Mongolia seemed to me to be a place on the edge of the world. As we traveled from the city of Ulaanbaatar the landscape began to change from cityscape to sporadic villages, some of which did coal mining, on towards the true ‘Outer Mongolia.’ Vast landscapes of rolling hills and dramatic rock formations and endless blue skies.
On and on we went as the country got wilder and wilder. A thought came to me that maybe there was no one out there except for our group. Unimaginable vistas. I could not take my eyes off it. Roads that were no longer roads. How did the driver know where to go? Hang on to your seat girl as we lumped and bumped over the terrain. No directional signs at all. At this point you have to trust that they know what they are doing. On and on, then out of nowhere amongst the hills and rocks appeared a collection of Yhurts (pronounced Gares) behind a great wooden entrance.
We had arrived at 13th Century Mongolia. It was a living exhibit for the likes of us tourists, but after seeing how the nomadic people of today lived and comparing it to 13th Century living there was not a great deal of difference.
Clothing was more modern and the pots for storing food was a little more modern, but the basic way of life was the same.
Some of the yhurts were richly embellished on the outside and furnishings adorned the inside. Ornate wooden furniture for the Mongols to sit on. Maybe even Chinggis Khaan. Elaborate clothing, including coats, and hats made of leather, fur and fabrics were there for us to try on.
Giving the imagination a chance to see what it felt like to be a part of the past. There was a custodian of the complex and he looked as if he had just stepped out of the 13th Century. He did not speak English and just sat and looked at us.
There were some wooden framed structures outside that I suspect were for drying skins, along with very primitive two wheeled carts. Not sure if the carts were pulled by horses, camels or men, or maybe possible all three. As I stood on the rise surveying the plains and the beautiful rock formations, it was so easy to see in my mind’s eye, hundreds of Mongolian horsemen thundering by long, long ago.