The former Soviet satellite has strong cultural ties to Russia, historical links to Central Asia, and a fractious relationship with the region’s rising power, China.
It’s also the birthplace of Genghis Khan, the 13th-century Mongol warrior who built an empire stretching from Japan to Central Europe. His legacy is felt everywhere today, in ways big, small, and aviational – the airport in Mongolia’s bustling capital, Ulan Bator, recently changed its name in honor of the hometown hero.
And as Eastern Europe begins to mark the 1989 democratic revolutions, Mongolia is preparing for an anniversary of its own – 20 years since its own revolution, a bloodless, peaceful revolution in 1990 that transformed the first Soviet satellite into a thriving, multiparty political democracy.
All reason enough to come to Mongolia.
Over the next week, RFE/RL multimedia producer Margot Buff and I are ready to walk with nomads, drink in the wide blue sky, and probably eat more mutton than is reasonably healthy.
-- Daisy Sindelar