Genghis Kahn (1206-1227; known as Chinggis Khan in China) was the emperor of what would become the largest empire in history not long after he died. He accomplished this by uniting nomadic tribes in the northeast, and overtaking much of Eurasia through Mongol invasions. Today, long after the demise of the Mongolian Empire, Mongolian traditional culture can be found in Inner Mongolia and (Outer) Mongolia.
However, as a result of China’s massive and rapid move toward urbanization, the Mongolian’s traditional way of life is threatened in Inner Mongolia. Some scholars claim that it will disappear from within ten years. Strip mining, oilrigs, and factories are taking over the landscape, dramatically altering the grasslands that are foundational to the herdsmen’s culture.
But the extraordinary beauty of the land and culture can still be found. Horses, cows, sheep, goats, and camels are all raised on the lush grasslands. The vast blue skies appear to go on forever, and the power and goodness of nature seem ever present. The ancient shamanistic practices of the past remain, only changed as they have embraced aspects of Tibetan Buddhism. Mongolian culture is distinct, but it readily adapts.
The openness and generosity of the Mongolian people is unmatched. Visitors are welcomed with meat and dairy products and an offering of horse milk wine with music and song. This film is a quick overview of ChinaVine’s July 2013 trip.