Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Mongolia Facts and History

Mongolia as a Country
  • Country name: Mongolia (Local short form: Mongol Ulus, formerly known as Mongolian Peoples Republic and until 1924 was called Outer Mongolia).
  • Capital: Ulaanbaatar (means Red Hero), population 904,000 people (2006). Situated on the Tuul River. From 1639-1706 was known as Urga or Da Khuree.
  • Size: 604,826 square miles (1,566,00 square km)
  • Area comparison: Four times the size of U.K. Mongolia is the world’s largest landlocked nation and is the 18th largest country in the world.
  • Location: Northern Asia, situated between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation.
  • Population: 2.8 million. More than half the population is under age 30.
  • Languages: Khalkh Mongolian (90%), Turkic, Russian. Cyrillic script is used in writing.
  • Religions: Mahayana Tibetan Buddhism (96%), Shamanism,

  • Terrain: Desert steppe, Desert plains, Grassy steppe terrain is found in most parts of Eastern Mongolia, Mountainous zone covers 5% of Mongolia’s territory, Mountain forest, Taiga forest region in the north is 5% of Mongolia’s total landmass.
  • The Gobi Desert is the world’s northernmost desert and has a mostly gravel surface with low-lying rocky hills. One of the earth’s great deserts it ranges through most of southern Mongolia and comprises 17% of Mongolia’s total landmass. Annually desertification in the Gobi Desert area is increasing due to overgrazing primarily.
  • Mountain Ranges: Altai Nuruu Mountains ranging northwest to southeast, Khentii Nuruu Mountains in the northeast and Khangai Nuruu Mountains in Central Mongolia.
  • Highest peak: Khuiten Peak14,350 feet (4374 meters) in the Altai Tavanbogd Uuul range.
Music Culture
  • Music is an integral part of Mongolian culture. Among the unique contributions of Mongolia to the world's musical culture are the long songs, one of the greatest features of the Mongolian music, overtone singing and morin khuur, the horse-headed fiddle.
  • The horse-head fiddle, or morin khuur, is a distinctively Mongolian instrument and is seen as a symbol of the country. The instrument has two strings. There is some controversy regarding the traditional carving of a horse on the upper end of the pegbox.
  • Mongolia has a very old musical tradition. Key traditional elements are throat-singing, the Morin Khuur (horse head fiddle) and other string instruments, and several types of songs. Mongolian melodies are typically characterized by pentatonic harmonies and long end notes.
  • The Mongolian cuisine is primarily based on meat and dairy products, with some regional variations. The most common meat is mutton, supplemented in the desert south by camel meat, in the northern mountains by beef (including yak).
  • Dairy products are made from mare's milk (Airag), from cattle, yaks, and camels (e.g. clotted cream). Popular dishes include buuz (a type of meat dumpling), khuushuur (a meat pastry), khorkhog (a meat stew, usually a special meal for guests), and boortsog (a sweet biscuit). The meal commonly known as Mongolian barbecue is not Mongolian at all, but Taiwanese in origin.

  • The deel, or kaftan, is the Monglian traditional garment worn on both workdays and special days. It is a long, loose gown cut in one piece with the sleeves; it has a high collar and widely overlaps at the front. The deel is girdled with a sash. Mongolian deels always close on the wearer's right, and traditionally have five fastenings. Modern deels often have decoratively cut overflaps, small round necklines, and sometimes contain a Mandarin collar.
  • The hair would be divided into two pigtails, each of which would be divided into three braids. The ends of the braids would then be looped up and bound to the top of the braid behind the ears. Men also shaved the tops and sides of their heads, usually leaving only a short "forelock" in front and the long hair behind.
  • Each ethnic group living in Mongolia has its own deel design distinguished by cut, color and trimming. Before the revolution, all social strata in Mongolia had their own manner of dressing. Livestock-breeders, for example, wore plain deels, which served them both summer and winter. The priests wore yellow deels with a cape or khimjthrown over it. Secular feudal lords put on smart hats and silk waistcoats.
Some really interesting facts there Tara, the traditional Mongolian throat singing is so distinct and unique it sounds really strange. I think we should include it into the chase. reading through what you wrote gave me a few ideas into the music which we should have. I did have a few alternative endings which may be better I'll run them by you in class.

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