Festival time in Mongolia

Festival time in Mongolia

Mongolia is about open space, with its boundless grassy steppe and great red Gobi Desert; about a place in history, with Genghis Khan and his mounted warriors leaving their mark on two continents; and about the culture of the nomad, who created a coherent and organic life revolving around four-legged creatures.  It is said that in Mongolia livestock outnumber people thirteen to one.

The annual Naadam Festival is the country’s favorite festival, showcasing Mongolia’s best in wrestling, horse racing and archery as well as uniquely Mongolian sports such as “ankle-bone shooting.”  It originated many centuries ago, but in the 20th century this celebration of the nomad’s courage, strength, dexterity and marksmanship now commemorates July 11th, the anniversary of Mongolia’s independence from China.

Travelers to UlaanBaatar join local people to cheer on the horses with their school-age riders, admire the stately wrestlers in their eagle costumes, and marvel at the long bows, based on the same design that Genghis’ warriors used.

In July of 2008, MIR travelers Helge Pedersen and Karen Ofsthus blogged their way along the Trans-Siberian tracks and down to UlaanBaatar for Naadam aboard the luxury Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express private train.  Take a look at Karen’s story and Helge’s photos and slideshow of the 2008 Naadam Festival.

MIR offers three trips that coincide with Naadam: the above-mentioned luxury private train journey from Moscow to Mongolia that includes three nights in UlaanBaatar for the festival; a 21-day Siberia and Mongolia small group cultural tour; and a 14-day in-depth adventurous small group tour that surveys much of Mongolia, from the capital to Kara Korum, Lake Hovsgol and into the Gobi Desert.

The Trans-Siberian Mongolia Route by Private Train

From Moscow to UlaanBaatar, featuring Mongolia’s Naadam Festival

June 30 – July 12, 13 days

Other small group tours featuring Naadam:

Siberia & Mongolia: Spirits & Nomads

The Trans-Siberian Railway, Lake Baikal, the Gobi, Naadam Festival

June 27-July 17, 21 Days

Mongolian Explorer: The Gobi Desert & Beyond

Overland Expedition Across the Land of Nomads

June 29-July 12 (Naadam Festival), 14 days

Space is limited. Call 1-800-424-7289 or email Charity Shaller at charity@mircorp.com for availability and reservations.

PUBLISHED: January 14, 2009