with felt covering the exterior) allow the Mongols to be nomadic, although some yurts are now moved on trucks instead of camels.
Up until the 14th century Mongolia was a world leader and Ghenghis Khan and his descendents conquered everything from Hungary to Korea. Jim credits this to the fast Mongolian horses, tamed with stirrups and reins that no one else had. Six hundred years later, Mongolians still ride those amazing horses and still call yurts their homes.
Today about 2.5 million people live in Mongolia with almost a million living in the capital, Ulanbaatar.