West Mongolia-This zone covers the three western provinces of Mongolia-Uvs, Bayan-Olgii, Hovd. The impressive Altai Mountain Range and great lakes depression make this region one of the most attractive place of the country. The diversity of ethnic groups residing in these regions is the great opportunity for cultural discoveries. Popular ones are Kazakh ethnic groups, who are residing in Bayan-Olgii province. The Kazakhs are the second largest ethnic group in Mongolia after the Khalkhs, with 101,000 people comprising 6% of the population.
Bayan-Ulgii Province, which borders Russia and China, is home to a diverse population whose traditional ways of life have been preserved in these isolated mountains for centuries. Among these is Mongolia’s largest ethnic minority, the Kazakhs, whose ancestors migrated to the area in the 1800s, and whose proud tradition of hunting with trained eagles is celebrated annually at the renowned Golden Eagle Festival
While eagles are used for hunting in other parts of the world, particularly Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, the practice is most common in Bayan-Ölgii, where an estimated 80 percent of the world’s eagle hunters live
Most inhabitants of Bayan-Ölgii are Kazakhs (93%). The rest of the population is composed of Uriankhai, Dörvöd, Khalkha, Tuvans, and Khoshuud. A significant portion of the population speaks Kazakh as their mother tongue and the Mongolian language only as a second language, if at all.
The culture of the Kazakh majority is strongly influenced by Islamic traditions. The mosque of Ölgii also houses the Islamic Center of Mongolia. It is placed at an unusual angle within the fabric of the city, because the building was oriented exactly towards Mecca. There is also a madrasah (Islamic school) at the same place.
Western Mongolia Tours
Western Mongolia tours offer some of Asia’s most beautiful and unspoiled wilderness, where the snow-capped Altai Mountains tower above remote forests, lakes, and rivers.