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September 4, 2009

Two Mongolias

Mongolia (the independent nation), and Inner Mongolia (a neighboring autonomous region of the People's Republic of China) share a common history and geography, and have both evolved in recent years, centering much of their growth on their famous culture. Mongolia is a young democracy - its 1990 revolution less than 20 years old now - formerly a Soviet-backed communist republic, and much earlier ruled by many different dynasties back to Genghis Khan in 1206. Inner Mongolia continues to undergo a cultural shift as ethnic Han Chinese now make up nearly 80% of the population, and efforts at retaining Mongolian culture are being undertaken. Collected here are a number of recent photographs of these two Mongolias. (33 photos total)

A Mongol herdsman named Gegenhasi stands in front of his new house to welcome guests in the Huhenuoer Grassland on August 27, 2009 in Hulun Buir, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. Hulun Buir, with an area of 250,000 sq km located in northeastern Inner Mongolia, is inhabited by 36 ethnic groups, including Mongolians, Daurs, Ewenkis, Oroqens, and Russian ethnicities. The vast Hulun Buir Grassland is one of the four largest natural steppes in the world. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

Panoramic view of Lake Khövsgöl in northern Mongolia, from the mountains to the west of the lake, on July 23rd, 2005. Original here. (Wikimedia user Zoharby / CC BY-SA) #

A general view of Eerguna District on August 27, 2009 in Hulun Buir, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #

Girls in a Mongol children's chorus perform on August 26, 2009 in Hulun Buir, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #

A locomotive engine crosses the Sino-Russia border on August 28, 2009 in Manzhouli, Hulun Buir, Inner Mongolia, China. Manzhouli is an important gateway for business in Inner Mongolia and receives 60 percent of all of China's trade to and from Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, and Mongolian President Elbegdorj Tsakhia shake hands during a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the joint victory of Soviet and Mongolian forces in the battle of Khalkin Gol, in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009. A monument to Soviet Marshal Zhukov is at the background. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service) #

Ruins of Ongiin Khiid monastery complex, destroyed by communist rulers in the 1930s, seen on October 16th, 2006. Original here. (Bouette / CC BY-SA) #

Detail from a panorama of Ulan Bator, Mongolia on June 6th, 2009. Original here. (Wikimedia user Brücke-Osteuropa) #

Khongoryn Els ("singing sands") sand dunes in the Gobi Desert on August 1st, 2008. Original here. (Wikimedia user Zoharby / CC BY-SA) #

A sign marking the entrance to the city of Baganuur in Mongolia on July 8th, 2007. Baganuur is formally a Düüreg (district) of the capital Ulaanbaatar. Geographically it is a separate city located as an exclave on the border between the Töv and Khentii Aimags. Original here. (Steve Burt / CC BY-SA) #

A train climbs a gentle curve along the Trans-Mongolian Railway on May 17th, 2009. Original here. (Chris Feser / CC BY-SA) #

A giant statue of Genghis Khan, 131 feet tall and made from 250 tons of stainless steel sits in Tsonjin Boldog, Mongolia, about an hour outside of Ulan Bator on August 8th, 2009. The monument is part of a planned theme park called the Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex. Original here. (Wikimedia user Brücke-Osteuropa) #

A tourist (small, lower right) visits the Nesting-doll Square with more than 200 nesting-doll sculptures on August 28, 2009 in Manzhouli, Hulun Buir League of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #

Mongolian nomads move to autumn encampments, in Khövsgöl Province, Bürentogtokh sum, Mongolia in September of 2006. Original here. (Wikimedia user Yaan / CC BY-SA) #

The Edrengiyn Nuruu forms a transition zone between the Mongolian steppes to the north and the arid deserts of northern China to the south. This image was acquired by Landsat 7's Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+) sensor on August 13, 1999. This is a false-color composite image made using shortwave infrared, infrared, and green wavelengths. (USGS EROS Data Center Satellite Systems Branch) #

The launch of Shenzhou 7 spaceship, the third human spaceflight mission of the Chinese space program, at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Inner Mongolia, China on the night of September 25th, 2008. Original here. (Wikimedia user Gang Lee) #

A general view of a Russian building on August 28, 2009 in Manzhouli, Hulun Buir, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #

A Genghis Khan statue sits in front of the Parliament Building And Government House At Sukhbaatar Square in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, seen September 17th, 2008. Original here. (Wikimedia user GenuineMongol) #

Genghis Khan's statue is seen in a museum on August 26, 2009 in Hulun Buir, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #

Bürentogtokh, a district of Khövsgöl aimag, Mongolia, seen in September of 2006. Original here. (Wikimedia user Yaan / CC BY-SA) #

An Ewenki man named Gugejun walks with two reindeer on August 27, 2009 in Genhe, Hulun Buir, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. The Ewenki people, who came from Siberia over three hundred years ago, lived in the mountains of northern China, surviving on hunting and raising reindeer in a traditional way. In 2003, with only 243 surviving members, they moved down to a new settlement built by the government. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #

An Ewenki boy plays at a new settlement on August 27, 2009 in Genhe, Hulun Buir, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #

A worker attends a machine in a cashmere factory run by the Gobi Corporation in Ulan Bator, Mongolia on June 27th, 2009. Original here. (Wikimedia user Brücke-Osteuropa) #

Amarbayasgalant Monastery, in Selenge aimag, Mongolia on July 31st, 2008. Original here. (Wikimedia user Bogomolov.PL) #

Amarbayasgalant Monastery temple, in Selenge aimag, Mongolia, on July 31st, 2008. The monastery was originally built before 1736, and was one of the very few monasteries to have partly escaped a wave of destruction by communist rulers in 1937. Original here. (Wikimedia user Bogomolov.PL) #

Sand dunes near Mongolia's Har Lake [ed. note: the lake is actually Khar Nuur, located in Zavkhan aimag] are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 13 crewmember on the International Space Station in September of 2006. This oblique view captures the dynamic nature of the landscape of Har Lake. The lake is encircled by sand dune fields which encroach on the lower slopes of the Tobhata Mountains to the west and south. Gaps in the mountains have been exploited by sand dunes moving eastward (indicating westerly winds) -- the most striking example being a series of dunes entering Har Lake along its southwestern shoreline. (NASA) #

A smaller neighborhood of Ulan Bator, seen from a hilllside on June 25th, 2009. Original here. (Wikimedia user Brücke-Osteuropa) #

Contestants prepare their hot air balloons during an international hot air balloon festival in Baotou, north China's Inner Mongolia region on August 13, 2009. About a hundred hot air balloons from eight countries and regions are taking part the first Hot Air Balloon Festival. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #

The gutted former headquarters of the former communist Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party in Ulan Bator. The building and several others were damaged during a brief riot in 2008 following complaints about a nationwide election about how to share natural resources. Original here. (Chinneeb / CC BY-SA) #

A general view of Eerguna District on August 27, 2009 in Hulun Buir of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. (Feng Li/Getty Images) #

A monument to Jugderdemidiyn Gurragchaa, the first Mongolian cosmonaut, in the center of Choir, a small town in Govisumber Province, Mongolia. Photo taken August 7th, 2009. Original here. (Wikimedia user Vidor) #

A Mongolian ger, with a sign that says (roughly) "Food, Fast food restaurant, General store", seen on October 10th, 2006. Original here. (Bouette / CC BY-SA) #

A view from the monastery at Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Mongolia. In November of 2006. Original here. (Vidor) #

 
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