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For 3000 years, the peoples of the steppes have adopted a pastoral way of life, moving in search of the best pastures and camps. They live by and for the animals in the forefront of which the horse which was undoubtedly for the first time in the world domesticated in these infinite meadows. 

Today, about half of the inhabitants are still nomadic, living under the ger and moving their camps several times a year in unfenced land. It is a very rough life, and even

of winter survival. 


The number of nomads has fallen sharply over the past two years following the terrible winters that have caused many families to lose their herds, their only property and means of subsistence. This situation requiring emergency aid, caused a rural exodus chasing herders and also city dwellers, especially from the west of the country towards the suburbs of the capital. 


Traditionally, nomads raise 5 species called the 5 muzzles: horses, cows or yaks, sheep, goats and camels. Reindeer are also bred by the Tsaatan people on the borders of Siberia, west of Lake Khovsgol.


Mongolia is the land of the horse. Any nomadic child can ride as soon as he knows how to walk and run.

Small Mongolian horses are incredibly resilient. They live year-round in semi-wild herds, gathered only for milking and capture. They must be able to defend themselves against wolves in winter.

Apart from serving as mounts and heritage, horses mainly provide the nomad with their favorite drink airag fermented mare's milk, low in alcohol and whose Mongols of all ages drink liters in summer, extolling the virtues on health and the tube digestive!

Some regions are more famous than others, depending on the quality and variety of pastures. If we can dare a comparison, let's say that airag has about the same cultural and social importance as wine can have in France. 

The horses are also of course bred and trained for the annual race of Naadam, where ridden by young jockeys, they will deliver all their immense generosity for the pride of their breeder and for the glory that reflects more on the mount than the rider.  


The yaks or cows bring the meat, the leather but above all the milk which is mainly used to make cheese during the summer months (called white months) which will be put to dry on the roof of the ger to be consumed throughout the year. 


Sheep are the highest-raised animals for meat, the staple food of the nomadic diet, skin, wool for clothing, and felt for the covering of the ger.


Goats, more difficult to raise than sheep, are appreciated for their meat and especially cashmere wool.


Bractian camels are used as beasts of burden for long journeys, for their wool and also their milk.


Nomadic families, often gathered in groups of gers, move at least twice a year, in spring (May) and at the beginning of winter (October), generally within a radius of 50 to 100 kilometres, but the movements more important and looking for better pasture is sometimes necessary. Winter camps or Uvuljuu are located in areas sheltered from the wind and are equipped with animal parks at night.  


The day of nomads is devoted to caring for animals - monitoring, milking, shearing - making felt, cheese and other dairy products, finding fuel and water. Horses are bred and cared for by men but milked by women. 

The nomads use a pole-lasso or uurga to round up the herds and capture the horses.

Ger, traditional house of the mongols

Yurt is the usual term for the Mongol felt tent or ger, but this word is not much liked by the Mongols because it is of Turkish origin and was used by Western invaders and the last of them , Russians. 


Most Mongols, even in the city, live in these comfortable and sometimes very well equipped tents with all "modern comforts". The ger has been the traditional habitat of steppe herders since the dawn of time. It is designed to withstand strong winds without being anchored in the ground, to remain warm in winter and cool in summer and above all to be easily removable and transportable.


A ger is made of wood and covered with felt, it weighs from 150 to 300 kg and is assembled in about 2 hours.


The interior organization of a ger is identical everywhere: the entrance door to the south, to the west the place for men, to the north the place for distinguished guests or the elderly as well as the family altar, to is the place of women. A stove occupies the center of the ger.

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